I was talking to another writer the other day about the differences between writing on a computer vs long hand. While we both agreed how much easier it is to edit and rewrite on the computer, we couldn’t decide if that was a good thing or bad because we both found that computers make it difficult to stick with an ancient writing truth that I formulate as “If you start to edit before you’re done writing, you’re done writing.”
Writing and editing are two different animals. They use different parts of the brain. Writing is a creative act. It demands a willingness to be open to any possibility, the freedom to move in any direction. It has a whole other sense to it than editing. Editing applies rules and critical thinking. It is a solid; creativity is fluid. Both are needed. They just can’t exist at the same time.
Creativity, or inspiration requires not giving into internal or external critical voices, like the ones that want to correct typos, Coaches and creative directors know this (or should).
That’s why in a creative coaching and brainstorming sessions, I create a “No Negativity Zone.” Responses to statements must be either neural or positive. No “noes”, “buts”, (even “yes, buts”), or “be practicals.” Practical is for later.
“Yes, ands...” are the preferred response. Anyone who can’t stay positive has to leave (or sit in a corner.) When a group sticks to the rules for 45 minutes to an hour, something magical can take place. The room takes on a different feel. One person begins an idea, and it bounces around the room like a beach ball until suddenly an idea, or direction appears that never would have occurred to anyone without people exchanging freely.
It’s often harder than it sounds and, for some, it’s just about impossible. You have to leave your ego aside because it can’t be about you. It’s not about right or wrong. There is no wrong and everything is possible... even if you misspeak.
And for writing on my own, I invoked a “No Mouse” zone. I lock my track pad and mouse in a drawer for a specific length of time and type away, ignoring typos, spelling errors, and that little negative voice in the corner of my mind that is holding a red pen and waiting his time to edit.