Alexander Savin

Write Drunk, Edit Sober: A Guide to Writing Epic Shit

Writers are finicky, troublesome creatures.  If it isn’t one issue hindering our writing, it’s another.

Since there are numerous problems that plague us, this post must obviously address more than one tribulation.

So here it is.  Let’s get you to actually accomplish something, make your writing totally epic, and tie the whole thing up with a nice, neat bow.

First, we need to get your ass off the sofa.

Stop Procrastinating

Check out what Piers Steel, a business professor at the University of Calgary, revealed:

In the 1970s, only about 5% of Americans admitted to procrastinating on a regular basis.  By 2002, the popularity of procrastination had rocketed up to 26%. 

What do you supposed the percentage would be today?!

Procrastination can be traced back to a variety of sources—laziness, lack of motivation, stress overload, and much more.  If you believe Denis Waitley, an American motivational speaker:

“Procrastination is the fear of success…because success is heavy, carries a responsibility with it, it is much easier to procrastinate and live on the ‘someday, I’ll…’ philosophy”  

But let’s not waste any more time on trying to determine why you aren’t writing.  That is just delaying your results even longer.  Shame on us!

1.  Perfection is overrated.

Anne Lamott shared the following:  “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor.  It will keep you insane your whole life.”

Your writing might not be perfect.  It might have grammaratical errors that would make your high school English teacher roll in her grave.  But if you do the work, it will be a completed project.  And it will be yours.

If you wait for perfection, you’ll be procrastinating forever.  Instead, let your head and heart dictate your writing.

2.  Get in the zone.

Sometimes, all it takes to propel you to action is a bit of inspiration.  Take a look at what you’ve accomplished so far.  Awaken the muse.  Let your past writing act as a springboard for your current project.

But don’t stay at this stage too long.  If you do, you’ll just perpetuate the problem.

Get your brain into writing mode quickly and then write!

3.  Create manageable tasks.

Have you been telling yourself, “I need to write a book”?  No wonder you haven’t gotten anything accomplished!  Instead, try:

  • I need to create an outline.
  • I need to edit my last chapter.
  • I need to write a blog post.
  • I need to write two paragraphs for my newspaper column.

A study at the University of Konstanz in Germany recently found that people are much more likely to tackle a concrete task rather than an abstract one.

Break your project up into manageable tasks.  You’ll feel so much more productive when you are able to cross something off your to-do list, and that will inspire you to want to do more.

Now that you are mentally prepared to actually get something accomplished…

Write Epic Shit

Write epic shit.  That sounds like a very daunting task.

Epic.  Not mediocre.  Not common or run-of-the-mill.  Not even great.

Epic.

Epic writing is something that makes people think.  It inspires people.  It changes lives.  It creates value.  It entertains.  It leads people to take action.  It blows people away with its usefulness.

There.  That’s not so challenging, is it?

You can write epic shit, as long as you do one little thing.

You must live epic stuff.  You must experience life.

John le Carre said:

“A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.”

Epic writing won’t just happen.  You need to have real life experiences as a reference point.

Go out and try things.  Fail.  Succeed.  Live.

Then, let these experiences guide you when you sit down to write.  After all, you must first inspire yourself before you can inspire others.

Sober Up and Edit

Since only the novice writer is foolish enough to edit as he writes, you—the experienced writer—will need to make some serious edits after getting the first draft on paper.

Here are three things that will make the process more efficient.

1.  Edit the structure and content first.

There is a very real possibility you will need to cut big chunks of material.  During your first read through, look for chapters or sections that need to be removed, added, or revised.

After the big picture editing is done, you can worry about polishing every individual sentence.

2.  Cut at least 10% of your words.

Writers tend to be unnecessarily verbose.  We write wordy, long-winded sentences that can ramble on and on and on.

See what I did there?  I used more words than was necessary—which actually weakens the overall argument.

Read through your piece and look for places where you have repeated your point over and over.  Identify indecisive phrases.  Look for unnecessary adjectives.  Cut it all.

3.  Do your final edit backwards.

By the last stage of editing, you are super familiar with your own writing.  This makes it too easy to slide right past errors and mistakes.

Read your piece backwards—start with the last paragraph.  This will make you focus more on each individual sentence.

There you have it; motivation to accomplish some pretty epic shit and then write about it.

Oh, and thank you to Peter De Vries and Charlie Gilkey for providing us with the epic, drunken inspiration for this post.

About the Author: Steve Aedy is an in-house content manager and a custom essay writing expert for Freshessays.com. He think that the best way to overcome procrastination is to take a break for a couple of days and fly to the South Pole. Follow him on Google+

Image Courtesy of Alexander Savin

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