A lightning-speed draft: 10 Tips for fast draft writing
1. Lose grammar
Don’t bother putting together well-constructed sentences. Just string words together to create content, and worry about form later on.
2. Don’t look back
The best way to tangle yourself up with completely unimportant decisions for hours on end, is to edit your text while you’re writing it.
3. Write your fixes
Tip #2 may sound a bit impractical. What if you suddenly realize that your last few sentences have led you to a dead end? Or you’ve forgotten to make an important point three paragraphs earlier? Simply write down your thoughts, and move on. If you want to start over, simply mark it with ‘***’ and keep going forward.
4. Use short sentences
Writing a long paragraph can take time. Not just for writer but also for reader.
5. Use bullets
Bullets are great for speed-writing. They allow you to toss in disjointed thoughts at random order, and worry about arranging and connecting them later on.
6. Use simple words
Forget your arsenal of fancy vocabulary. Later on you can furnish language, searching for just the right word for the particular undertone you wish to convey. Remember that the first draft should be all about broad strokes, not subtle ornamentation.
7. Use abbreviations, acronyms and codes
Get used to writing abbreviations (like ‘sth’ for ‘something’ or ‘vid’ for video) and acronyms (like like CW for ‘CreativityWise’). Even if you type really fast, this habit will speed you up considerably. It will also help you avoid fancy language in your drafts.
8. Turn off your phone, unplug your internet
For some of you, this is surely the most impractical and annoying advice in this post. What if something important happens and I’m not reachable to respond?
Remember that the whole point is to be working FAST – so all we’re talking about here is 20-30 minutes of unplugged quietness. It really makes a huge difference in your ability to focus.
9. Go to the loo before you begin
Sorry if this sounds too silly, but when nature calls it’s no less distracting than when your mother-in-law calls. If the secret of fast draft writing is focus and flow, then not even your own body should be allowed to interrupt.
10. Use a simple editor
Here’s a surprising piece of truth: word processors are really awful writing tools. They are excellent, amazing, phenomenal tools for editing; but they suck for writing, because they’re just mind-bogglingly distracting! They offer way too many options for stuff that isn’t purely writing: choosing fonts, designing headlines, finding synonyms, fixing grammar and spelling mistakes in one click (that’s one too many clicks!) and so on. I use the Q10 writer, which you can download for free here. If you’re using an iPad, try the iA Writer.
BONUS! Speed tip #11: Write in a series of short bursts
If you’re anything like me, a countdown clock starting with as little as 15 minutes will get you going like a demon. (Q10 actually has an internal countdown clock for exactly that reason). Here’s an online 15 minutes counter you can use straight away. Try it!
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