1. mbinks89
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    mbinks89 Active Member

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    A question of writing every day: does editing count?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by mbinks89, Mar 26, 2013.

    I hold myself to 1000 words a day. I just finished my novel, however, and am trying to have it edited by the end of April, and so am now holding myself to twenty pages of editing a day. I love to write, and am going to try to write the thousand words, but I have homework, exercising, would like to draw every now and again. Would the editing, which requires analytical dissection of language and even some rewriting, count in your opinion?
     
  2. Mithrandir
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    Mithrandir Contributing Member

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    Yes would be the short answer.

    I think the word count per day does apply to editing. I usually have various stages of editing (meta editing, paragraph level changes, and line by line stuff), and these areas obviously overlap a lot, but I generally consider my thousand done when I've moved two thousand up a stage. You can also judge by the time it takes you to do the editing. If it's way shorter than how long it takes you to write it, increase how much you edit to match things up.
     
  3. mbinks89
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    mbinks89 Active Member

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    Okay thanks, that's a relief
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's part and parcel of a writer's daily work load, so of course it counts... plus, editing does require writing, doesn't it?... ;)
     
  5. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    Sometime I wonder what people mean by editing. Here when mbinks89 says, "I just finished my novel, however, and am trying to have it edited by the end of April..." that suggests binks has only finished the first draft, which is not even half the way to completion. The edit, revision stage can take twice as long (or longer) as the first draft. And it is during editing and revising where the real craft begins. And everyone always talks about it as though it were something trivial or merely a minor, slightly tiresome, task that just comes with the price of fame.
     
  6. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I edit and revise as I go, so it definitely counts for writers like me. Anything you're writing that moves you toward completion 'counts' (although I have to admit, reading your post I felt like you think there's some 'rule' about what you should write. You don't even have to write/edit your current work - you could work on another project altogether and that would 'count' as well. The idea of writing every day is simply to build that sense of discipline that writers have to have.)
     
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  7. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Working on your book in any fashion counts in my book. ;)
     
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  8. lettuce head
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    lettuce head Active Member

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    In mine as well.
     
  9. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Count for what? This is your book, your writing and editing. It's up to you to decide what counts as a good days work, not us. So just ask yourself this, do you feel at the end of the day as though you've achieved something? Because that's your answer.

    Besides, I'm not a great fan of writing to word counts etc. I remember a story once, not sure from where, of a writer (poet I think) who spent days going over a single poem of his. And at the end of that time he changed a single word - and then later he changed it back! I have no idea whether he considered his days of effort productive or not - but it's not my opinion that counts.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  10. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Does it ever! I mean, how many times have me and KaTrian ended up scratching a big chunk of text only to write in a new plot development and bam, 5 000 words. To us, editing is much more work than writing itself since we're kinda sorta obsessive about sculpting the story into perfection (which we will never reach).
     
  11. CommanderEVE
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    CommanderEVE Member

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    Like shadowwalker, I also edit as a go along. And I have also heard that it is good to stick to a goal each day, so say your goal is 500 words a day.
     
  12. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Awesomely well put. I always - I don't know if agonize is the right word but I certainly feel a heightened sense of responsibility to the work once I reach the editing stage. For me, the initial writing is the easy part. The ideas, concepts, plots, and stories are there. I put them down and manipulate them this way and that until I reach the final resolution. The denoument, if you will. Once I reach the point of editing, I guess it is more about the story and the reader than me and the story. And here I thought I was the only one that could take as long or longer on the edit stage as the initial creation stage!

    (Remind me again why we love this so much.)
     
  13. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    But whether or not the writing is a good day's work is not really the question. I believe the OP was wondering if the editing was in addition to 'real' writing or if that also qualified as 'real' writing. And the 'real' answer is that writing, as a novelist or non-fiction author should define it, is not tied solely to the initial creation process but everything that is tied into the overall process of creating the finished product. So, it's not so much about what counts as a good day's work as it is whether or not the editing might be counted as part of the daily writing 'quota'.

    Like you, psycho, I do not bind myself to a daily quota. Some days I write nothing while other days I have been known to stay up half the night and write 15,000 words - most of which were not slashed in later re-writes and, somehow managed to make to the finished manuscript. Other times, I might write diligently for days and days on end and lose half of production in re-writes. Still, does that not count as a good day's work? Sure it does. Even when you have to eiminate massive amounts of writing, it is still moving your ms to a better end. What's that old line? something like, "I never failed. I just found 1,637 ways not to do it"?

    That perfectly describes the editing/re-writing process. Everytime you have to eliminate a passage, a chapter, a scene, a character, etc. you have eliminated one more way to not complete your ms. satisfactorily. And that IS productive.
     
  14. mbinks89
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    mbinks89 Active Member

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    Thanks guys. I ask because I was anxious that maybe if I wasn't writing and creating new works every day, my inner craftsman would start to stagnate, and after I was finished editing, I'd find it hard to start a story again, to describe, etc. I didn't really think this was true but wanted to put my mind to rest, which it has been.
     
  15. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That's really well put. Me and KaTrian are just working on our book's... tenth draft? Eleventh? I suppose at some point you just gotta stop and accept that there will always be something that could be done better, but, man, it's hard to let go of a story!
     
  16. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    In terms of keeping yourself in a writing mindset, and continuing to build your skills, I'd say that it certainly counts.

    For me, it wouldn't count, because I love the editing process, I have roadblocks with the initial creation process, and I'm trying to force myself to "show up" for that creation process at regular intervals. So for me, editing instead of writing new material would be an excuse to break a hard-won creation habit. (I haven't yet achieved that creation habit, but if I had a full book, as you do, obviously that would be evidence that I had. :))
     
  17. mbinks89
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    mbinks89 Active Member

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    ^Thanks ChickenFreak, that's what I meant by count.
     
  18. Ian J.
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    Ian J. Active Member

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    I count everything, including the development of plot and characters early on; through the writing itself; to editing, polishing, and even the preparation of artwork for covers and getting the printing done (but then I self publish so that's a whole other thing anyway). I liken it to film-making: there's a pre-production phase [development of plots and characters in writing]; a production phase (which is actually quite short) [equates to the narrative writing we do]; a post-production phase [reviewing and editing]; a marketing and publicity phase [handed over to the publisher in traditional publishing but has the book signings, press interviews and the like for the author]; before finally hitting release.
     

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