Monday, April 11

Don’t Think, Just Write!

Back in New Zealand, I would often tell the members of my writing group, 'Don't think, just write!' Then I would confiscated their phones and start playing Angry Birds.

Writers spend far too much time mulling over ideas – or lack thereof – and worrying about their wording. They let their inner editor come out, sit on their shoulder and nibble at their ear, while they stare at a blank page.

Plenty of writers are idealists. I know I'm one of them. Caught up in the vision of the perfection they want to achieve, they're afraid to step into the muddy puddles to build the foundation for their story. They use their lack of inspiration as an excuse not to write, and squeeze their sleepy brain at the temples to try and get the creative juices flowing.

Does this process actually work? Well, I'm going to go ahead and say...no. Some people might not agree. Hey, perhaps that inner editor will whisper perfect sentences into your ear, but the thing that a lot of people forget is that a first draft is not meant to be perfect. They're afraid of writing something that is utter rubbish.

I have written a lot of rubbish. I've also written plenty of good things, and I've managed to rewrite the rubbish into something fab. The thing about rewriting is...you need something to work with first. It's like trying to make a sculpture out of thin air and wishing. You need that lump of clay first, and it's going to be hard, but you just need to get your hands messy and go for it.

All right, enough with the metaphors, I think you get the point. After all, 'Easier said than done.'

Absolutely. You didn't think I'd tell you to go forth and just write without a little help, did you?

The best tool for the 'Don’t think, just write!' strategy is Write or Die. It is a free online tool. which will help you to get words down at such a pace that your inner editor won't be able to keep up. Give it a chance, it has a wonderful success rate.

As a final thought, I leave you with this wonderful excerpt from a scene in the movie, 'Finding Forrester.' If you haven’t seen it, I recommend you seek it out.

William: Is there a problem?

Jamal: No. I'm just thinking.

William: No thinking. That comes later. You write your first draft...with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is...to write. Not to think.

2 comments:

Trisha said...

I am totally of the "don't think, just write" school. Thinking is for later, when you've actually written something and now need to edit ;)

Emma Michaels said...

SO TRUE! Now if only I wasn't on the editing part and was back at the write, write and write part. Luckily I am pushing through.
Love your posts as always!!!