Good day, people of Earth.
Recently, my alter-ego finished her third full manuscript.
And there was much rejoicing.
She now faces the daunting task of moving from her drafting brain to her revision brain. If you are at the beginning of your writing journey, you may not have had to make this shift yet. But believe me, your time will come. If you avoid it, you're only hurting yourself.
I am a god. I know these things.
What is different about a drafting mindset and a revision mindset depends a great deal on the individual and their process. Take my alter-ego: she drafts with revisions in mind, leaving herself notes throughout the manuscript to make changes later on, insert further detail, or do more research. This makes drafting somewhat easier, because she knows she will not forget anything. It also helps in revisions, because it gives her a place to start.
For some, writing a draft can happen in chunks which are then woven together. For others, it's a straight shot from beginning to end. Pantsers/gardeners tend to want to rewrite whole sections, where plotters/architects prefer to have relatively clean drafts they can make small changes to. Either way, it's nice to have a starting point. This can be as simple as a read-through, or sending it to critique partners. I know one successful author posts her drafts online in password protected posts for readers to comment on as she goes. This allows her to see what things her readers are latching onto, the characters they love and hate, and any confusion they have. This is most definitely an advantage to being a well-known author.
But how do we switch from drafting to editing?
I have heard of author/editors who write in one font and edit in another. Certainly this has merit, as it is an actual visual difference that can trigger your brain's functions. Though I'm sure it takes training. Other strategies are writing something else, or reading a few books to "cleanse the palette" so to speak. Even taking a few days off to catch up on rest can help reset the brain.
For those starting out, it will take some time to discover what works best for you. Trial and error, learning your own process, will be a different journey for you than even your closest writer-friend. Loki and I are brothers, and our strategies for writing are wildly different. I'm sure even the other Avengers can attest to having a whole variety of processes.
But when all is said and done, this switch is an important and necessary one to make. Learning to make it quickly and effectively is important to being a working writer. I would encourage you to share your own strategies in the comments below. And if you are still learning how you work, what are some things you have tried? Have they worked, or not? I am extremely interested to hear.
Good luck, writers.