Shifting back and forth wastes time and energy. Even worse, it provides an opening for editor in your head (who hates everything) to seize control. Most productive writers separate the act of drafting and the act of editing. As Casey Wyatt says in her blog,"I can fix it later."
If you don't loop, don't start. If you have a habit of looping, it can be tough to break. Here are a few suggestions:
- Give yourself permission to write badly. Do this every day for at least a week. Remember, it can always be fixed later on.
- Join a writing sprint (as Casey does), race against a timer, or use a forced march program like Write or Die! Some of my students have also found it useful to shrink their text editing windows down so they can only see a line or two at a time.
- Keep you forward momentum (and avoid distracting research) by inserting a word or symbol whenever the exactly right word, number or fact doesn't come readily to mind. For years, I have put the word "bagel" into my texts, and then searched for the bagels. (Luckily, I don't write about food.) I heard Jenna Kernan speak recently, and I was delighted to hear she uses the same technique, inserting asterisks (***).
- Use a dictation program. I use Dragon Dictate for at least half my drafting. It works better for nonfiction than fiction, but it still is faster than typing for me. And it is almost impossible to loop when you are dictating.
Do you loop? Do you have a trick to stop yourself?