It’s another Monday morning. You’ve had your cup of coffee, and you’re ready to write a post for your site. Off to a great start! But a few minutes in, and you find yourself stuck in the middle of things. Could it be just another case of writer’s block? Or is it something else?
A lot of the time, it could be the latter. It’s a distraction that plagues many a writer, especially in today’s era of advanced word processing software.
It’s a phenomenon called “editing while writing”.
It cuts the flow of thought from brain to screen. And once that flow is interrupted, it’s going to take much time to get back into it.
With modern software like Microsoft Word, or even one with a simpler interface like Apple’s Pages, editing functions are always right there, easily accessible in case you need them. Of course, this is a good thing when preparing a document for printing. It allows you to adjust spacing, margins, font size, etc. This is quite important if you want to reduce the number of pages needed for printing. It also lets you make the text more readable on paper. In addition, these editing functions let you insert graphics, control the flow of text around them, insert charts and graphs, captions for images, and many more. They’re quite useful when you need them.
But that’s the thing. They are only useful when you need them.
In web publishing, it’s a completely digital environment. You don’t need to print anything out. So you really do not need these extra editing features.
Most of the time, you’re just putting words onto the page. Even so, the editing functions are readily available, so you’re tempted to use them anyway. The result? You’re cut off from your flow of thought as you try your hardest to make the text look pretty. Even if the article is not even halfway done.
In turn, it takes you more time to get the article done. Once you have formatted down to the finest detail, you tell yourself “I’m ready to write again.” Truth is, you aren’t yet.
You’ll have to figure out a new flow of thought first, and that takes time.
Later on, writer’s block will hit you, paving the way for more distractions to take over. Since you can’t think of what to write next, you’d rather check emails, Facebook, or fiddle with your phone. Before you realise it, you’ve wasted nearly an hour mindlessly scrolling through the internet, producing nothing useful in the process.
Contrast that to what would happen if you had just kept on writing.
What would happen if you did not letting anything interrupt your flow of thought? You’d be done writing before you know it. It’s what happens when you’re in the flow state: your creativity just keeps you going on and on. Don’t mind the grammar, the choice of words, and sentence structures for now. It’ll be better for you in the long run.
Afterwards, your “finished product” may not be the best one yet. But because all the words you need to be there are already there, then it’s one step closer to being all done. This is where the editing comes in. At this point, feel free to correct grammatical errors, revise sentence structures, and change the words that don’t sound right.
This way, you’ll finish those articles a lot faster and more efficiently. Less stress, more work done in less time, and more time for other things that matter.
That’s why we should all write first, then edit later.
And while you’re at it, why not check out this short infographic on how you can get rid of writer’s block for good.
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