Do You Reread Before You Write?

October 27, 2011

I recently read an email from someone who stated she rereads everything she’s written up to the point where she stopped writing before she starts writing again. (Did you get that? Does it make sense?) When I first read her comment it is was like, “Dang, how do you get any writing done?” Early on in the manuscript it wouldn’t be such a big deal. Heck, I reread the last chapter I wrote before writing fresh from the stopping point, but reading the entire manuscript? And then it hit me: I did exactly that for four manuscripts when I was “starting out.”

Some of the rereading was necessary, because life rarely left me with a consistent writing schedule, and since I wasn’t committed yet, I wasn’t pushing myself to write any more than when I felt like it. Let’s just say while writing the first manuscript I didn’t feel like it often—that’s why it took TEN YEARS to write. Seriously, when months passed between writing sessions, I needed the refresher of a complete reread.

Even when I committed to fiction writing (aka quit my fulltime job) and developed a consistent writing schedule I reread the ENTIRE manuscript in progress before proceeding. Honestly, I did it because I was so in love with my characters and my stories that the rereads infused me with excitement to write more. And still, I managed to complete first drafts of category-length novels in three months.

So much excitement surrounded my writing in those early days. Ignore is bliss you know? Before rejections, workshops and critique partners to tell me I still needed work, I lived in a state of constant celebration of my talent. *GAG* I’m a crotchety snail now, judging everything I write with a scale that is inconsistent and maybe even marred by too many critiques and teachers. I don’t reread, because it’s a miracle to feel productive about anything I write.

Damn! I wish I could get the euphoria back. Would rereading every time I write make a difference?

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2 Responses to “Do You Reread Before You Write?”


  1. Hmm I re-read if I get stuck, or I haven’t written in a while. That usually gets me going again. But if I’m writing every day, then no I don’t 🙂

  2. Nicole Says:

    If I reread every time I sat down to write, I would never finish a book. Not because of time, but because I would hate it & my writing so much I would fall into I’m never going to write again depression.

    When I’m in the midst of a WIP it’s taking up much of my focus. More time to doubt, second guess, criticize myself. The only time rereading rejuvenates me is when I have let the WIP sit for a long time. My inner critic & other voices have fallen asleep, and I can sit back, enjoy, and realize it’s actually kind of good.

    Unless I’ve just taken a workshop, then I’m left feeling everything I’ve written is crap. It’s those voices again.

    Anyway, time is the only thing that works for me, but everyone has their own process to deal with doubt.

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