I’ve talked about the difference between writing and editing before, but I think it bears repeating. There is a real difference that is significant enough that I don’t typically try to write when I’m editing.
With writing – for me, at least – writing is more stream of conscience. I open myself up to any possibility for a story. My mind is constantly running different story scenarios.
Editing, on the other hand, is more about picking at the details and making sure they all work together in the best way possible. When I’m editing, I’m not focused on story scenarios and the next scene as much as I’m making sure everything I’ve already written works together. No stream of conscience – much more analytical.
I have tried to mix writing and editing. It doesn’t work (for me, at least). Now I do one or the other.
So, why am I thinking about this right now? Well, as you may or may not know, I have three books coming out this year. Mik Murdoch 4 (as of today titled, Mik Murdoch: Identity Trouble) is currently the book I’m actively editing. I will almost certainly receive the edits for Jack Kane and the Kaiser shortly too. The third book, The Goddess Renewed is scheduled shortly after that.
So much editing. And I have more stories that want to be told. The problem is, it takes some time to switch gears. If, after finishing my edits of Mik 4, I were to start writing, I would have to retrain my focus for Jack Kane and the Kaiser almost immediately.
Is there a happy median?
I suppose if I were to try anything non-writing that would keep me moving forward I could do some plotting. There are several books coming up that I need to be ready for, after all.
But, I’m curious. Am I alone in having to focus on one type of activity? I know, once I start writing, I’m able to write on more than one project at a time. It’s just switching between writing and editing that gives me problems.
How do you handle the differences between writing and editing?