A simple way to write faster and better 

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“Don’t edit while you write” we are told. Get the words out of your head and down on paper without concern for clarity, grammar, usage, or spelling. Get your critical mind out of the way and write. Edit later.

It’s good advice and no doubt you follow it to some extent. It improves the quality and speed of your writing, especially if you feel stuck and don’t know what to say.

Someone once summarized this advice by saying, “Write drunk, edit sober.” I offer no comment on whether this advice should be followed literally but research confirms the value of doing something similar:

Write while groggy.

Apparently, we are more creative when we are sleepy. I assume that’s because our critical mind is less engaged, allowing us to write a first draft (or solve problems, as was done in the research) more quickly and easily.

So, if you’re usually slower in the morning, that’s when you might want to get some words on paper. Especially before you have that first cup of coffee. If you tire in the afternoon, you might try writing later in your day.

Are there other ways to “turn off” our critical mind without being sleepy or drunk or using willpower?

I think so.

I often put on headphones and listen to brain.fm to help me focus. Sometimes, I listen to regular music (new age or classical, thank you.) Sometimes, I listen to talk radio while writing, letting the voices blend into the background. This morning, I had a news video playing while writing this. Writing in a coffee shop does the same thing for many people.

I also get first drafts done by dictating into my phone on my walk or when I’m in the car.

What do you do to turn off your critical mind?

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How to write faster than you thought possible

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I wrote the first draft of yesterday’s blog post in 5 minutes. I also wrote the first draft of today’s post in 5 minutes.

If you want to write faster, here’s how to do it:

STEP ONE: CHOOSE YOUR TOPIC

Choose a topic you know well. If you need to research your subject, do it before you sit down to write.

What do you want to write about? What point do you want to convey? Write down your topic.

My topic yesterday was, “How to promote an event or offer”.

STEP TWO: TURN IT INTO A QUESTION

Take the topic and turn it into a question. Why? Because when it is in question form, your subconscious mind gets to work and searches for answers. The question primes your mental pump and the words start flowing.

My question was, “How can I promote an offer or event?”

STEP THREE: WRITE DOWN 3 “SEED WORDS

Think of three words related to your topic. Whatever comes to mind. These may change as you start writing but these 3 words will help you start.

My seed words yesterday were, “Excitement,” “Urgency,” and “Repetition”. They became the three points I wrote about to answer the topic question.

STEP FOUR: WRITE NON-STOP FOR 5 MINUTES

Set a timer and write. Don’t stop to correct spelling or do any editing. Just write, as quickly as you can, until the timer goes off.

I’ve heard that most people who do this will write between 200 and 400 words in 5 minutes, and that’s what I did. When the timer sounded yesterday, I had written 269 words.

The 5 minutes flew by for me. I had more to say so I continued writing for roughly another two minutes.

STEP FIVE: EDIT

Using this method, you will probably find that your first draft is quite good and won’t require a lot of editing. I found that to be true.

I did some cutting, added a thought or two, edited, and changed the title. Total time from start to finish was around 20 minutes. That included time to make notes about what I was doing, in preparation for today’s post.

Not too shabby.

By the way, although this method is meant for writing short pieces, you could also use it to write longer pieces. Yep, in 5 minute increments.

So, how many posts, articles, and emails could you write if you use this method to write your first draft in 5 minutes?

Why not try it and find out?

Need ideas for topics? Get this 

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