Write with Your Heart, Edit with Your Head

Writing has to flow, like water. Writers thirst.

Imagine, though, if you were dying of thirst (you are, you’re a writer) and the person holding the hose kept shutting it off so they could adjust something. Spurt of water. Shut it off. Adjust. Spurt of water. Shut it off. Adjust.

You’d strangle them. Just give me the water!

… more … “Write with Your Heart, Edit with Your Head”

Write Drunk. Edit Sober. Is That Right?

Apparently Wednesday comes a day late this week. Still sorting this new posting schedule. Glad you’re here.

Papa H famously said, “Write drunk. Edit sober.”

Just to be totally clear that I’m not advocating alcohol abuse, the point is that made by Gustave Flaubert in a letter to Gertrude Tennant (her daughter Dorothy married the explorer Henry Stanley.)

Flaubert wrote Soyez réglé dans votre vie et ordinaire comme un bourgeois, afin d’être violent et original dans vos œuvres.

Be regular and orderly in your life like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in your work.

solid old tree in the wild weather

There is a natural balance between order and chaos. You will have a certain amount of each in life, in your personality, in your art. … more … “Write Drunk. Edit Sober. Is That Right?”

Write with Your Heart, Edit with Your Head

fountainWriting has to flow, like water. Writers thirst.

Imagine, though, if you were dying of thirst (you are, you’re a writer) and the person holding the hose kept shutting it off so they could adjust something. Spurt of water; shut it off, adjust. Spurt of water, shut it off, adjust.

You’d strangle ‘em, screaming “Just give me the water!”

That’s what your heart is doing when you write slowly, methodically, with your head. Because you don’t write with your head, you write with your heart. You edit with your head.

No one but you will see your unedited words, so don’t worry about whether they’re perfect.

Because if you worry that they’re perfect, nobody but you will ever see your words, period.

Rewriting: Head and Heart

mystery author Elizabeth Spann CraigElizabeth Spann Craig shares an excellent outline of her method for rewriting. It’s short, but involves a lot. While writing should be done straight from the heart, rewrites and revisions will involve a bit more of the structural orderly stuff done best by other parts of your brain.

I’ll soon be doing the rewrite for the sequel to Through the Fog. Once I finish it.

Bookmark this. You’ll want it when you reach this point.

Ali Luke describes her method. Parallels and differences.