Bonus points to anyone who read the title of this post to the tune of “The Hokey Pokey.”
Anyway, the inspiration for this post comes from the brilliant Oscar Wilde, whose The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my all-time favorite books:
“I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.”
I guess Oscar just must’ve been having one of those days. Don’t we all?
I tend to have these moments more along the way than in final editing—I get all OCD with the minor wording, and my backspace button probably hates me for being a slave driver. (When I go old-school and write by hand, I usually end up with at least 25% of the lines marked out. If my laptop’s backspace button probably hates me, trees definitely do.)
The OCD approach saves me a little time in the long run—less editing to do later on—but also kills some of my effort when revisions set in and scenes get slashed. I’d consider trying to reign in the internal editor for a bit, since that seems like the wise thing to do, but I’ve never been wise and I’d rather just stick with my writing flow, idiosyncrasies and all. Which begs the question.
Have you ever had one of those days, full of scribbled lines or extra bonding time with your backspace button? Which describes you—“obsessive-compulsive” corrector or “I locked my internal editor in the closet (gagged and bound)” kidnapper?