Pre-Writing (#4 of 6 Tools to Write)

#4 in a series of 6

Another mistake we make is to assume that what flows from our pen must be finished product. Logically, we know this makes no sense. There’s always a bit of re-writing before the proofreading and editing. We would never expect others to deliver perfection without practice.

photo of picture frame http://www.sxc.hu/photo/636590 by Oliver Gruener http://www.sxc.hu/profile/PlusverdeWhether it’s the next chapter in your novel or a page of marketing copy for your website, it can help to sit down and intentionally scribble the ugliest, roughest draft you can imagine. Make it your plan to write something so simple, so messy, so basic, so ugly, that you can’t possibly use it. This is just a note to yourself about what you’re planning to think about considering writing.

This is much like the trick I use to get myself to do household chores. If a picture needs hanging, next time I see the hammer I lay it on the floor where the picture is to be hung. Then when I run across the box of nails, I set that in place. If the picture needs a hanger attached to it, that goes in the pile as well. Eventually I walk past, look at this instant picture hanging kit sitting on the floor, and realize that it will take almost no effort to finish the task. It gets done.

The hardest part about writing is writing. Not the polishing, the formatting, the editing. Just starting. Just putting down the few words that say what we really mean.

Pre-writing is a way to start ugly and simple and just get something down on paper.

Once the task is started, sometimes the compulsion to continue is overwhelming.

That’s okay too.

Continued tomorrow.

5 thoughts on “Pre-Writing (#4 of 6 Tools to Write)

  1. Thank you. The problem I have encountered with my writing, is the time I spend editing every sentence. I should take your advice, and just write non-stop. The editing will come later. I need to re-train my brain.
    I’m going to try your format. Blessings.

    1. Editing while you write is like baking the ingredients and then assembling the cake. Or, mix the eggs and milk, bake that a 200 for 12 minutes. Then stir in some flour and sugar, and bake at 300 for 5 minutes. Keep that up until all the ingredients and minutes and degrees have been used up.

      I ain’t eatin’ that cake.

      On a less frivolous note, you cannot achieve flow unless you are immersed in a “Cinderella” task: challenging enough to keep your interest, easy enough to be done without strain.

      Laboring over every word or sentence or paragraph will never get you in flow.

      Flow now. Edit later.

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