Hi, friends. In today’s post, I briefly share two major tips that help me power through rough drafts and free my mind when writing. Implement this advice if you often find yourself staring blankly at a blinking cursor!
Keep a Running List of Ideas
When I open a fresh, blank post and settle in to start a rough draft, I consult the list of writing ideas I keep in a Google Doc, choosing the one that appeals to me most in that moment. I add ideas to the list at random points throughout the day; my ideas are inspired by observations, conversations, thoughts I have when reading other things, and basically anything under the sun.
If I didn’t keep a list and had to think of ideas on the spot when I decide to write, I’d spend more time racking my brain than typing.
[I used “decide to” rather than “want to” because here is a tip within a tip: though writing is a passion for most of us, we must discipline ourselves to flex the muscle regularly to keep it strong.]
Distinguish Writing from Editing
Writing a rough draft equates to brainstorming for me; I (try to) write everything down without filtering myself. When I re-open a rough draft to start editing, I delete, move around, and polish my words. The mental processes of writing and editing differ for me. Writing is creating; editing is perfecting.
When I write the first draft, I know perfectly well as I type most things that they don’t sound right and will have to be altered. The key to powering through a rough draft, for me, is to resist my type-A urge to edit as I write. Instead of focusing on the way things sound, I try to tap into all my thoughts about what I’m writing and just let them pour out.
I hinder my imagination and halt the flow of my thoughts when I stop every few seconds, hold down Backspace, and just sit there, pondering exactly how I should phrase a sentence. It is so much easier to perfect something than to create perfection out of nothing.
Also, our brains chew on the things we read, watch, write, etc. A person who writes a speech a week before giving it will (usually) be better prepared than one who procrastinates on writing it until the night before because the first person has extra time for contemplation. I recently gave the message at another church and chose to reuse a sermon I gave at my own church back in March. I wound up reworking the whole message because my thoughts on the scripture had further developed since that time. I feel that the reworked version was more insightful, penetrating, and convicting than the first version.
Giving my mind the time and space to mull over words I write in the rough draft actually heightens my proficiency in polishing my thoughts.
In summary, keeping a running list of ideas and distinguishing writing from editing are two blogging methods that enable me to bang out rough drafts without restricting my creativity.
Thanks for reading! What does your writing/editing process look like? Do you keep a list of ideas? Let me know in the comments. 🙂