The Three Essential Rules of Successful, Effective Editing!

Blog post header; text on blurred pink flower petals reads, "editing your writing. The three essential rules of successful, effective editing."

I’ve learned one really important thing when it comes to writing, which is entirely different than editing. This trick makes a world of difference whether you’re writing a screenplay or a TV pilot or a novel or memoir or blog or ad copy. If you’re writing, you need to be doing this one thing.

In fact, you might already be doing it.

I call it the “fuck it” draft. Other people have different names like “scratch,” or “ideas draft” or something else, but I like the irreverence of swearing, so it’s “fuck it.”

It’s a draft that’s even rougher than your rough draft, and it definitely bears no resemblance to what your final draft will look like (that’s why we edit). Rather than trying to get a decent draft on the page, you just say, “fuck it!” and have a grand old time. If you’re anything like me, you flit between writing normally to bullet points to doodles that just sort of getting the idea of what you’re going for. No details, no rules.

Having a “fuck it” draft is a great way to get your words and world out of your head and onto the page. There is no necessity for perfection, and in fact, perfection is deeply discouraged. A lot of the “fuck it” mentality is to channel what you want to say about your world, and to have fun with it! That’s the point of writing, right? It’s supposed to be fun!

Now, that said; writing is the fun part, editing is the hell part.