This challenge has taken off to a much greater degree than I’d have expected. Hundreds of people are signing up to the mailing list, and dozens are shadowing me. The one who seems to be faring the best is Kevin McGlaughlin, a recent friend of mine who continues to impress me.
Kevin is hitting the same word counts I am, but here’s the interesting kicker. Kevin edits as he goes, and just put out a blog post called The Myth of the First Draft.
Those of you who’ve read 5,000 Words Per Hour know my stance on that. When you are sprinting, I don’t think you should go back and edit. There are strong neurological reasons why this is the case.
Going back to edit often breaks flow state, which is why I don’t do it. It’s really easy to get lost on prose when you intended to focus on story. You were humming along on your epic space battle, but are now spending the next twenty minutes tinkering on a single explosion.
This is especially common among newer writers. I know, because I was that guy. Learning to write without stopping has been incredibly freeing, and it is the reason why I can consistently crank out 5,000 words a day, every day, month after month.
I’ve released five books in the last five months, and I have a book planned every month between now and the end of the year.
Obviously, my system works. You know what though? So does Kevin’s. This challenge is proof. Kevin is kicking ass and taking names, and he’s using his own method. I think you should too.
Among other things I am a Zen Buddhist. In a nutshell, that means it’s every person’s responsibility to figure out their own philosophy. You listen to what other people have to say, but you make the decision that is best for your life.
It’s the same way with writing. Write the way you need to write. Experiment, but don’t be afraid to stick with a particular method just because someone says you shouldn’t write that way. You should write the way you can actually write.
If you need to go back and edit while you write, go back and do it. But before you decide that, try doing it both ways. Which feels more natural? Which did you enjoy more?
Do that one.