Do you hate to write? Does it take you a long time to get the words on the page? Usually, when people struggle to write, it’s because they are trying to edit as they go along. There is an easier way to write and be more creative!
Step 1 – Write
It’s hard to be creative if you’re editing at the same time. When you begin your writing project don’t think about word choices or punctuation. Just write. Don’t read your work. Just write. It will be difficult at first because you will be tempted to make changes. Resist the temptation! Just write. You’ll find that thoughts and ideas start flowing once you stop editing. When you’ve finished writing put it away for a couple of days. When you take it out, become the editor and start making your changes.
Step 2 – Edit
Read through your work, then mark the parts you want to change or revise. Focus in on the paragraphs, sentences, and words that need revision. Get more specific with each round of edits. Read the piece again, then focus in on specific passages, sentences, paragraphs that you want to shape up. When you’re finished, read the entire piece again.
Now would be a good time to use the spell checker. However, don’t depend on it to catch all of the errors. If you write “your” and you really meant “you’re” the spell checker won’t catch it. It’s not a misspelled word. Unless your spell checker points out commonly confused words, it won’t find the problem.
Step 3 – Listen
Satisfied with your changes? Read your work out loud so that you’ll be more likely to catch missing words, incorrect tenses or repetitive phrases. It will also allow you to catch places where perhaps a word can be changed to a more appropriate one, or a sentence can be reworked so that it flows better. Make additional revisions and read it again.
If time permits, put your work away for another day or two. Give yourself some distance from the work, so when you read it again you’ll be less likely to be filling in words or meanings that aren’t there. You’ll be able to see it as though you were reading it for the first time. If possible have someone else read it and give you feedback. Perhaps another “pair of eyes” will find that a thought or concept isn’t coming across as you intended.
You know what you want to say, but that doesn’t mean that your readers will get it. Having someone else read the work will give you another perspective. In fact, it would be better to have a few people read it, especially if your work will be presented to a large audience. Take the feedback and determine what makes sense and what doesn’t. For instance, if the majority of your feedback mentions a specific issue, pay attention.
Allow yourself to write whatever comes to mind without editing. Let your ideas flow and you’ll see how easy it is to get your words on the page.