- Awareness. You become aware of your inability to stop editing whilst writing rough drafts. No matter how many times other writers advise you to just write you can’t stop going over your work; checking for typos, bad grammar, changing your mind about certain sentences etc. You tell yourself that your writer mind has been wired differently to other writers. When you write everything has to be perfect. Nothing out of place. The prospect of writing a draft and leaving the editing bit until it’s finished is alien to you. Just the thought of all those typos lying untouched for a period of time makes you start to twitch.
- Denial. You deny that you have a problem with constantly editing rough drafts. As a way of proving to yourself that there is nothing to worry about you start to write some flash fiction. You say to yourself that you don’t have an editing addiction and that you can write 100 words without going back to edit it.
- Craving. You reach 70 words and your fingers are twitching. Your eyes have already located a typo and there are some issues with that opening sentence. The editing craving consumes you. Its like the urge to scratch an itchy spot. You can’t stop looking at those glaring errors. A typo starts to wave at you and that opening sentence rotates in your mind. Cue the strained expression and the call for some will power.
- Absence of will power. After a brief battle you give in and rush to edit your 70 words. It feels good to be editing something again. Your hawk like eyes dart about the page. After a satisfying edit which resulted in four typos, a revised first sentence, a new second paragraph, huge chunks hacked and some wording changes you feel your body relax. It’s over. The craving has gone. Everything is under control. You can carry on with your draft which is now at 40 words post edit.
- Acceptance. You know that you will never finish anything if you are constantly editing your work. It’s hard for you with an OCD editing demon living inside you. The demon controls you and its going to take some work to loosen its grip on you. You decide to take small steps. The next time you write you let a typo remain unfixed for over an hour.
Good luck out there writers!