Yesterday, as I was coming to the end of my daily 1,000 word target, my computer went into full meltdown. I’m not just talking about your usual screen-freezing, switch it off and on again problem, I mean full-on blue screen of death. Lucky for me, I save a backup-of my work daily on the cloud and a USB stick, so I knew the bulk of my work was safe, but when I finally managed to bring my laptop back from the brink of death, my 1,000 words were gone. What a nightmare.
I could remember roughly what I’d written, of course, and I still had a few key phrases in my head, which I quickly jotted down before they slipped away, and then I set to work re-writing. I shouldn’t really have been surprised at this, but my new 1,000 words came out way better than the first. I already had a detailed idea of what I wanted from the scene and now I had the chance to refine it on the second try.
This whole thing really revealed to me just how useful it can be to re-write from scratch. Usually, even if I don’t like what I’ve written, I’m inclined to do a heavy edit rather than scrapping my work and starting over, but I guess this goes to show that there really is some benefit to the occasional re-write.
Where do you stand? Is it better to edit or re-write?