Prewriting (#4 of 6 Tools to Get You Writing)

#4 of 6 tools to get you writing instead of whimpering in the fetal position on the closet floor.

Another mistake we make is to assume that what flows from our pen must be finished product. Logically, we know this makes no sense. There’s always a bit of re-writing before the proofreading and editing. We would never expect others to deliver perfection without practice.

Whether it’s the next chapter in your novel or a page of marketing copy for your website, it can help to sit down and intentionally scribble the ugliest, roughest draft you can imagine. Make it your plan to write something so simple, so messy, so basic, so ugly, that you can’t possibly use it. This is just a note to yourself about what you’re planning to think about considering writing.

This is much like the trick I use to get myself to do household chores. If a picture needs hanging, next time I see the hammer I lay it on the floor where the picture is to be hung. Then when I run across the box of nails, I set that in place. If the picture needs a hanger attached to it, that goes in the pile as well. Eventually I walk past, look at this instant picture hanging kit sitting on the floor, and realize that it will take almost no effort to finish the task. It gets done.

The hardest part about writing is writing. Not the polishing, the formatting, the editing. Just starting. Just putting down the few words that say what we really mean.

Prewriting is a way to start ugly and simple and just get something down on paper.

Once the task is started, sometimes the compulsion to continue is overwhelming.

That’s okay too.

Up next: SMART Goals

2 thoughts on “Prewriting (#4 of 6 Tools to Get You Writing)

  1. Thank you, I needed to read this. I just had this same discussion with another author and she pointed out that my trying to write a fresh scene full of polished dialog and description was insane. So thank you for reminding me. I’m totally going to try to sketch out the ugly first and at least HAVE it on paper to come back to and polish later.

    1. It’s not easy. What makes it harder is that when you do get a scene just right on the first try, we fool ourselves that that’s how it’s supposed to work.

      When we read the books we love we fall into the trap of seeing the finished product as if it came straight from the author’s brain to their fingers.

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