Creating and Editing













A friend posted this on my FB page the other day and it made me smile, mostly because my writing experience is the precise opposite. The creative stage is a long stumble through dark woods; the editing phase is a lakeside stroll on a summer day.

As I commit words to the page, I am hounded by my inner critic every inch of the way. She doesn’t believe in drafts and will not tolerate any sign of weakness, insisting that each line be strong enough to bear the weight of the next.

Not until all the sentences are mortared into place does my critic depart, apparently trusting me with the minor edits. I love it when she leaves.

What about you? Which writing stage do you most enjoy?


Published by

Jean Ryan

Jean Ryan, a native Vermonter, lives in Lillian, Alabama. Her stories and essays have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies. She has also published a novel, LOST SISTER. Her short story collections, SURVIVAL SKILLS and LOVERS AND LONERS, are available online. STRANGE COMPANY, a collection of short nature essays, is available in paperback as well as digital and audio editions.

4 thoughts on “Creating and Editing

  1. Loved this post! I share your affection for the initial creative stage even though it’s a mess, both in my head and on the page. I “write” a lot of opening paragraphs in my head before I even sit down at my computer. Even then, it takes a bunch of false starts before I start down the right path. As for editing, once I get close to a good sentence, I start to hone it – and I continue with each sentence for as long as it takes. Sentences frequently migrate from one paragraph to another until they find a home, and it’s not unusual for my initial first sentence to wind up as the closing sentence of a piece.

    I know good writers who produce a really crummy first draft and then start the editing process. I’m not one of those writers. I think my inner-editor is afraid I’ll drop dead at the computer and someone will find the mess and declare, “Ah ha! We KNEW she couldn’t write!”

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