Friday, July 06, 2007


For the longest time I wanted to be a Science Fiction and Fantasy writer (to an extent I still do). And I'd like to say that I took a pretty good swing at it, and though I never did finish my novel I did learn a lot about how I write most effectively. At the moment I working on a side project which involves writing some provisional patents and interestingly enough the things I learned back in the day when I was working on a novel have just as much bearing on writing a patent. Before I pat myself on the back too much I should mention that I wasted a couple of days being mostly ineffective before I remembered what I already knew.

See my writing problem is that by default I try and write and revise at the same time. If asked, I'm certain I would deny that I'm trying to do the final draft in a single pass, but that's how I end up operating. What I discovered when I was working on my novel and what I rediscovered now that I'm working on the patents, is that it's much more effective to take 15-30 minutes and just write as fast as you can. As long as words are getting on the page you're doing great, forget about word order, misspellings, grammar, etc. Just get some version of what you're thinking down on paper.

Now of course this first vomitous draft is going to be pretty bad (though not as bad as you might fear), so that's when the revision starts, but we're still no where near the final draft stage. You're going to go through many passes over this stuff, each time you'll be doing a little less writing, and a little more editing. Now it may seem like doing all of these passes will end up taking way more time than just doing it right on the first pass, but at least for me, it's not so much an issue of which takes longer, but rather that the first ends up erecting an insurmountable wall that I never manage to get over.

Mmmmm.... Meat Twinkie...


Anonymous hallamigo said...

So how many passes do your blog entries get? ;)

2:53 PM  
Blogger aozora said...

I know nothing of technical writing but for me fiction, opinion and general reporting all seem to benefit with a ripening period out of site until I can review with "fresh" eyes.

7:05 PM  

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