Editing is a crucial aspect of writing, but the question of how to edit is always an interesting one. The Warhol method of writing features a cyclical self-editing system. The writer continually reflects back on what she has written in that sitting, editing and revising her work as she goes so that she leaves a trail of the finished product as she continues to write.
The nature of this writing method is similar to the painting methods of Warhol, whom often marked very exacting lines and boundaries from the get go in his works. These boundaries were features that would remain in the finished product. Using the Warhol method, the writer is extremely self-aware of each word choice and each sentence because she is constantly reviewing the work’s details and the work as a whole. Writing this way, the writer effectively writes one draft and is complete.
How to Do It
Imagine an author starting a work. She writes one sentence and reflects on how that sentence sounds and how it fits within the context of her plan for this work. She decides that the verb could be more telling, and edits the sentence. She now analyzes this sentence and judges it complete.
She writes another sentence, and another, and so on in this fashion. She reflects on the first paragraph and makes changes according to its efficacy. Perhaps she even goes back and changes the first sentence, since it now requires adjustments with the arrival of a further narrative.
The writer moves their prose along in this careful, perhaps methodical fashion that is very exacting and solid, and that which leaves little room for an editing process once the work is complete.
Why Do It?
The Warhol method is not objectively better than any other method of writing or editing. It is simply different from the intense editing processes, which often work with a piece that was spit out as fast as possible at the onset of the subject matter fully forming in the writer’s conscience. There is not enough time for craft here.
Certain writers like the Warhol method because they like the notion of writing the last word of the piece and feeling (and perhaps, being) done with the piece. They find it easier to be motivated to write because they know that when they are finished, the work is done. Undoubtedly, there is something to be said about this mindset versus the prospect of finishing a work and then immediately venturing to, in ways, begin the work all over again.
Most likely, some periods of solitude are necessary for you to write effectively. Perhaps you are even a writer who cannot write at all if not alone.
On the other hand, your experiences in life—most of all the experiences during which you interact with other human beings—most likely form the pivotal inspiration for your writing.
In short, you need to embody the solitary writer and the socializing writer at once—or at least alternately—in order to be a good writer.
Commit and Conquer
When solitude strikes and you are intent on writing, commit to writing, and make sure you write! Solitude is precious and seemingly more rare as your life progresses, so use your time to write alone in optimal fashion.
On the opposite, social end of the spectrum, seek out unique experiences, perhaps even experiences that you would not ordinarily gravitate towards, because in doing so you will meet a diverse variety of friends along the way! Perspective is essential for a good writer, and the more people’s shoes you can walk in a day earnestly, the more cultivated your perspective becomes.
Defend Your Right to Write
Sometimes solitude is difficult to come by. Whether the perpetrator of your lack of alone time is a busy schedule or an overload of social interaction, you need to find a way to get away and write. Renounce pointless activities or filler in your day-to-day routine. Have the courage and willpower to avoid fruitless or selfish activities.
You Are a Person First, Writer Second
Though writing may be your passion, and you could indeed be labeled a “writer,” understand that you are simply a social being first. If you navigate through life while overbearingly self-identifying as a writer and as someone who is on Earth to write, you are in danger of losing perspective.
Plus, you should have numerous passions besides writing that compose your life, making it an adventure for you. Make sure you live in the moment and enjoy your unique journey every day, and in doing so you will have genuine experiences and be given inspiration and material for writing without even asking for it.
Light on Your Feet
Embodying both the solitary and social as a writer is not easy at first. But the key is to stay light on your feet. In other words, never dwell on one mood or activity for too long. Experience life as it comes, and pay as much attention as possible to every moment. If you love to write, you will naturally find time to write. And if you approach life earnestly as a social being who is sharing this journey with others, you will have plenty of writing material to work with.
Becoming a published author is the dream of many writers, but one that often goes unrealized. In the world of a writer, rejection is everywhere. If the thought of securing a literary agent to represent your work leaves you feeling woozy and you fear never landing a contract with a traditional publisher, you might consider self-publishing. Years ago, publishing your own book was not a possibility, but it is now and there are several advantages to doing so.
There is the potential to earn a lot more money on each book sale with self-publishing. Traditional publishing companies typically pay authors about 15-20% of net earnings for a published title. The publisher takes a bigger cut for providing a host of services, including editing, layout and design, printing, and marketing. There are always fees for self-publishing, but authors keep more of the profits for themselves than with traditional publishing.
Publishing your book yourself allows you to retain complete control. As the author and publisher, you have the final say regarding every aspect of the book. You decide which edits to implement and what the design layout will look like. You select the title and book cover and you even set the price at which you want to sell your book. The marketing strategy is also yours to decide.
Once an author has done his or her part writing and revising a book for a traditional publisher, it will still be several months before the final book is available for sale. Time is needed to design a cover, finalize the interior layout, and set the book for printing or digital format. Additionally, the publisher might already have several books in line to be completed before even beginning the design and layout process for your book. Self-publishing eliminates the long wait. Writers can practically publish their books as soon as they are written when they self-publish.
When you choose to self-publish you are guaranteed to be a published author. You can purchase an ISBN for your title so that your book can be sold in bookstores and through marketplaces like Amazon. It is even possible to publish digital books directly through Amazon and have them available for sale almost immediately. Once that happens, you are officially a published author.
For writers dreaming of seeing their books in print, in either hardcopy or digital format, self-publishing is a realistic way of achieving this. In addition to guaranteed publication, self-publishing offers several other benefits. In the case of earning greater royalties, for instance, self-publishing can even be considered advantageous over traditional publishing.
One cannot overemphasize the benefit of reading, especially for an aspiring writer. Develop an affinity for authors whose style pleases or inspires you, study their works tirelessly, and you will soon find yourself integrating the magic of these authors into your own work, one way or another.
Obviously, the act of reading alone will not write your novel for you. You still have to fill that first blank page with your own original ideas and then forge onwards. But almost nothing flexes your creative muscle more than reading what other artists have created.
If you are a writer, choosing what to read is like choosing what to eat. Reading historically and objectively good literature will improve your own writing, and an apple a day keeps the doctor away, as they say. There is nothing wrong with indulging in a cheap, melodramatic novella you bought in the grocery line, nor is it a nutritional sin to have a piece of cake after dinner. However, keep adding filler to your diet and you will soon see the negative consequences.
As a writer, you need to be aware of what writing came before you in order that you write appropriately and effectively for a present and future audience. Familiarize yourself with the classic works before moving on to other works. The more sound your foundation in past literature is, and the more extensive, the clearer your perspective will be on what “works” in writing and on what style and content has been universally relatable and influential for centuries.
Get in the habit of reading everyday, and also make a point to challenge yourself to read for longer and longer periods of time without rest. Concentration is a skill that can be exercised. Plus, there is little that hinders a writer more than impatience. You must have the ability to work through less than enjoyable periods of your writing experience. Writers with supreme concentration and patience will always be able to overcome writer’s block (which no writer is immune to), because they will be able to work through stretches of mental discomfort or frustration and arrive at a new creative dawn.
Get Away From It
Lastly, all writers seek a break from writing when they are in the throes of the craft for extended periods. Many writers have been known to run along the water or socialize before returning to their writing with a fresh perspective. Reading is another effective way to give your brain respite from writing. Read something wholly separate from whatever you are working on at the moment in order to escape into another headspace.