Write Quickly—Then edit

by John Clayton

When you sit down to write a business document, do the words come too slowly? As you flesh out the first draft of a report, do you continually backtrack to fix grammar and spelling? Does your search for better phrasing stop your thinking in its tracks? Does your belief that each sentence must be perfect before you can go on to the next make writing a slow, torturous process?

Writing that never gains momentum is a common problem. But the problem does have a solution.

Peter Elbow, the author of Writing with Power, believes that writing in any format involves an inherent conflict. He distinguishes between the productive instinct and the editorial instinct, noting that writing requires both.

For example, you ...

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