Edit Later, Spell Check Now.

I am a firm believer in waiting to make major edits until I am done writing something. Editing usually takes on a multitude of levels, so trying to critique my work on all of these levels at once while I am writing it leads to one frustrated perfectionist. I can't get anything done. I make myself reread everything I have already written before I start writing something new. I decided to quit that approach around page 36.

Now, I have been enjoying writing my novel with my inner critique light turned off. My creativity has definitely been cultivated by this effort, because every time the practical side of my brain wants to say "that's not feasible," the creative side of my brain says, "I will come up with a way to make it feasible."

That said, I have also found it incredibly helpful to try to make accurate word choices and use proper spelling as I go about writing my manuscript.

For instance, who knew "catapult" was spelled with two a's? Not me. Until about four minutes ago.

While Spellcheck software might catch most of the spelling errors we make, it cannot help us remember the alternative, clearer wording we almost chose.

I have found that it's worth the extra second or two to pick the best wording and Google questionable spelling (as well as grammar) as I go along. Otherwise, the errors could be lost until they find themselves in the hands of an unsuspecting reader.

Do you participate in the editing process during or after writing? Perhaps a little bit of both?What strategies have you found that work well to help you cultivate creativity while also keeping your format, style, and grammar in line?


  1. Your process sounds very similar to mine. I try to write my first draft pretty quickly without going back and rereading or editing. I tend to insert a lot of comments in my first draft as I write, such as "check spelling" or "needs smoother transition." If I do this, I don't slow down my process, but when I go back and edit, I can take the time to fix the problems.

  2. That's a great idea, Julie! Sometimes I will highlight certain words or phrases and make them a different color so that I can remember to edit them later.