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Writing Flow: Write Like There’s No Tomorrow. Then Edit

Steven 11 responses Blogging

How many times have you finished reading some blog post and you sit back and wonder, “What was that guy thinking?!” The article started out talking about how to use Pinterest and by the time you got to the end it was talking about Twitter. And somewhere in the middle he mentioned Facebook. If that sounds like your writing, here’s the answer: Write like there’s no tomorrow… then edit.

write like no tomorrow then edit

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Trust me. I know it’s going to be difficult to follow this advice. We all hate seeing typos on a page, and we have seeing run on sentences and mile-long paragraphs. And if you’re like me you like to keep reading over and over again to make sure everything flows. Your first reaction is always to hit that backspace key and edit, but that’s how you end up with jumbled content that just rambles around the page.

Each time you stop to edit you’re breaking your concentration. A blog post should lead the reader from Point A to Point B with no distractions along the way. Here’s what happens though when you stop to edit:

  • You skip steps in your How-To posts, steps your readers really need to know about. Without that step they can’t complete the process and you look like sloppy blogger.
  • You get all the steps in there but they’re out of order. Again, your reader can’t follow your directions and you lose credibility.
  • You get distracted and start rambling about whatever pops into your head. Your reader came to that blog post for an answer to one specific question. That’s all. If there’s too much other stuff on the page he goes away unsatisfied and you lose a reader.
  • You forget what you’ve already said and you don’t get everything into the post that your reader needs to know. Now you just look like a lazy blogger.

Instead of stopping to edit, just start writing. Start at Point A and walk your reader all the way to Point B without taking any detours along the way.

Your content will be much more cohesive and easier for readers to follow because you didn’t take detours along the way. Now, when your visitors read your How-Tos they’ll actually be able to follow the directions. You’ll look like a star!

You’ll also find that your posts are actually shorter and that’s not a bad thing. Too many bloggers think their posts have to be 1,000 words or more but if it’s not relevant to the conversation, who needs it? Your readers certainly don’t and you’re just wasting your time. Get to the point and be done with it.

Once you’re done writing, then go back and fix typos, add in formatting and straighten up the paragraphs to make everything look nice and pretty. But get your words on the page first, without any distractions. If you’re not distracted your readers won’t be either and everyone will be happier all around.

Now how do you actually make this work? Just sit down and start writing and write like there’s no tomorrow. Don’t look up. Don’t touch that backspace key. And don’t worry about it. You’re not carving it in stone. You can edit when you’re done writing.

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  1. Jason Parker

    Nice post…

    And I want to add something from personal experience as a writer and copywriter…

    This advice you’re giving isn’t just for blog posts.

    It’s mandatory for all writing.

    In fact, one way I can tell I haven’t done enough of research before writing is when it doesn’t come gushing out of me at an incredible rate.

    Know what I mean?

    When I find myself writing slowly and stopping to think, I know I haven’t prepped enough.

    As for editing… why would you want to edit when you’re in the zone?

    You can edit anytime but you’re not always in the zone, so you gotta take advantage of it.

    1. Thank you for your comment Jason!

      Actually, this advice is not only just for writers… You can apply it to any kind of creative work. When I was an architect, and doing sketches to get a project started, I was drawing tens if not hundreds of different sketches without looking back. When the creativity flow was slowing down, I was taking a step back and reviewing, editing…

  2. George From Seekdefo

    Hi Steven getting the rest of your name perfectly will take a little more time. However you’ve given me a very useful advice to meditate on. I hate hate hate typos and whenever i make them i stop to edit. But i never knew that these minor stops en route are killing my post. Thanks. Also i’ll get the post done earlier if i follow what you say.

    1. Hey George, I agree with you since I also hate typos, but writing and editing are 2 different tasks. You’ll save plenty of time by not jumping from one to the other.

  3. A post should be as long as it needs to be. There is no real requirement or rule for how long that is.

    People like to think there is but if your content is engaging and useful it won’t matter.

    Too many people edit the life out of their posts. If there is no personality or passion it just bores people and that kills blogs.

    1. Hey Josh, thanks for stopping by. That’s completely right, there is nothing like a “perfect blog post length”, yet I keep receiving emails asking me how long should a blog post be.

      I usually reply that the perfect length is the one that allows you to make your point. And people get disappointed because I don’t give them a hard number to work with. hehe

  4. Kulwant Nagi

    The same thing sometimes happen with me also. But now I am working to improve my skills. :)

    1. Good luck with that Kulwant. Wanting to improve is the key to getting better at being yourself :)

  5. I totally agree. I write my books this way too and it’s very important to have a good editor. I’m a bit of an ADD and don’t really have interest in my text after I’ve first written it. A 500-word blog post is still editable but nothing longer.

    “If it takes more than 10 minutes to create a piece of content, it’s rubbish.” – Bill Boorman

    1. I completely disagree with hard numbers like this. This is what makes people write pointless articles… If your article makes sense at 300 words, why would you write 500? If your post doesn’t mean anything at 500 words, why not going to 800 or 1000 or 5000?

  6. Sherry E.

    Thank you! A real eye opener. Gushing with info is the easy part putting it to words is hard. I will carry this information where ever I go.