My favourite trick for maintaining a flow of writing

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There are lots of ways we can (sometimes inadvertently) ‘hijack’ our writing, and one is by insisting on only writing the perfect word or the perfect sentence before we allow ourselves to move on. ARGH!

If you are trying to write a story, then surely you need to let the story move. And if you get bogged down by every sentence, then you might never finish. Or worse, you might end up with something that is stilted and doesn’t flow. I strongly believe that first you need a story, and then you can spend time perfecting your words. So write down all your ideas as quickly as you can, and then polish in the revision stage.

I’ll let you into a little secret. If I am seeing a scene flashing through my head and am desperately trying to capture it on paper, then the last thing I want to let myself do is become stalled. So if I have trouble thinking of the perfect word (and that happens often), I substitute it with ‘xx’, and then come back to it later. That way I don’t interrupt the flow.

Using ‘xx’ is also useful if I can’t remember something to do with continuity – such as a minor character’s name or place name that I know I’ve referred to before. My trick for that is to keep a separate document where I list all of the characters and places for that book/series, but again, don’t even look at the list when you’re in a flow – use xx for now! It is easier and better for time management to search for ‘xx’es and sort them out all at once at a later date.

I hope you find this useful! Just remember to do a search for ‘xx’ before you finalise your manuscript 🙂

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2 thoughts on “My favourite trick for maintaining a flow of writing

  1. Pingback: What Was Your Favorite Post You Wrote in 2015? | Emily Arden, author

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