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Getting the words down. posted 09 April 2004 in Writing TipsGetting the words down. by Euron, Commoner

I've been into writing (at least in theory!) for a while and I'm always interested in how people go about actually getting their stories onto paper - habits and tricks to avoid the agony of writer's block etc.

At first I used to feel quite a lot of pressure to make my first draft as good as I possibly could. I'd type a sentence and then fiddle with it for a while until I liked it. This just didn't work at all as it made my volume of output depressingly feeble and it also made the whole process painful (and therefore very easy to avoid with excuses).

Then I read somewhere that it can be much easier to try to separate the creative aspect of writing (coming up with ideas) from the analytical (making it all work and sound good). This made enormous sense to me as these two ways of thinking are really different and I had been trying to do them at the same time.

So now, for my first draft, I just write whatever comes into my head - almost deliberately making it bad! No editing. I use a pen and paper as well (condemning myself to some massively dull typing later) to avoid the temptation of easy editing. Obviously I still try to write well, but even if I know that a sentence is poor and has zero chance of surviving as I'm writing it, I try not to worry too much. If there's a tricky part I'm not quite sure how to phrase - I just write straight through it and worry later. For me, it makes the process more fun and I'm able to produce quite a lot of words to bolster my morale!

Obviously, many of those words need to be smothered in their beds when I look at them again later, but a lot can be polished up. And a few emerge just as I want them first time, perhaps in a way I wouldn't have achieved if I'd been using the stiffer old technique.

When I go back later with my analytical hat on, it's much easier and more fun to assess something that already exists.

Anyway, I'd be interested to hear if other people write in a similar way, or about any other habits people have to help them get down to the business of writing. view post


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