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How often do you reread what you just wrote?

I have this (bad?) habit of rereading absolutely everything I write, whether it's an academic paper, a story, or a text I'm sending. I reread it several times just to gather every possible interpretation of it which is useful most of the time. However, it's getting in the way right now because I keep rereading this story and constantly making edits/changes. Something that sounded right yesterday sounds awkward now. I can't just ignore the awkward parts and keep writing because I feel like the awkward part will affect my story in the long run. Any advice?

Writing | 👁 978 | Posted 2018-03-07 | Share on Facebook | Twitter | Google+

| Modified: 2018-03-07 | Author:

15 Comments

Ruuzart 2 years ago

You need to force yourself into doing only one or two edits/re-reads after it is done. Once you build up a habit it will get easier. Maybe start off small, with a short piece and then build yourself up to longer length pieces of work.

Selrisitai 2 years ago

Maybe twice ever.

theballa_ 2 years ago

Depends. If it's an important email, I'll reread it maybe 5-6 times. If it's a paragraph for a story, maybe at least 10 times. If it's a chapter or so then probably at least 15-30 times.

Justinwc 2 years ago

How often do you reread what you just wrote?

theballa_ 2 years ago

I think one of the reasons I doubt my writing is because I reread it so much and it gets boring. I agree, it is very compulsive. Just gotta force myself to move on.

extra_magic_tacos 2 years ago

At least a hundred times. (Really, no exaggeration). I usually rewrite chapters from the ground up at least twice, sometimes as many as a dozen times. I tweak sentences every time I go through. I almost always add or delete large chunks (3-5 paragraphs). Don't stop until there's nothing left to add and nothing that can be taken out without breaking something. I do 4-5 revisions of emails. It's compulsive.

theballa_ 2 years ago

I should start doing this. I have a bad habit from high school where I just look at any assignment and wing it. It worked in high school, but not anymore.

SuiteClarity 2 years ago

We. Are. Twins.

[deleted] 2 years ago

I write down a first draft without rereading, to avoid overthinking it. Then I usually give it a little time and re-approach it later to make edits.

Adderbox76 2 years ago

Too often. If you keep trying to improve what you've already written, you'll never get through your first draft.

NovelNovelist 2 years ago

I always re-read what I just wrote, and personally I think it's a great habit to be in. It's definitely not something I want to change about myself. Regarding writing specifically, there obviously comes a point when you have to let something go so you can move on to the next part, but I allow myself the indulgence of re-reading a passage I've just written for at least a couple consecutive days before I force myself to move on. That's not to say I'm not writing new material in the meantime, just that I start each session reviewing and tweaking my most recent writing. And again I like that and it's not something I wish to change. I find it immensely helpful for re-immersing myself in the story world/characters in preparation of the new writing session I'm about to have.

theballa_ 2 years ago

I always pretend to read what I finished as if I'm the audience. I don't know anyone else who does this so I'm glad it's not just me (even though I'm sure many people do it.) Thanks for the advice

brinkbart 2 years ago

I do the same things with texts and other correspondence. Im going to re-read this comment after I hit send. When I send out beta chapters, I reread all of it and pretend Im the person I just sent it to. As for while Im writing, I completely dismiss the advice that you should just freight-train through and not read what youve just written. I edit as I go. Taboo, I know. But what helps me is knowing when to stop. Even if I dont think its perfect yet. You have to find the point where you can tell yourself, Ill get it later. And I dont mean tomorrow. Tell yourself youll get it in editing. And you have to believe it. You really do have to keep going, but its fine to fiddle for a bit before you move on.

Miltons_Lucifer 2 years ago

If it's something that I'm handing in or publishing, then I read it over once, then hand it in. If it's my own stuff, I'll read it through once when it's done, leave it for a few days, read again, tweak, ad nauseum

Transplanted_Cactus 2 years ago

I reread and make changes until I can read it without feeling like something needs to be different. I think, maybe, the key is learning when that point is for you, and I think that might largely be influenced by how confident you are in your writing. If you're doubting yourself, you'll doubt your work, and it will never be good enough to you.


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