When you're writing a book, it can be tempting to spend hours and hours tweaking your content to get every sentence just right. However, that approach is incredibly time-consuming and can keep you from the main task at hand: completing your first draft.
Remember this: If you don't complete the first draft, you will never complete your book.
I recently finished my fourth novel (yay!). My goal each day was to write at least 1,000 words, ideally more, but at least 1,000 before I would let myself call it a day - or a night. On the days I kept focused on the story, I easily reached my goal, sometimes so quickly that I couldn't believe it. However, on the rare days where I found myself wordsmithing too much, I would literally spend hours in front of the computer and only have a few hundred words to show for it. Not only did that make me depressed, it often ended up being a complete waste of time. Why? Because after I finished the manuscript and went back to read it as a complete story, I ended up cutting a lot of the little things I'd fussed over along the way.
After you finish your first draft, you're going to do a lot of editing no matter what, so you might as well get the entire thing finished, then go back and work on the details. It takes discipline to keep plowing ahead.
I like to think of the editing/tweaking as the "dessert" of the book-writing process. It's my favorite part, and well worth the wait. What about you? Is wordsmithing a part of your writing process, or do you save that for later?
Maria Murnane is the best-selling author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.
This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2012 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.