Don't edit too soon

Alex Sugg
Alex Sugg

Treat interruptions like stop signs, not detours.

Don't edit your work too soon.

Have you ever been in the process of creating something and get held up in some tiny detail that you can't figure out?

Try resisting the urge to fix every little thing as it arrises. If you're a writer and need the date for an event in the story, don't leave your work and open Wikipedia to find it. Because honestly, how often does going to Wikipedia stop at one single search?

Editing too much in real-time, you will almost certainly break your flow and prevent finishing whatever you intended to complete.

There are exceptions here, so instead of giving a black and white solution, I think a better question to ask when hitting a problem in creating is:

"Is this a necessary next step? Or better suited for a later edit?"

Another way I frame this is to treat interruptions like stop signs, not detours. Stop and examine whether or not you need to go down the rabbit hole, or just take a note for later and keep moving on down the road.

So going back to the writer example above needed that that date for the story. Before they open a new tab, they could ask themself, "Is this a necessary next step? Or is this better suited for a later edit?”

After choosing a later edit, the writer leaves an asterisk in the story and will go find it later to save time and not break the flow of writing.

I believe one of the biggest reasons it's difficult to finish projects is that we get snagged by these little details. We end up doing stuff that takes us away from the tasks we intended to complete.

So try not to edit too soon, and you'll see more work getting finished.