Don’t let the editor in
When I started writing this piece, I wasn’t sure how to spell Robert Cormier’s last name, and I didn’t know what he’d written. But if I’d stopped writing long enough to hunt down his credentials and to confirm that Cormier isn’t spelled with a “U,” I would have made the transition from writer to editor.
When you’re freewriting, don’t stop to look up or correct anything. The minute you do, the left side of the brain wins out, and you have to start all over again the process of getting into writing mode.
Instead, lock the editor out and let the writer create. Then you’ll have something worth revising.
Fix it later.
When you write instead of editing, your copy will sound like you: fresh, fast, fascinating. When you edit instead of writing, your copy will sound like that: sluggish, inert, torpid.
So how do you keep the editor at bay? When you’re freewriting, don’t go back to read a sentence, paragraph or section you’ve just written. Instead, just write the next one and the next one and the next.
After you’ve finished writing the section you’ve assigned yourself and taken a break, then it makes sense to reread what you wrote in your previous writing session. At that point, you might even do a little tweaking (though not wholesale rewriting) before you move on to the next section.
So during freewriting, don’t worry about mistakes. Use a dash instead of a semicolon, write “you’re” when you mean “your” — even misspell the CEO’s name. You can always go back and fix your mistakes later, during rewriting.
What you can’t do is go back and breathe life into a stillborn draft — a draft that never really got written in the first place.
Polish your writing skills.
Want to master the art of writing better, easier and faster? Read “Block Busters: More than two dozen ways to break through writer’s block and get words on paper — now.”