I’ve talked about how if you want to write fast, you must remove your need to self-correct. How you must not be an editor and a writer at the same time. How self-editing is the enemy of work speed.
I’ve said this many, many times, both online and in person.
But, here’s the thing. I did not realize just how applicable this really is. Like, I spout the truth of this as gospel already. But, not only is it a good adage, it’s a skill you can improve upon.
As in, you can do this better with practice. Because, see, though I write in this method, this “helter-skelter get the thoughts down on paper as fast as possible” strategy, I will, occasionally, tweak a sentence mid-construction. I will stop and ponder how to avoid an adverb. I’ll go back and check things to make sure I am not contradicting myself.
And these are all crucial parts of editing, don’t get me wrong. But, there’s that word again: “editing.” Yep, even the act of reworking a single phrase slows you down. It slowed me down, and removing almost all self-editing increased back my speed.
A good story flows out of a person. As a writer, you are a conduit, not just the architect. The medium, and the message deliverer. Leave the story’s moment to moment composition to the subconscious and to the realm of passing daydreams.
When you write, let words bleed, leak, and gush out of you. Let them come from your soul. Sure, that’s a little poetic of a way to put it, flowery even, and not at all literal: but the advice at the core is sound.
What I am telling you to do—to at least try—is to write what you are thinking as you are thinking it with as little pausing as possible. Do not go back and reread. Outrun your self-doubt and your own thoughts on what you are doing.
Read this rule, then say it with me: “I can always fix it later. I cannot, however, fix what is not there.”
Heck, don’t even alter obvious misspellings your word processor marks until at least you’ve finished your current thought. And that’s only allowed because the red squiggle lines are distracting.
Now, the work may feel like garbage when you leave it for the day. And when you come back, maybe it will be. But, from my experience, you’ll find some surprise in how much potential those rough drafts can have. For the people inclined to be writers by their nature, your subconscious is already good at basic storytelling.
So, just let go. And create. Seriously.
It’s kind of magic.