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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Two Pre-Edit Steps to Prevent Writer’s Resistance

applauseSusan Gaines Sevilla recently finished the first draft of her novel!

After I woo-hooed and congratulated her in our coaching call, she said, “I guess I should read it with a highlighter in hand to mark where it needs work, but not stop to edit it in the moment.”

“Certainly don’t edit in the moment,” I agreed. “It’s too soon for that. It may even be too soon to read with a highlighter. What if you just read it and love it?”

Just Love?

Susan will move forward with her novel, I have no doubt. But countless first drafts of novels, short stories, poems, screenplays, essays, blog posts, etc.  gather dust in desk drawers and under beds because their authors couldn’t bring themselves to start the revision. Editing and revising are scary!

If you have a piece of writing languishing, if you’re resisting moving forward with editing and revising, or if you, like Susan, have completed a draft and want to avoid resistance, I recommend you do what Susan is doing right now – read your draft with no evaluation at all.

No judging good or bad. No discerning what’s working and what’s not. Just love it.

Love what you wrote. Love that you finished it. Love how you gave your experiences to a character or how you made your personal truth universal. Love your characters. Love your metaphors, images, word choices. Love how you are occasionally surprised by your own writing.

Find something to love on every page of a long work, every paragraph or two of a shorter works, every line or stanza of a poem.

You may slip into evaluating your writing as you read in the same way you can slip into thinking everyday thoughts when you’re meditating. It’s natural, so don’t feel badly about it. Just notice what you’re doing and go back to loving your writing and/or breathing.

love writing canstockphoto9043937 (2)Is Love Enough?

Social science research tells us that we get more of what we pay attention to. So if you pay attention to what you love, you’ll get more to love.

Isn’t that why you started writing in the first place – because you love to write? Or because you’re passionate about your topic and writing is a great way to share that passion with others?

Love isn’t pretending who or what you love is perfect. Love is accepting, appreciating and embracing what is. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is one of the most powerful antidotes to fear and resistance I know.

Don’t worry about being overly self-congratulatory or complacent. There will be time for evaluating your writing later. Editing and revising have several steps (which guest blogger Mary Carroll Moore will explore in upcoming posts).

Before you start editing, take time for two essential pre-edit steps:

  • Step 1: Love your draft
  • Step 2: Will be revealed in our next post.

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2 Comments on “Two Pre-Edit Steps to Prevent Writer’s Resistance”

  1. Joel D Canfield July 30, 2013 at 11:02 pm #

    More gold here.

    Everyone gets so wrapped up in driving and pushing; improving and fixing. “Writing is rewriting!” they shout, but they forget to shout that writing is beautiful, reading is beautiful, and life would be beautiful if we’d just slow down and love ourselves and the stuff around us a bit more.

    I’m still working on some craft growth, but I’m going to dig “anodyne” out and read it just for fun.



  1. Pre-edit Step Two to Prevent Writer’s Resistance | The Bane of Your Resistance - August 1, 2013

    […] the previous post, we identified the first of two essential pre-editing steps: read your draft and just love […]


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