Canada Writes·Writing Tip

Not getting ahead with your writing? Write freely, let your inner critic in later

CBC Books regularly publishes writing tips.
The CBC Short Story Prize is open until Oct. 31, 2019. (Unsplash)

This writing tip is from Ayelet Tsabari.

"I used to edit every sentence as I wrote it and it took forever, until a great teacher challenged me to try and write without editing. I've never looked back.

"Editing as you write can be very satisfying, as it leads to polished first drafts. But employing both your creative self and the critical self simultaneously can be mentally challenging and difficult to keep up. It also isn't time effective.

"More importantly, when you edit as you write, you're not surrendering to the process. You're not letting go. By allowing yourself to write more freely, without letting the critic jump in until you're finished a draft, you are introducing surprise and recklessness into your writing. Of course, this is terrifying. But it is also an opportunity to take risks and go wild."

Ayelet Tsabari was born in Israel to a large family of Yemeni descent. Her debut short story collection, The Best Place on Earth, won the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and the Edward Lewis Wallant Award. This year she released a memoir called The Art of Leaving, which is a finalist for the 2019 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction. She was shortlisted for the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize for her story Green.


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