How You Can Make Your Writing Twice as Fast by Making It 3x More Time-Consuming; Wait, What?!

Posted By Guest Blogger 23rd of October 2014 Writing Content 0 Comments

This is a guest contribution from Karol K. You can read the first post in this series “The Power of TK in Content Writing and How it Can Help You” here.

Imagine yourself in the following scenario…

It’s a normal Tuesday and you decide to write a blog post. You start confidently with a blank screen, and after a minute or so, the first sentence is ready. But almost immediately there’s a problem.

“No, this doesn’t sound right,” you start thinking, so you correct a couple of words and read it back again. “Okay, this is better!”

Now you can†proceed to†the next sentence.

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Does this sound like you?

More importantly, do you see anything wrong with this scenario?

(Hint: the answer is yes.)

The big problem here is that trying to write and edit at the same time†results only in†prolonging the whole content creation process significantly.

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Better solution?

1) Write first.

2) Edit later.

3) Proofread even after that.

Yep, crafting a quality blog post is†a three-part process. And the absolute best solution is doing each part on a separate day.

Although it sounds counterintuitive (after all, why take three days to write a post if you can do it in just one), it does work. And it works exceptionally well.

Here’s why.

Writing and editing are two extremely different activities. Writing is 80 percent (give or take) creativity and 20 percent craftsmanship. Editing is the opposite.

Now, trying to do both at the same time forces you to switch between two different mindsets multiple times over. And even though you might be effective at each individual activity (editing or writing), it’s the switching that takes time, confuses you and costs you energy.

You will always be much more effective and much faster focusing on just one kind of task at a time.

Granted, I know that it’s much easier said than done and that editing as we write is a huge temptation. It feels like a†natural thing to do, even though it works against us. So here are 3†hacks†to help you write in peace, not disturbed by any editing urges:

1)

Don’t go back to re-read what you’ve just written. It’s a soft form of limiting your creativity and it slows you down significantly. Even if you end up writing the same paragraph twice by accident, it’s still something you can fix during the editing phase.

2)

Make†the red spellcheck underline your friend. The underlined words shouldn’t annoy you. They should be a testament to your creative method of†writing! Don’t correct them right away.

3)

Backspace is the one forbidden key on the†keyboard. Don’t erase, just write.

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At the end of the day, I guarantee that you will be much more satisfied having written two unedited 1000-word articles, than ending up with†just one edited article†that’s 800 words.

Or am I wrong?

Karol K. (@carlosinho) is a freelance writer, published author, founder of NewInternetOrder.com and a blogger at Bidsketch.com (delivering some cool freelance blogging and writing tools, advice and resources just like what you’re reading now). Whenever he’s not working, Karol likes to spend time training Capoeira and enjoying life.

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Comments
  1. Awesome. Now I’ve learnt what I’ve been doing wrong and how to correct them in just 3 steps
    Actually, when I saw the title, I said “this’s a post am gonna read twice to absorb it fully”
    Thanks Karol for such a wonderful article

  2. Great ideas! I have started writing the post on my phone, waiting a few days and then reading over and editing it. Seems to work well for me.

  3. The better solution is my best answer to my problem for ages.

    I love blogging but writing posts is harder than I thought because we need to make sure the content and grammar are correct and meaningful.

    So I write and edit until the process does prolong my time and increase my panic.
    Now, I can write peacefully as these 3 steps below open my mind and heart.

    1) Write first.
    2) Edit later.
    3) Proofread even after that.

    Thank you!

    • I was experiencing the same problem a while ago. Really, writing and editing at the same time is the least productive approach possible.

  4. Great tips, the logic behind them is sound but it’s not something I would have realised if you hadn’t shared this. I know that I will be really challenged when I try this out however I am going to try this method. Wish me luck :)

    • It does sound a bit counterintuitive, I agree. After all, why would you want to do something in three attempts, when you can do it in just one, right?

      But once you try it, it really does work.

  5. Great writing tips discussed here, I feel once the thought process starts flowing don’t impede it by trying to fix minor corrections which should be left for final editing.

    • Exactly! It’s really really easy to break your concentration and lose the flow of writing by distracting yourself on editing.

  6. Good tips. I myself have been starting that method for two months now. I can see the difference now. I become more productive in writing. Hope it will continue.

  7. Nice tricks for creative writing. I love the idea of not editing and going back at the time of writing. At that stage one must write and write. Editing at that stage will result in forgetting the ideas.

    • That’s, unfortunately, true. It’s very easy to get distracted when you’re writing. This inner urge to edit is probably the biggest creativity killer.

  8. Great writing tips discussed here, I feel once the thought process starts flowing don’t impede it by trying to fix minor correctioGreat writing tips discussed here, I feel once the thought process starts flowing don’t impede it by trying to fix minor corrections which should be left for final editing.ns which should be left for final editing.

    • That’s exactly the case. Editing yourself while you’re writing is a very unproductive thing to do.

  9. Virtually every blogger struggles with writing 1,000 + blog posts daily and proofreading them to make sure they sound politically correct. Thank you for discussing this topics because it now shows everyone struggles with it and it’s no longer a silent issue.

    • Yep, writing becomes so much quicker once you stop editing and just allow yourself to continue without thinking about the typos and other issues.

  10. #1: “Don’t go back to re-read what you’ve just written. It’s a soft form of limiting your creativity and it slows you down significantly. Even if you end up writing the same paragraph twice by accident, it’s still something you can fix during the editing phase.” is obviously listed at that spot for a reason!

    This has been a very hard habit for me to break over the years.

    I’m much better now that I have compartmentalized most everything in my brain and in my work, but when that spell checker highlights a word…

    AHHHHHHH!

    Thanks for the post!

    God bless,

    – James

  11. Great post Karol, this is one of the basics of writing. When sitting down to write, we should do exactly that – just write and let it all pour out. The editing comes later!

  12. Agree with you, write write write and edit and proofread later, editing while writing is a nightmare.
    No ideas coming, stress may appear.

    • Exactly, when you start editing while you’re still writing, the only thing that will happen is you stopping the flow of new ideas.

  13. Very interesting article. I’ll definitely use these tips to write my next blog see if its working.

  14. Hi Darren,

    I’ve written over 25 ebooks now, and had some success at Amazon and elsewhere. The only way to write is, get it down and don’t stop. Re-think sentences only after you’re done. Just make sure you get it out of your head and into the computer.

    BTW, the post is hosed up, it’s all center-justified. Or maybe that was the intent, but honestly, it looks horrible. Then there is some weird character stuff showing up… I’ll tweet you about it.

    Cheers!

  15. Honestly, this is my major problem. Rereading and editing my write-ups at the same time really consumed my time and energy, and the worst thing, I often ended up having nothing at the end of the day.

    • I agree, ending up with nothing to show for an entire day’s worth of work is probably the biggest problem with editing while you’re writing.

  16. Hi Karol and Problogger team,

    Thanks for the post. I know I did post a comment 2 days ago regarding how thankful I was to find these 3 tips.

    Talking without action is nothing.
    So I tried the tips last night on my blog and these tips do work!
    Thank you so much.

  17. Aside from the centered text formatting making my eyes go batty,some great points. Most people miss/forget/avoid proofreading and editing and end up missing the opportunity to make their content better. Karol makes a point here that is great from a productivity standpoint.

    Get the content ideas out first – then come back and do the cleanup later. I had a high school writing teacher teach me this and it has been effective to this day. Write your piece and let it sit for a day before you come back to proofread it.

    • Like you’re saying, it’s working very effectively. I guess the only downside is that sometimes you end up cutting 20-40% of text from the draft during this sort of editing.

  18. Writing is the hardst thing to do for me…. I know my english is not so good but I always try to do my best to get the atention of my audience but I always have a hard time doing so…

    I still don’t know what my problem is…. is it my imagination or is my poor english… Well Darren I am following you cuz I believe I can find a solution here to my problem

    • I wouldn’t say that English is a big problem. What’s most important, at least in my case, is good discipline when writing. Once you really adapt the habit of writing first and editing later, things will fall into place.

  19. Such a great post. Very effective technique.

  20. my style : writing first after that go to editing

  21. Hello Karol,

    Absolutely great post, I used to write articles by correcting sentences immediately. That was taking a lot of time and energy also. Once, my friend advised me to change writing style and gave me your posts link. After that I have decided to share your method and experiment gone right. I hugely cut time cost and now texts is better quality than previously too.

    Many thanks to you,

    1) Write first.
    2) Edit later.
    3) Proofread even after that.
    (!!!)

    • Great! I’m glad it’s working out for you. From my own experience, I can add that it’s a great long-term approach … it never gets boring or less effective.

  22. This is great advice. I find that it stopping to read what I have written really breaks my flow of thoughts. I always write the entire post and then go back and add links and correct any errors. It really does work.

    • For me personally, it was a big surprise to see how much faster I can write without worrying about the minor errors along the way. Editing really should be done on a separate occasion. When you’re writing, write.

  23. Chukwuma Ikonne says: 10/29/2014 at 5:49 am

    Great advise…although I tend to prefer writing shorter posts so as not to scare people off with the volume of reading required.

    • Thanks! Shorter posts can benefit too from this approach of writing first and editing later. There’s no exceptions. :)

  24. I’d add one tip to the above: don’t worry about writing your introduction until the very end, after you’ve proofread and tweaked everything else.

    Although we all agonize about having that perfect killer lead-in sentence, it’s not until you finish writing the post that you *really* know what message you’re trying to communicate to your readers. I’ve used this technique for years while editing client’s blog posts and have only recently started using it in my own writing.

    • That’s interesting. I’ve had “some” success with this method but not a lot. I mean, it isn’t fail-proof for me. Sometimes I’m able to write a much better intro when I start the whole post with it – it sets the pace and gets me in the right mindset for the rest of the post.

  25. I agree that sometimes a quick short post to the point conveys much meaning, bit often times it is hard to find the balance of how much is to little, and how much is too much, I guess 2-3 main points in post with good information should help

  26. Sounds good. I never tried this way, probably it works better than expecting. Hope, I can try this way next time and can improve the whole approach. Thanks Karol

  27. This is something that I HAVE to work on. I self edit as I write and this would really help if I used an editorial calender so I could start having a 3 day edit process to my posts. It would really help me as well in crafting posts that would drive traffic.

    • Having an editorial calendar would surely be helpful. It would help you stay on track and keep an eye on your writing and editing tasks.