At least to begin with. Set a timer, start writing and write without looking back, censoring or editing.

Why? To keep the flow of your thoughts, access deeper parts of your subconscious and to prevent the nagging of that internal editor.

Writing in a continuous stream allows the words to pour onto the page/screen. Even if they appear not to be making any sense, for a first draft it doesn’t matter. In fact, it’s better. Allowing the writing to find its own direction will help you develop your voice. It stops you worrying about rules of grammar and phrasing and “correctness” that can stifle creativity and force a style that isn’t necessarily your own. Your writing will have a smoother flow – even if at this stage it may not make much sense!

When we write without continuously stopping to revise and rewrite we begin to dig below the surface and may access memories, thoughts and feelings that are not initially apparent. Writing “forward” drags our minds further and further into the writing. You dive into  that wonderful dimension where real time and space no longer exist and you’re living with your words and your characters, completely immersed in the story you are telling. Go with this, don’t try to swim against the tide of your writing. Let it take you wherever it wants to go. And enjoy the experience.

If we stop and re-read our words too often one thing is inevitable: the editor is our head will start picking it to pieces. That’s garbage. Why did you use that word there? Have a look at the clichés all over the place? And you think you’re a writer? And worse, of course. If you keep on writing without looking back that annoying voice will not get the chance to speak. The last thing you want when you’re beginning to write is anybody telling you not to bother, especially yourself. You have to be your own champion. You have to be the one in charge. Don’t even open the door to the critic when you’re drafting – there’ll be plenty of opportunity for him/her to speak up later.

So set the timer, pick up a pen and write. And much as you can for as long as you are able.

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