Writing Between: The Beauty of Cut and Paste

During my comprehensive exams, a medieval literature professor told me to write paragraphs after I read things. “You’ll be able to drop them into your drafts,” she promised. Today I was reminded that she was right.

I’m not one to write single paragraphs. I tend to think of a piece of writing as a whole. In what I consider the “pre-writing” phase, I produce three or four very rough drafts. For each iteration, I start with a blank page and a simple outline. And I keep my old draft handy. (Scrivener allows me to see both documents at once.) Then for my first full draft I’ve not only thought through the material a few times, I also have raw matter in basic paragraph containers.

Today, I was able to cut and paste 600+ words from my old draft into my full draft. They’ll need a slight bit of shaping, but I have four paragraphs (that have the right basic material) moved into place. I love when previous work makes present work easier.

Current word count: 7660/9000


One thought on “Writing Between: The Beauty of Cut and Paste

  1. That’s pretty much how I do things, too, though I don’t do separate “pre-writing” drafts. But I do usually have three times during the writing process where I start over on a blank document, re-outline, drop old paragraphs into new spots, fill in the gaps, and reshape everything. I just did that this morning when I was writing a conference paper based on one of my chapters.

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