Don’t Edit While You Write


Don’t edit while you write! This sounds like quite a simple editing tip, but it’s one that can make a huge impact on your writing efficiency and even quality if you can master it.

Basically, stop second-guessing yourself or thinking about the end product as you write. Just put the words on the page. You can write more quickly this way, you generally get more of your ideas out, and you will have more time to edit at the end. Here are a few ways to encourage this style of writing:

  • Turn off your monitor. It might sound scary, (Think of all the misspelled words you can’t see!) but it can short-circuit the tendency we all have to backtrack and derail when we see mistakes.
  • Write with a timer. Use a loud one. The ticking is a reminder to focus on the task at hand: putting words to paper. Set yourself a goal such as, “I will write this blog in 30 minutes,” and start the timer.
  • Put issues on hold. If you know there’s something wrong with a sentence or paragraph—maybe you used the word “awesome” too many times—put “XX” next to it in big capital letters as you write. Then, keep going. The mark is a promise to yourself to fix it later, and it allows your brain to let go and move on to the next part.
  • Write as fast as you can. Our fingers can’t keep up with our brains, but the harder we try, the less time we have to get distracted or find mistakes.

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