I've been following one of the many Yahoo writing groups, and today they were going back and forth about the writing process and which was the best. Many of them admitted to editing as they wrote, while others said they wrote their first draft and then went back to edit.
When I write, I don't work from an outline. I have everything loosely formulated in my head, and quite often I have the ending sketched out before I've even written two pages. Now it's just a matter of getting there. As a result, I tend to write straight through for fear of losing the storyline that I've created in my head. I suppose the easy way around that would be to jot down notes in a notebook. With that said, I have been guilty of editing as I go, but, as a rule, I try not to edit as I write because I find the writing process takes longer than if I knocked out the first draft without editing.
The first manuscript that I completed I wrote in two weeks working 10 to 12 hours a day. The editing seemed like a never-ending process. I often wonder what would have happened if I edited the manuscript while I was working on it. If some of the short stories I've written are any example, which are the projects I find I tend to edit while I write due to the shorter nature of the project, I'd still be working on the first draft.
As with any rule, however, there are exceptions. When I have stepped away from a project for any period of time, I find I have to re-read what I've written in order to get back into the flow of things. As I read, I find myself making notes on the hard copy I've printed out, and before I know it, I'm back into the file and and doing a full-scale edit, making changes, reworking paragraphs, and sometimes deleting blocks of text entirely and recreating them.
How about you? Which way do you prefer to write?