"The writer who cares more about words than about story – characters, action, setting, atmosphere – is unlikely to create a vivid and continuous dream; he gets in his own way too much; in his poetic drunkenness, he can't tell the cart – and its cargo – from the horse."
I am guilty of getting in my own way. Too often I waste time laboring over words when I should just be living in the moments of my story. It's easy to do, especially for perfectionist personalities. I stop to edit, to play with a sentence, to nit-pick descriptions and dialogue. I type and then delete...type and then delete.
Gardner is right, though. If we want our stories to be vivid and continuous, to move forward and develop, we need to keep writing. Re-writing is editing. Editing is what we do with what we've finished.
Are you a poetic drunk like me, getting in your own way,
or are you able to resist the temptation to edit as you go?