Scared of the Draft? Write from Memory

Even if you’re a writing pro, facing the blank screen can be a bit daunting. I have a tendency to dread it somewhat, although when I’m actually writing rather than thinking about writing I enjoy it very much.

Dread might be too strong a word for me. The point: I know I have to saddle up the laptop and produce words. And they need to be well-crafted words, even poetic in some instances.

This morning my task was to draft a recap article on the 2009 Masters Tournament for a client. The word count was not particularly long, 500-750 words. There was a tiny bit of dread. It’s Monday, after all.

Now the draft is done. The fact that I know the topic and watched the tournament helped immensely. I wrote most of the draft from memory. There was no poring over notes and sources, going back and forth, making sure I got the facts right. (Actually, I will have to do some fact re-checking on the edit.)

I came up with a basic structure, grabbed some quotes, and just started writing. Instead of drafting the bare minimum of 500 words, which was my mindset when I started, I knocked out 923 words. Now I’ll have to do some trimming, but that’s a good thing.

Writing from memory freed me up. It helped me conquer the draft. And my suspicion is that this technique can help on less-familiar topics, too.

Trust your memory and let yourself write, write, write. You can always go back and correct things – or add or subtract – later.

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