My Freaky Fast Writing Process

any excuse to work in a Vin Diesel pic, right?Yesterday, a coworker said he hated me, because I wrote three (pretty good) ads in 12 minutes. I joked a bit that I may be the Jimmy Johns of copywriting: freaky fast. Or freaky and fast. Either way works.

If you look at my LinkedIn recommendations, you’ll notice that a couple of people mention that I write really fast.

Or maybe more importantly, I write well, really fast.

I don’t know why I write so fast, other than I tend to do everything fast.  Try listening to me talk sometime.  You may be tempted to record it and play it back at half speed. I’ve tried to slow down and “pace myself,” but I find that I don’t really write any better when I do.

I think maybe I write so fast because I know the first draft is going to suck, so I want to get it out there and out of the way as quickly as possible, so I can get to the good stuff. And usually, even the crappy first draft has a nugget I can use to get a leg up on something good.

If I had to describe my writing process, I think it would be as follows:


1. Show up. (This is the part many people skip.)

2. Wait a second for the Muse to show up and give me awesome words.

3. Get impatient, say screw the Muse, write the first thing that pops into my head.

4. Laugh at the awfulness of whatever I just wrote.

5. Look for something salvageable, and start working from there.

That’s pretty much it. Almost anyone could do those five steps. But it’s surprising how many people who say they want to write have a hard time with all of them.

If you write, what’s your process like?

If you don’t write (but you want to), which step freaks you out and stops you usually?


  1. ·

    I would like to write more but I always start with a lot of energy then it trails off. I write the story in my head before I commit it to a page. Once I know where the story is headed I lose interest. I have the first few paragraphs of about a dozen short stories and the first few chapters of a couple of novels on my computer. I just can’t get motivated to finish them, though, because I already know what comes next. The creative process is what I find inspirational, not the actual writing.

    In an odd way it’s a lot like my ambivalence toward math. Learning how to solve a problem always intrigued me, but after I solved one quadratic equation I saw no reason to do ten of them for homework. With math there is also the “just because I could doesn’t mean I want to” situation. Differentiation? Integrals? Seriously?

    I think this is one reason I like cooking so much. You don’t know how it will end up until it’s done. And that’s why I don’t like baking as much, because it’s so scientific and the goal is a consistently repeatable end result. I like things a little more free form. It’s the journey, not the destination.

  2. Kat French

    Maybe you should try flash fiction (stories under 1000 words). Not enough time writing to get bored, and you get the joy of completion.

    I like baking because I like a consistently repeatable result if it’s pie.

    But math… not so much. Doesn’t apply to pi. (RIMSHOT!)


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