How to NOT Edit

by Addie Boswell
Published on: June 24, 2014
Categories: Other Topics
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To almost all writers, we at Viva Scriva almost always recommend more editing. But there are times when editing will only slow your manuscript down. Most notably during that hallowed first draft, but sometimes further down the road too. When you need to work your way through a motivation or plot problem by free-writing, for example, or when your work has been over-edited and you want to return to a flowing voice. At these times, it becomes hard to turn the editing off, and writers can go to great lengths to stop. Writing longhand or on a typewriter. Writing ‘blind’ by covering up the computer screen. Even e-mailing chapters to themselves then deleting them from physical interference.

Along those lines, a friend recently introduced me to Draft, a writing application that helps with versions and online collaboration. I haven’t tried it yet, but it seems more bare-bones and perhaps easier to jump into than Scrivener, another popular writing software. One of Draft’s benefits is called “Hemingway Mode,” which founder Nate Kontny explains like this:

The best advice about creativity I’ve ever received is: “Write drunk; edit sober” – often attributed to Ernest Hemingway. I don’t take the advice literally. But it points to the fact that writing and editing are two very different functions. One shouldn’t pollute the other. It’s difficult to write if you’re in a editing mindset and removing more words than you’re putting on the page.

So I’ve added Hemingway Mode to help. Draft will turn off your ability to delete anything in your document. You can only write at the end of what you’ve already written. You can’t go back; only forward. 

If you’re like me, you have wished that your computer would step in and stop you at times. Maybe Draft is getting ever closer. If only we could get our laptops to start whispering motivations when we stop typing…


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