To Edit or Not to Edit While Writing … That’s a Good Question!


To Edit or Not to Edit While Writing … That’s a Good Question!There are two camps on the issue of editing while writing. One side says, “Yes, it’s fine” … the other side says, “Quit doing it now!” Each side is convinced they’re absolutely right.

But who’s correct?

As usual when there are two sides to a question, there are good arguments for both positions. This issue is no different.

So, let’s take a look at both points of view.

Editing as you write

When you edit as you write, you produce a much cleaner first draft. That’s an advantage. And for many people, moving forward with each new word, sentence, or paragraph without correcting mistakes feels impossible. It’s just part of their makeup.

The big drawback of editing while writing is that it slows you down. And when that happens, you can lose your creative flow. Some of your best ideas might not fully develop and make it onto the page.

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Christine Butler


  • Great article…great points!

    Personally, I’m constantly battling the “perfectionist” and have to battle the urge to continually edit as I go along… This extends to everything I write, including PowerPoint presentations! 😉

    My long-time solution is to “brain-dump” in a pre-writing outline! Somehow, I’m less tempted to be “perfect” when I’m outlining! And, it also seems easier to edit the outline… I frequently have so much “content” in mind that I go off on tangents quite easily. However, when it’s in an outline, I can simply cut that section of the outline and paste it into a new document for “later.” 🙂

    This process works for me, but I still fight the battle to “edit” when I do turn to the writing part! The outline helps me here, as well. When I realize I’ve gotten off-track, I turn back to the outline to keep me focused and remind me of the initial goal.

    BTW…I’m a WordPress Coach & Trainer, so I’m constantly desiging and writing training materials. It’s crucial to stay focused and not veer off course! 😉

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