Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

Cycling and the Art of One Clean Draft

I Wrote Ten Short Stories in Four Days…

Right here, talking about the process every day. And not a soul made a comment about how long it was going to take me to rewrite them, or polish them, or some snide comment about how they must not be any good.

Not a one.

It seems those types of writers stay away from here. Don’t blame them, honestly. It has to be painful to come here where people are having fun with their writing, doing one clean draft, and making money and and finding readers.

Gad-zooks! It must be evil.

Nope, not evil and not even a secret. It is called cycling.

Cycling is not rewriting. I get comments from people who say they finish something, wait a few days and then cycle back through it. Nope. That’s rewriting, not cycling.


Cycling is done in creative voice, while you are in the creative process.

The process works like this: You go along for a distance (varies from writer to writer, but averages in the 400 to 600 word length), then lift up out of the timeline of the story, drift back a ways, drop down in, and run through the story again, adding, fixing, making it clean copy.

Then you hit the spot you stopped and you have momentum and you write the next sentence and repeat until you have your next cycle.

When you get to the end of the story or book, it is clean and done. And you and your creative voice move on.

But That Has to Be Slower…

Not when you count a rewrite draft or drafts, cycling is far, far faster. I produce clean one-time-through copy at the rate of about 1,100 words per hour. Sure, if I wanted to type faster, I suppose I could try to write sloppy crap. But why would I? I would have to fix it in critical voice and even though I know more about writing than anyone reading this, I suck at rewriting.

Now I have come to loath the stupidity of Nanowrimo and their constant pushing of writers to write sloppy. That way is death, 99% of the slop written during nanowrimo is never rewritten. I just flat don’t understand why they do it, to be honest.

Story-telling is not just typing.  And it certainly isn’t rewriting.

Telling a great story comes from the creative side. Stay in creative voice and never let your critical voice near your work. And to do that, cycle as you write, finish what you write, and get it out to readers without touching it.

You watched me do it for ten stories in four days and at some point you will be able to read those ten stories just as I wrote them, without rewriting. Because life is too short for me to ever turn backwards and look at one of my already written stories. And I have too many new stories to tell.

So anyway, this little Friday night rant was brought to you by the folks lately who have started to call rewriting cycling. Remember, if you go back over something while writing it, that is called cycling.

If you wait days until your creative voice has fled the scene before going back over a story, that is called rewriting. And rewriting is a complete waste of time and often destroys your own work. Or at best, dumbs it down.

And that kind of rewriting is actual work and is no fun.

Ughh. Just the thought of having to rewrite or polish something gives me the shivers so bad, I almost can’t type.

(Now, check in with yourself, honestly. Are you making excuses why you must, repeat must rewrite? Then ask yourself where you learned that myth.)



  • Anthony Izzo

    Great advice, Dean. I enjoy your posts and have been incorporating cycling into my own writing. Will you be doing more “myth busting ” posts in the future?

    • dwsmith

      Oh, sure, as I get annoyed at something. But so many of the major myths like needing traditional publishing, needing an agent, and so on are impossible to fight. So I just shake my head at those folks. I try to help those who want to be helped, not those lost in a faith-based belief system that someone will take care of them and magically make their books wonderful.

      But yes, like this one and the one I will write for tonight, when I see something that starts to worry me or get under my skin, I shout out. Sometimes all it takes is just some logic to help some people in fiction writing. Logic can fight myths if the person is willing to listen and step back from long-held beliefs taught to them by people who were not writers.

  • Harvey

    I usually hit around 3000 words per day. 5000 is a good day. I cycle back with each scene, so around 800 words. But at the end of the day, I hit Save and head for the house from my dedicated writing space.

    The next morning, I sit down, put my fingers on the keyboard and cycle back to read the last scene from the previous day.

    I’m reading as a reader (creative subconscious), not an editor, and I allow myself to touch the manuscript as the characters move me. That gets me back into the rhythms of the story, and when I get to the end, I type the next sentence that occurs to me and keep going.

    So I guess my version of cycling is a hybrid of yours. But then, it would be. I learned it from you. (grin) The main thing, as you say, is staying in creative voice.

    • dwsmith

      Havey, I do that as well. When I sit down fresh, I go back five hundred words or so and read toward where I left off, getting into creative mode and touching the manuscript to fix things as I gain speed toward the blank page. So exactly the same as mine.

  • paladin3001

    Small question here. I think it’s rewritting though it’s difficult to tell. Usually after I finish a story I will let it sit and go back through it looking for mistakes. Usually, something that’s repeated or mentioned more than once. Most of the ‘fixing’ I do is usually about a paragraph or three depending on the size of the document. Still have to master the whole writing into the dark aspect, and I believe I am getting closer to that.

    • dwsmith

      If it sits, the creative voice has moved on. And more than likely the creative voice is angry at you for thinking you can fix what it did later. And getting the creative voice angry or pouting causes issues in future stories. Think of the creative voice as a very brilliant two-year-old. It knows more about writing than you will ever realize, but hates not being trusted. And it has a short attention span that can be diverted. So caution.

  • Kenny

    I just forwarded this to a writer mate: they’re a rewriter. (I’m not trying to change their process.) But in the email I told them that I believe that cycling is the core of your Writing into the Dark process. Yes, your ‘pantsing’ or no-pre-planning may be the attention grabbing feature (it was for me). However the more I hear you talk about cycling and the more I use it in my stories the more I believe that cycling is, in fact, the core and the power behind the Writing into the Dark process.

    Yes, I know cycling involves trusting your creative voice, but cycling allows a system for that in your process.

    • dwsmith

      Kenny, you are right, it is the core of writing into the dark. And trusting the creative voice. That second element I will write about tonight.

  • David Anthony Brown

    I think you’ve finally scared away the re-writers.

    I have exactly two instances where I tell people I re-write. A) When I describe cycling to someone, but don’t feel like getting into the weeds of the process. Just easier to call it re-writing to a newbie. B) There are rare times when I do a literal re-write… meaning I toss out what I wrote and start over with a clean slate. In my head I don’t think of that as re-writing exactly, because I’m letting my creative voice take a different turn at the story, but again more for the benefit of describing the process to somebody else.

    And I loathe Nanowrimo too. I used to volunteer for them, but can’t anymore. Too damn depressing really. I’ll go to one of the early in-person meet ups, to maybe meet new people. But just soul sucking to think of all the great stories that will get polished down to crap or languish away in a trunk.

    • dwsmith

      David, Kris and I do that toss-out and start over. We call it re-drafting, meaning you put yourself back in creative mode, toss away the entire first attempt, and just write it again. We talk about this all the time, actually. But it horrifies new writers who think all their words are gold and can be fixed by simply fussing with them. Nope, sometimes a story just doesn’t come out the way you want the first time, so you toss it away, never look at those first words, and just write the idea again.

      But frighteningly enough, I have sold those first attempts at an idea. In fact, I wrote the exact same idea five different times in five different stories, all redrafts of the same idea, trying to get it right. But being anal with Heinlein’s Rules, I mailed every attempt. Two never sold, one sold to a small press, one sold to the Twilight Zone magazine, the final attempt sold to F&SF Magazine. They are my jukebox stories. I kept writing more of them after that, but that first idea had five redraft attempts.

    • Teri Babcock

      I’ve felt mean and scrooge-like for years for disliking Nanowrimo — so much yes-you-can enthusiasm. But from a safe distance away, it seems like it’s mostly of benefit to people who have writing a single book on their bucket list, or breaking their self-doubt that they could finish a novel.
      To the new writer with work-ethic, who is writing steadily and engaged with craft, I see no value. Perhaps the participants appreciate the camaraderie and feel supported by the meetups or the online forums. But I think they won’t make the difference for someone who is already determined to be a career writer. And the myths… yikes. All the advance preparation. It makes writing a novel a Special Event… which is death to your writing.
      I read feature in a short story mag on a writer who had *nine* novels in a trunk from nine years of Nano that ‘needed work’. She wrote only one novel a year, and that was at Nano.

  • JM

    Two notes. One, I’m sure you’ll agree with. The other, maybe not, but I like my stories better when I do it that way.

    1. I’ve actually sat at a writing conference and watched as someone took another author’s “first draft” and (as if at a writer’s group offering feedback) proceeded to strip out the author’s voice and replace it with nearly voiceless prose that looks like a Grade-A high school English paper rather than a story. The new page might have been “tighter” but it sounded as if someone else wrote it. I disliked that, and you’d probably be horrified, but it was fascinating to watch the destruction of voice in action.

    2. I do come back to my stories after a few days. Just once. I read it aloud because I know my flaws and can spot them more easily aloud than on screen. These are not: “oh, I must use active voice and make the sentence POP here” fixes. These are: “why does my robot character sound exactly like my illiterate steampunk pirate character?” fixes. When I get into story flow, I sometimes forget to make characters sound like individuals instead of them all sounding like me. Reading the story aloud let’s me find that problem. I’m always happier with the result. Luckily, I enjoy reading my own stories, so it’s not a burden.

    Eventually, with enough practice, I might be able to skip that second note by keeping character voices in mind while I’m writing, but at least I know enough never to let that first note anywhere near my writing. (Also, no changes AT ALL based on writing group critiques. Take their lessons, if I think they’re right, and apply it to the NEXT story, not the finished one. I remember THAT lesson from you most clearly.)

    Thanks for sharing your cycling technique. I’ll try it and see if that saves me from my own rewrite step 2.

    • allynh

      In looking at notes and email from twenty years ago when I was part of a online group, I found an example of what you are talking about. Some guy took a scene from my Story and rewrote it the same way you mention, just to make his point.

      Twenty years later, I can read my stuff and his rewrite and instantly see the difference. My stuff was Story. His rewrite was just words on the page that had nothing to do with Story.

    • dwsmith

      JM, sounds like your second step is a form of line-editing. I had a read-aloud experience. I was in a studio recording one of my own stories. And as I was going through the manuscript, I would make a slight change to a sentence, invert words, that sort of thing, all on the fly, as I was reading, both from thinking it sounded better or just my bad reading ability, until finally the tech stopped me and said I had to stay closer to my original manuscript. I found that much harder to do. Realized right there that the original was fine and better, actually, but if I allowed myself, I could tinker with a story for a long, long time, mixing things, and doing no good at all.

      • Kate Pavelle

        Hi Dean, I do a read-aloud proof read. My laptop reads the story, I follow on my writing computer and make occasional tweaks. I fix typos, homophones and other stuff the spell check didn’t pick out. Occasionally I’ll change something that sounds odd when read aloud (because when I proof the narrated version, I always hate those parts and by then it’s too late.)

        The good news:
        A. This proof results in a cleaner final document than when I paid good money for a proof reader.
        B. As I practice cycling and focusing on having a First Clean Draft, I change less and less!
        (I probably shouldn’t admit to doing this on an open forum 😉 )

        • dwsmith

          Kate, LOL… this is a writer board, not a reader or fan board, so you are safe. Writers seldom buy books.

  • Linda Maye Adams

    So true–cycling is faster. When I was working with my co-written, we couldn’t figure out how to resolve a scene, so we decided the most deadly thing: “We’ll fix it on the revision.” We typed a placeholder in, and went on to finish the first draft.

    Come the second draft. We now had to deal with it. We worked out the problem–and it broke many scenes that followed. So those had to be fixed. But the fixes broke other things that in turn needed to be fixed. It was ugly! We probably made ten times more work for us then stopping during the first draft and taking the time to figure out what we needed. We might have spent a week working it out, instead of several years worth of revisions.

  • Vera Soroka

    I don’t cycle but I go over everything at the end of the writing session so I guess you would call that editing/copyediting and then I let another reader read it to catch what I missed. Seems to work for me.
    Right now I’m going over a novel that was written along time ago. There were verb tense issues with it. I’ll do what I can with it and then pass it on to the reader I have and see if they think it’s worth anything.

  • Jason M

    “Just the thought of having to rewrite or polish something gives me the shivers so bad, I almost can’t type.”

    For years I’ve been reading you saying this, and for years I’ve been disagreeing. Sorry.

    A quick second draft has helped my books immensely, PARTICULARLY in plotting. If in chapter 24 I realize that I need a gun planted in chapter 9, then that waits until the second draft. If in chapter 29 I realize that an image I just created could be a motif if I included it in chapters 3 and 15, then that waits until the second draft. If in chapter 32 I realize that the info dump needed to be in chapter 27, then that waits until the second draft.

    I keep a list of all such additions on a separate document. I go down that list and make the additions/changes for the second draft. It’s fast, usually takes 2-3 days to include the additions.

    Dean, just because YOU found a way that works for your particular needs (short, fast, minimum attention paid) doesn’t mean that’s the right or the only way. True, single draft writing saves young writers from the sin of excessive rewriting (and I’ve sinned there, about twenty years ago), but I’m going to vehemently insist that allowing myself a quick second draft has really helped the internal coherence of my stories.

    We will agree to disagree.

    • dwsmith

      Yup, we will disagree because in the two or three days it takes you to do the additions, first off you have robbed your creative voice of that control, and secondly, you could have written a bunch of original words in those days. So yup, we will disagree. But just wondering if that second draft is nothing more than an old habit remaining from the fear days. Just saying.

      • Jo

        It’s really not that much different is it? The notes about what and where to add are written during the first go through, and then inserted later instead of slowing down to do it during the rough draft. There’s no rewriting, sounds like more of a cut and paste job.

        • dwsmith

          Well, Jo, I seem to be confused, because what you describe is very, very different from anything I am talking about. In fact, it is exactly what I am warning against. Writing sloppy first drafts are horridly destructive to creative voice. But nice rational your critical voice came up with there.

        • Joe Sumner

          “Adding things to create a motif” sounds contrived and probably looks pretentious to the reader. Some of the best motifs in literature were accidental.

          Finding a good place for an “information dump” sounds like dumbing the story down by over explaining something. Or the writer suddenly understood something about his story that is small enough to fix during cycling or is so big that he should redraft.

    • Loyd Jenkins

      Sounds like what you are doing is not really rewriting or revising. It is just adding at the end of the story, instead of during the writing.

  • Ashe Elton Parker

    I’ve done this with my writing for as long as I can remember, though I generally complete an entire scene first, as stopping part of the way through for any reason tends to pull me out of the flow. But, yeah, I’ve always cycled.

  • Balázs

    I always protect Nanowrimo. In Hungary, at least there are all kind of writers. I mean, one of my fellow writer mentioned your blog to me when I first entered the challenge. And during Nano I learned to finish something, finally. It’s up to the participant how they do the challenge. Just write 50k random word or finish something… Or somehow they manage to write more words to their actual novel. Yes, it is said to “just write now, fix it later”, but not necessery to do it that way. What I mean your challenges write four novel in a month, or 30 stories in a month is much more like what I do during Nano events. It’s always up to the person.

    And about cycling. I’ve just started to learn it now. I always wrote with Writing into the dark, but without cycling. It wasn’t so good, I felt I did it wrong. But now I feel just some more practice I need. I don’t feel I can rewrite at all… But with cycling nowadays I do a better job.

    Thanks for helping us! Knowing your method at least I can see another ways around then it was teached to me.

    • dwsmith

      And Balazs, don’t forget to have fun. Keep the writing fun, almost play-like at times. That is also a key element to all this.

  • Jennifer

    This sounds like it’s old hat for you at this point, but it’s still a very useful read for those of us just starting to get into gear, thank you! I have your Writing Into the Dark book but I had to read it through twice to understand how a cycling technique would work. Last week I sent off the first draft of my dissertation — and I know you add the caveat repeatedly that your creative-voice techniques don’t necessarily apply to nonfiction writing, but man, I can’t imagine a process less suited to fostering a creative voice than a dissertation committee. So I feel like it might well take me a bit to get up to trusting myself again.

    • dwsmith

      Yeah, Jennifer, that kind of writing is far, far from possible in the dark. In fact, exactly the opposite. It has to be critically written. Where fiction needs to be creatively written. You’ll get back to fiction. Give it time.

    • JM

      Having come out of academia myself three years ago, I sympathize. For years, I was stripping everything out of my writing which made it fun in order to make it acceptable to professors. It took me a while to start using contractions again, and to start using humor, and to start making my writing sound like a human wrote it instead of an academic machine.
      Just remember Dean’s dictum about making your writing play-time and not work. It helps. If you want, you can even let loose an evil laugh when you write a sentence the professors would never approve of.

      • Charlotte

        Oh, yeah. I never tried academic writing, but worked for some years for a *serious* newspaper, then as a freelance corporate journalist (annual reports and that kind of stuff). It nearly killed me, all the edits and diplomacy and polishing and making sure nothing stands out whatsoever. But creative writing came back with a roar as soon as I let it. Don’t be too worried, if it wants to play, it wants to play 🙂

      • Emily Dunn

        I spent 30 years correcting student essays. That killed the creative voice. Occasionally creativity would pop out of the ground, like a prairie dog checking for predators—fellow English teachers, principals who demanded more and more junk so a box could be ticked off. Creativity came back in January. I didn’t know that my plunge into a scene then recursive expansion had a name.

        Last November I participated in NANO for the first time. I went to one meetup and found fellow NANOs who had several MSs they’d never done anything with and who frowned on independent publishing and (here’s the scary bit) one who planned to take about a loan and spend the year writing then get published by a Trad Big 5 at the end of that time. I guess he planned to add that loan to his other major-university debt. I didn’t attend another meetup.

        The push for word count was a good discipline. Combined with that recursive cycling, those are two great lessons.

        I enjoyed reading about your writing push. It helped me get my bum in the chair. Your take on creativity is inspiring. Thank you!

  • Rikki Mongoose

    I’m hoping to read a post about genre studying.

    It’s very close to researching subject, but is a bit different.

    Of course, author has to know his genre. But learing is an endless game – for example, even Russian gothic fiction (not the main genre) is enough to fill a bookshelf.

    Is there any good sign that you know genre enough to start writing in a genre?

    • dwsmith

      Nope. If you read a genre, then you know it if you trust your creative voice and stay out of the way. But if you don’t read a genre, why bother writing in it?

  • Elena

    I’m wondering does the creative brain work in this process better with music to distract the logical brain? I use brain fm and it seems to help but just want to see yours or other people’s opinions.

    • Tony DeCastro

      Elena, I suspect this is personal, but I can tell you that for me, my creativity shuts down with lyrical music. That includes other creative endeavors as well… art, design, etc. I would assume that musicians singing songs don’t have that issue 😉 I can listen to instrumental music while creating just fine. I’m not sure it improves the creative process, but it doesn’t destroy it for me.

  • Janine

    It’s so much easier to just do it right the first time instead of doing a bunch of rewrites (which for me end up being inferior product, not better product as the myth believers tell everyone), and I learned that the hard way. It might mean slower first draft, but guess, what, no rewriting required! I can move onto the next story much faster than they do.

    A mantra I keep running into is “The first draft is the foundation of the house and the revisions (aka rewrites) is putting everything else into place.” I always felt that’s a bad analogy, but felt I could never dispute it until recently. First off, wouldn’t a completed story basically be a completed house, not the foundation? What they are suggesting is making a shoddy build and spending extra time going back and tearing parts multiple times, wasting time and money that could have been avoided if it was done right the first time.

    • dwsmith

      Janine, exactly right. The metaphor is build a house with shoddy product and shoddy work, then spend a ton of money and time fixing it up to the level or close that you should have done the first time through. No real crafts person does that, and that is why I am saying it is silly for writers to do it as well. Thank you, great analogy. And anyone who has done any kind of construction just shuddered at the idea of doing it shoddy the first time. (grin)

      • Janine

        Another silly idea: spending lots of time and money turning a somewhat interesting house with character that stands out and gets people talking to a basic builder grade house, just like all the other houses. Passable, but nothing special. It’s the antithesis to what a lot of house flippers do. They go in, renovate the house right the first time (usually), and only do clean up at the end so the house can be sold. Each flip team tends to have an unique style that’s visible in most of their jobs. In many cases, the houses are critiqued by real estate agents and potential buyers during Open House with mixed feedback. Do they change anything? Nope. They keep it on the market until they sell the house to the one buyer that wants it most. Too many writers do the former and too few do the latter.

      • Annemarie

        Oh, don’t say that buildings aren’t done with shuddy work and shuddy material and repaired after that. I have an example: the “new” airport of Berlin-Bandenburg in Germany. It was supposed to open an eternity ago. They are repairing and repairing and postponing to open it again and again. And what was good as material – like screens -is now outdated and has to be replaced. Meanwhile the first people are saying, it would be better to tear it done and start from scratch, because they won’t never fix the mess they made with those “repairs”

        And thus you have a real-life example what happens, if you don’t do it right the first time – an immense waste of time and money.
        We better not do that to our stories.

  • Harvey

    Dean, just another thought. It might help some writers to realize “rewriting” is a relatively new concept that only reared its head with the advent of mass-market paperbacks.

    As you’ve pointed out before, the old pulp writers realized they weren’t paid to rewrite. They were paid to write.

    So they created a clean “first draft” (on a manual typewriter) as a matter of expediency and necessity. And seriously, how many people could call Dashiell Hammet or Erle Stanley Gardner or Lester Dent or Robert Heinlein or a host of others “hacks”?

    Just something to think about.

    • dwsmith

      Yup, rewriting came about because English teachers didn’t want or have the time to read too much original stuff, so it was easier to have the same thing coming back over and over. It is a new thing, also brought on by the ease of computers. Try rewriting something on a manual typewriter and you understand why any writing back in the day learned to write clean and one copy.

      • Emily Dunn

        After my first teaching year, I never read a student’s draft. I got a lot of pushback from fellow teachers, but I discovered the students never learned. With essays, a great plan (cluster or outline) led to better content, and students would gradually learn to judge their content from the prewriting. Then the state writing test began enforcing that plan-draft-clean rewrite process, backing me up. That’s all nonfiction, a different beast.

  • Dave

    I wrote into the dark by cycling on my last two books. But after each chapter I would run it through Hemmingway App & Grammarly and make suggested changes. How do you all do your spelling and grammar check?

    • dwsmith

      Dave, you just made me shudder. In fact, I am shuddering so hard, I can barely type. Let me say simply and plainly… TURN OFF YOUR GRAMMAR CHECKER AND NEVER TURN IT ON AROUND FICTION.

      Perfect grammar makes stories dull. No human or character speaks in perfect grammar. TURN IT OFF and never, ever, ever turn it on.

      I spell check at the end of the story or book. I have it shut off when writing. Then when I am finished, I flip it on and fix spelling. Takes about ten minutes with a novel. I write pretty clean even on spelling these days. But I still do it.

      Wow, your question is so anti creative voice, I think they heard my creative voice screaming in pain a mile away at just the thought. Wow, just wow.

      • Janine

        I think the desire for many to have “perfect grammar” in their stories is because of the demands by the myth believers to remove “filler words” and they tell that readers will not tolerate bad grammar. Honestly, perfect grammar is for reports and other non fiction endeavors. I don’t want to write or read fiction that reads like a rambling of facts.

        • JM

          YES! That’s why it’s important to understand your characters’ voices as your write, and write without a grammar checker.

          I was an ESL teacher at college level required to teach the grammar of “Standard Academic English” (SAE). Realize that I did NOT say “perfect grammar” because there’s no such thing. Or, rather, everyone’s grammar is perfect in ordinary life (and in writing). You only need SAE for job interviews, business writing (only sometimes), certain jobs (NOT being an author), and school papers (all the time). I made damn sure to tell my students that. In the writing classes, I explaind the mechanics of SAE and why they had to learn it that way. Never once did I say it was required outside of those reasons. I taught to their tests and let them see behind the curtain why the tests were that way.

          In your fiction, though, listen to how real people talk, and use THOSE patterns, not SAE. The stories will be better.

  • Juliann Whicker

    This is so interesting to me. I rewrote my first novel 12 times. As in a new complete draft twelve times until it did what I wanted it to do. Now I can write a novel and cycle through scenes (my husband reads what I’ve written for the day at night) and that’s it. I think a huge part about whether you can work quickly is how experienced you are at the entire process. Every novel teaches me something. Every novel has something difficult that I need to struggle over. They’re all different, unique, people I have to get to know, spend a lot of time with, and sometimes that means writing and then outlining what I’ve written to see what it does so I can duplicate it for the next book in the series. I like continuity and I’m a bit sporadic to do that without intention. I think you have to be slow when you’re starting out, at least I did. There are so many billions of aspects to writing and you aren’t going to get them all at once. I can also now write using an outline. It took me 12 novels to be able to do that. What is magical about that number? I really enjoy being able to write in different ways, but again, flexibility and adaptibility require practice.

  • Dave

    Thanks for giving me permission to ditch the grammar editor and give my English teachers a heart attack. 😉

    I just saw your answer to someone else’s comment about doing a 20-minute spellcheck at the end of the writing process

    Good to know. Cleaning up grammar was a draining process.

    My next question would have been about editing, but I see you have a full-blown workshop on that, so I’ll check it out and join in on one of the upcoming ones.

  • Linda Fox

    Thank you for this. I have been having a deuce of a time trying to fix an ‘almost done’ NaNoWriMo book – it has been frustrating me for the longest time.

    I decided, about 3 weeks ago, to set it aside, and write something else. MUCH better, and less stressful.

    • dwsmith

      Linda, yup, that writing sloppy first drafts make finishing something no fun at all, that’s for sure. Sometimes it is just better to move on. Write clean first drafts and have fun.

  • Elisabeth

    According to your definition I’m a cycler though I’ve always consider that process writing & rewriting. I write, go back a bit and make sure it sounds right and continue, only stopping this when I need to research a quick point so my story works right. I hate going back after the fact to fix a detail – I’d rather deal with it right off. Later I read and proof – no story changes. Perhaps some genres need different approaches, especially non- fiction, though I don’t know that first hand.