Friday, June 15, 2012

Right Brain, Left Brain

I feel like this post is a bit Dr Seuss--One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish.

Once I had a bestselling author explain to me that he can't write and promote books at the same time. For him, writing required the creative side of his brain where promoting (marketing) required the more analytical, businesslike side. I'm not a bestselling author by any stretch of the imagination, but I totally understand what he means.

For me, it's writing and editing.

Drafting that first pass of any manuscript requires you to let loose your creative side, to plot, dream, challenge, and grow that part of your brain.

Editing, however, requires a more detached, analytical view of your work. You can't afford to LOVE it while you're trying to FIX it. Some things have to change; others need to be ditched completely.

This month I have divided my time up between writing and editing. Between working on edits for one book as I get them back from my editor, I'm working on the first draft of another book. And it's HARD. I find myself trying to draft while having a serious plot block (like a writer's block, but with the plot--not knowing what comes next), or going back through what I've already written to answer a question--like what is the character wearing--and wanting to edit it as I go. It takes an extreme sense of control to not give in to the impulse. Yes, I'm still working on it.

Yesterday I had an awesome breakthrough about my plot problem and I'm so excited to charge right through the current block.

Who's willing to bet that tomorrow I get another round of edits back for the other book? :)


  1. It's definitely easier to function when you're in the "zone" for one project at a time, but I see writing and editing as the same beast. Guess that's why it takes me so long to get through a single draft, eh? =) I'm glad you got through plot block. That's the worst. Whenever I get stuck I try the "what if" game, and let myself got wild with a minimum of ten scenarios--the kind where the sky's the limit.

  2. Oh, I'm so with you on this! I've just never actually thought it through. that's why I'm so blissful when I'm writing. And so . . . not . . . when I'm editing.

  3. I've always been taught that we have an internal editor that should be given a name and sent on 'vacation' whenever we're in first draft mode. So I can see how this multitasking would be tough. What kind of editor (even an imaginary one) would want to work from the beach? Keep us up to date!



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