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© Ugur Akinci
Writing is rewriting. That’s true. But the better you write, more enjoyable and productive the rewrite will be.
And here’s my rule for writing well the first time: whether it’s a novel, ad copy, movie review, or a user’s guide, try to write AS FAST AS YOU CAN.
You do your research and do your thinking. But once you start writing, DO NOT STOP!
Once you get the juices flowing, don’t cut that flow. Because you never know when the muse will visit you again. It might be the very next minute. And yet, it might be never.
So when you feel the winds of imagination filling your sails, rock on and sail as far away as you can. It’s a gift and privilege. Make the most of it and enjoy the juice.
Then, when you feel the winds calming down, go back and take a look at what you’ve written.
Sometimes part of what you’ve produced will not stand the scalpel of a cool-headed editor. Be your own editor. Cut such parts out without mercy. Or rewrite and polish them.
Take out a sentence. Put in another. Change and combine paragraphs. Or split them in new combinations. Insert new metaphors. Delete analogies that do not hold water. Split long winding sentences into multiple shorter ones. Be true and honest to yourself. Be your own ruthless reader.
But whatever you do, when you’re just writing the first draft, do NOT stop at every sentence, at every word and do NOT think hard and deep whether it is the right word, phrase, sentence or not. That’s going to kill the flow of your prose. It’s going to stifle your voice and crimp your style. That muscle of original ideas will never flex hard and fast and become a pair of Schwarzenegger biceps if you second guess yourself every step of the way.
Ernest Hemingway is credited with the famous dictum (with due apologies to my readers) that “the first draft of everything is s**t!”
That may well be true. But unless you create that first draft in a hurry, without censoring yourself, you’ll never have any rich material to work with for the other drafts.
Fearless writers are not afraid to run as fast as they can and, once in a while, to fall on their faces. But those who get up and run over and over again one day become the long distance runners or sprinters that we all admire.
Raw running comes first. Technique and excellence follows as a byproduct.
(An excerpt from my book 101 Ways to Power-Up Your Writing )