Recently I came back to a manuscript I had been working on after a couple months. I was about half done writing the story when I put it down and, due to the long absence, I decided to reread what I had done.
So far, so good. I was pretty happy with the quality of writing and the story was moving along the way I wanted. I knew I had a bit more plotting to do for the second half which I did.
The new plotting actually required the movement of some of the original writing.
So, I moved the writing that needed moving and continued to write. The thing was, I kept running into original words that didn't quite fit. So I cut what didn't work and wrote new. Then I checked my new word total and discovered I had LOST word count.
Not the end of the world, but I hadn't actually added much to the story in terms of new content. What I had managed to do was reverse my progress.
I continued in this way for a few days, discovering more often than not that I finished my writing day with fewer words than I started and the story hadn't moved forward.
Progress or procrastination? You be the judge.
This isn't a new thing for me either. My very first novel took me seven years to complete. That was largely because I kept going back and editing the work I had written before (chapter 1 actually went through 24 iterations before I finally said, "Enough!").
Apparently I need a lesson more than once...I was going to say to learn the right way to go but I'm not entirely convinced I won't make the same mistake again one day.
So, going forward on this particular work, I'm going to write the new stuff and leave the old alone knowing I will hit the occasional continuity problem when I go back. I will be using this strategy because when I do finally hit my editing pass, the book with already be complete. No more editing procrastination/negative progress for me.
Is it just me or does this happen to you too? Do you even realize it is happening? :)