Good Writing Is 90% Editing

I love writing and I consider myself a digital writer. Have been doing it daily since the beginning of 2020 on LeoFinance & Hive. Even before that, I was using writing in different forms like emails to my clients, product descriptions, ad copies, webpages, blogs etc. One thing I've learned over the years is that writing is never finished until you're done editing it. When people write something, they often put too much pressure on themselves to make it amazing from the start. That's why a lot of people have trouble finishing anything. They get stuck in endless cycles of editing their work over and over again without ever actually finishing it!

Rough Draft

When I was a kid, they used to have this thing in writing class called the "rough draft". It was a draft of your paper that wasn't supposed to be final or even good. It was just there so you could get all your ideas on paper and maybe figure some things out before you had to write the final draft.

I distinctly remember reading somewhere once that if Shakespeare had written one perfect play, the world would never have heard of him. This is because he wrote at least 37 other plays along with his famous works that were almost certainly better than anything else being written at the time (and still are).

Write A Lot

Do you know what's more valuable than writing one masterpiece? Writing lots of masterpieces!

Nowadays, it seems like people are always trying to write their "masterpiece" at the first possible moment, then submit it without looking back. But writing is a process: You don't start with a finished product and have to make edits along the way. You need to write a lot before you can write well. And that's because writing is not a product; it's a skill.

Edit Even More

Writing doesn't happen in one swoop; it requires revision and editing - which means that you need something to say before you can edit your work down to an effective message (or vice versa). It may feel strange or unnatural at first, but the more you practice getting your ideas out of your head and onto paper/screen/etc., the better writer you'll become.

The best writers I know spend most of their time editing and reorganizing what they've written. Some of them even write one sentence at a time and then edit each of them before moving to the next one.

Editing is a major part of the process, though it can be easy to forget when we're so focused on creating something new. But consider this: if you spend an hour writing a full blog and more than an one and a half hours editing it, that's 2.5 hours total. Doing it in two stages instead of one will get your work done more efficiently.

What Does Writing Mean To Me?

As a writer, you've likely heard the phrase "Writing is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration." This is true - but what does it mean?

To me, it means that inspiration will get your idea out of your head and onto paper. The rest is editing:

  • correcting grammatical errors
  • smoothing over transitions between ideas and sentences
  • clarifying confusing language

All the things most people don't enjoy doing (and all things I was terrible at).


I think the lesson here is that writing is more about editing than actual writing. It's about taking what you've written and making it better. If we all spent less time trying to make our first drafts perfect and more time editing them later, we'd all be a lot happier with the final product! There's nothing wrong with writing a rough draft - but don't try to make it perfect on the first try. You'll just waste time that could be spent writing something more meaningful!

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