I often hear authors and instructors encourage writers to write quickly. They say things such as:
- Just get your thoughts down.
- Produce a crappy first draft.
- Write first; edit later.
- Let your words spew forth without evaluation.
- Don’t do any editing until you finish your rough draft.
Their goal is speed
Given the number of people advocating such things, it seems this is how everyone should write. I comprehend the logic of this approach, but it doesn’t work for me—and it may not be right for you, either.
When I write, I write carefully. I compose a sentence, a paragraph, or more as the words flow. Then I pause. I take a pensive breath and write the next section with intention, repeating this process until I am done.
Then I read and fine-tune the completed piece. When the words are as I want them to be, I spell-check and then proofread using text-to-speech software. I do a final spellcheck, and I am done. This editing, tweaking, and proofing phase doesn’t usually take too much time.
My goal is quality—on the first pass
It may take me a bit longer to write, but there’s a lot less editing on the back end. I like that.
People who write quickly produce a rough draft; people who write carefully produce the first drafts. Rough drafts require a lot of editing; first drafts usually need much less.
I prefer to invest more time writing in order for editing to go faster. Overall, this quality first approach takes me less time.