On Creative Writing vs. Editing and Proofreading (How My Writing Mind Works)

Despite my goal to do some writing while I was in proofreading mode, I found that all new writing came to a screeching halt.  Fortunately, I had already written ahead of time for my two first draft blogs or else I would have been in serious trouble. 

But I had plans to finish the first draft of Return of the Aliens this month.  Now I know it’s not going to happen.  I’m not worried though.  It’s not due out until June 1.  What I might want to do is go back to my goals for this year and plan on getting the first draft done while I’m writing another book. 

It seems I go in spurts.  For a season, I’ll be creative and write new material.  Then I need to get into editor and proofreader mode, and believe me, these are more straining and time consuming than writing the first draft is.  This is where the real work as a writer comes into play.  It’s the stage that takes the longest and wears me out. 

The good news is, I got the polished draft off to the publisher.  (As it turns out, I misunderstood what my publisher was talking about.  Long story short, she did want to publish my pen name’s book all along.  So now that that is all cleared up, I proceed forward with the pen name and the book as it was originally set up.)  So I got the book off to her late last night and felt a big relief. 

Now I could write.  My planner is open to creative writing now.  The problem is when I sat at my computer to write something new, my mind drew a blank.  All I can think about is editing and proofreading.  So since Return of the Aliens isn’t due out until June 1, I can technically focus on another finished book to edit and proofread.  My proofreader (God bless her soul) has already returned the two books to me with her suggestions.  So I’m thinking of doing the bare bones creative writing which is the 500 words a day blog and focusing on getting those two books through the proofing process.

Then after that, I will be open for all new writing because my finished books will be done and published or close to being published.  I think that’s the way I’ll do it.  I do write in spurts.  I wrote a total of 100,000 words in November during NaNo month between three novels I was working on.  I worked on two online and one offline.  Then I finished up the two in December.  So it is possible for me to marathon write, and this might be the best avenue for me when I think of the pattern of how I wrote and published over the past two years.

So there’s now a slight change of plans.  I will do the bare bones writing for my pen name’s blog at 500 words a day.  I already finished Brave Beginnings but am posting that little by little each day so I have something to post up and don’t end up straining myself.  That was the third novel I worked offline for during NaNo and finished in December.

So now I have Brave Beginnings and Bid for a Bride to go through.  I think I can get both done by mid-to-late February.  My first novella under my pen name is due out Feb. 1, so that will be cleared by the time I get heavily involved with Brave Beginnings and Bid for a Bride.  What I do is send my original draft to my proofreader to look over.   I make the changes when she’s done, and then I go through and proof it over and do any editing it needs (mainly tying up loose ends and deleting unnecessary material).  This is where I typically lose word count by 1000 or more.

Then I listen to the book on my Kindle (thanks to the text-to-speech feature) and make any other changes I need to.  I do a print out as well and read through it to see it on paper.  After that, I usually send it off one more time to my proofreader.  Then she returns it, and I make any last minute changes and then the book is ready to be published.

So you can see that it might take me 1.5 months to write a full-length novel, but it takes me at least 1.5 months to go through the polishing stage.  Depending on life and other commitments, it may extend to 2 to 3 months.  So I have March 1 as the estimated release date for Bid for a Bride because it is less than 70,000 words.  Brave Beginnings is estimated for April to May because it’s 117,000 words.  The longer the book, the longer it takes to polish it up.  I haven’t looked at either book since mid-December, and though some people suggest I wait a year to go back to them, I’d rather not wait all that long.  What I aim to do is slowly read through one chapter a day.  And when I say slow, picture a computerized voice going over every single word and leaving a second pause before going to the next one.  I catch a lot of errors that way.  Then when that phase is done, I do the text to speech and listen to it to hear how it sounds.  Then the last part is to read it as a book to catch anything that doesn’t make sense overall.  Between that and my proofreader, I feel good about the quality of the work.

So anyway, I learned something new about myself today.  Editing and proofreading are events that block me from being free in the creative realm, which makes more sense for me to organize my new writing separately from the editing and proofreading stages, esp. since at any one given time, I’m usually working on 2 or 3 books in some capacity.  Got to keep myself on my toes, you know.  😉

About Ruth Ann Nordin

Ruth Ann Nordin mainly writes historical western romances and Regencies. From time to time, she branches out to contemporaries romances and other genres (such as science fiction thrillers). For more information, please go to www.ruthannnordin.com or check out https://ruthannnordinauthorblog.wordpress.com.
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2 Responses to On Creative Writing vs. Editing and Proofreading (How My Writing Mind Works)

  1. yes! I have the same problem switching back and forth. Long ago I didn’t, but I do now. I also have trouble switching between visuals and written, too (aka drawing and writing) and it;s getting to be worse with switching between the ‘real world” of bills and where my shoes are to the world of what i am writing and drawing… yeesh!

    • This is a sign of getting older, isn’t it? What fun. lol

      I hate bill paying day. That’s the day where I get the least amount of anything done. It’s like I go into super logic mode, and I’m too drained to tackle editing or proofreading.

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