Writing fast and editing later is a good practice. For many people, writing super-fast is an even better practice. Here’s why:
- If you write fast, you don’t have time to criticize your writing. And the more energy you spend criticizing your writing, the less energy you will have for writing. Many amateur writers can work up a writer’s block for themselves with just a few sentences of self-criticism. Don’t get started on that road.
- When you write super-fast, your writing can approach the speed of your thought. I’m serious. Even non-geniuses can think much faster than they can type, once they get going. Let yourself fly. Don’t slow down your brain. Letting the words flow will actually spur new thoughts, and it will at least prevent you from losing thoughts because you couldn’t get them down fast enough.
- Until you finish writing, you shouldn’t edit. Everything that anybody writes is garbage until it’s edited. Editing is awfully inefficient when you try to edit every word as you type it.
For the first draft, try to write like the wind. Wait to edit until you start the second draft, after the sweat has dried.
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17 Responses to “Write Super-Fast”
Hmmm… I am guilty here. I stop to edit my stop every 5 seconds. Good tip, I will definitely follow it from now on.
Good advice. I will give it a shot.
I agree that this tip helps a lot in writing, but I think it may not really help in writing module in some exams such as IELTS, ECPE… When I do the writing module, I do not have enough time to check again and correct much in my writing because I only have about thirty minutes. That is why I have to check frequently to make sure that I have used correct grammars and vocabularies as well as the appropriate opinion. Thus, can anyone tell me what I should do to get the best result, especially in IELTS writing module. Thanks a lot.
I’ve always been the other way. I tend to think slowly anyway, so everything I’ve ever submitted for school or a writing contest has been my first draft. I thought of this as being “just my style”, and I hadn’t thought of all the advantages you mentioned. Guess I’ll have to try and change, won’t I?
Dave, some famous writers have worked like you. I confess I have often written that way myself. Most of us can’t do it, though. Now that I’m trying to write faster, I find that I get less distracted by proofreading.
H.L., you have a good point. When you’re being judged on correct grammar, and nobody is allowed to correct what you write, you do need to be more careful. IELTS experts say you should spend 5-7 minutes planning before you start writing, and only 2 minutes editing. But editing might be easier once you’re all finished. You won’t know if your verbs are in agreement until you’ve written them all down.
That is a great tip, and I use it often.
This is something I learned a few years back. It is a wonderful tip.
I have found two things that may be a help too.
Don’t start editing immediately. If you have the luxury of waiting a day (or more) you will be able to edit with less emotion and attachment to the words you previously wrote.
Secondly, please don’t forget to go back and edit. Even if it is just a quick re-read to make sure everything fits. It is humorous to read all the grammatical mistakes that could be avoided if people would re-read their post before hitting submit.
i like your comment on writing tps. i felt encouraged and i decided now i will be writing on too many subjects
This is what I need, for other people to be in the same situation as me, I thought I would never be able to finish at my rate of stopping and starting…and in the back of my head kind of knew this all along…so from now on i’ll be writing to a brief plot 🙂
LOL. I wish I could type as fast as my brain thinks. Unfortunately, I type at around 60-70 words a minute now and STILL can’t catch up with my brain. I can’t even talk as fast as I think, and I can speak at lightning speeds.
I have to stop and think periodically though. Because I have thought so far ahead, I’ve forgotten what I was doing. XD
I think this is because I am an extremely creative person. As my mom puts it, I live in fantasy and visit reality (it’s scary there). My brain seems to function on a whole different wavelength then other people.
I actually wish I was less creative. Not a lot less, but maybe just a little less? It’s kind of lonely living in a world no one else can see or understand. Plus, there is the whole productivity issue. I’m a dreamer, not a do-er. I dream and dream of big projects and great ambitions, and, yet, nothing ever gets done.
This, quite frankly, sucks.
Instead, I have 50 or more novel ideas bouncing around in my head, driving me nuts. Do you know how hard it is to concentrate on one thing when you are simultaneously being bombarded with more and more ideas? There isn’t enough time in my day to write all my ideas. I’m not even sure I can find the time to do them all in my entire lifetime.
Recently, however, one particular story has stuck in my brain, and refused to be pushed aside by the bright, new, shiny ideas that flock up. I don’t know if that is just because I’m older and thus have learned more patience and perseverance, or if it’s because this particular story and characters are so inspiring. Perhaps a bit of both.
Anyway, sorry for the tangent. Great article! Very interesting topic. I will have to find some way to speed up my fingers and slow down my brain. Got any suggestions?
The short stories we studied were determine that justice and fairness are not always equivalent as can be seen in “Scarlet Ibis, The Lottery and Just Lather, That’s All.”
Kyla, that i must confess, great article. I’ll surely give it a try, God knows i would do better.
Kind of funny, this is primarily how I write first drafts. One additional suggestion I would add is to do this with your eyes closed. A blinking curser isn’t going to help you, but if you’re actually seeing the action as it happens in your mindscape, it can be quite fun. If you are really into the process, you stop thinking of what to type as you are literally living the scene. As a bonus, your hands happened to transcribe the experience.
One difficulty I’ve found of this on the fly writing is coming across story changing alterations further down the line that require a great deal of rewriting to earlier chapters. It is fears like this that have recently caused some hesitation to sit down and type. Fortunately, this site has many great ideas on that very topic.
A great tool I use is “Write Or Die” by Dr. Wicked. It’s a genius device that forces you to continue writing, and offers consequences if you lag for more than a certain, small amount of time. The consequence might be a specific sound bite played until you start writing again- nails on a chalkboard, scratchy violin, and annoying songs are some of those. The worst consequence is that your words start to erase themselves one by one (starting from the end) the longer you lag.
Masochistic? Perhaps a little. But I’ve found that it really shoves my internal editor in a corner while I write, and forces me to concentrate on just getting the words out (even if they have to be dragged out unwillingly). Someone mentioned that your first draft is about quantity over quality- the quality comes later when you edit and revise- and I’ve found that brilliant advice to someone who always wails in misery when her first words no where near the perfection they need to be.
Very interesting topic. I too, like brindani, found great success with writing , er typing, with my eyes closed. Essentially just letting my fingers fly on the keyboard and getting every thought out. Even with technical writing I’ve found this to be helpful.
Editing it can be a lot of work/ fun but I certainly can get a lot of pure thought on a page without worrying about spelling or grammar.
Creativity is not measured by speed. Creativity is measured by whether or not you can give me what you’ve got. Can you do the work and deliver it? Thinking about a thousand ideas at once and thinking that’s being creative is an illusion. Calling yourself a creative mind is arrogant. Creativity is not brain-hustle; it’s rolling up your sleeves and getting it done. Be productive, not scatter-brain. I would love to read something you have actually written. Anything at all. I can evaluate your creativity better than you can.