Dust First, Then Sweep—Write First, Then Edit

by Randy Murray on September 10, 2014

When you set out to clean a room, first dust the room and its objects, starting high and working your way down. Then sweep. If you do it the other way around then you end up sending dust down onto your freshly swept floor.

The same process applies to writing. I find that many writers struggle to produce a first draft of their projects because they focus far too much on getting everything perfect in the first go. It becomes a slog, an exercise in futility.

Dust, then sweep. Write, then edit.

Write freely. Don’t stop and fix things or try to get it all perfect. Write. Write swiftly and in the excitement of the moment and rush of emotion let it pour out. And then, when you’ve worked from top to bottom, from beginning to end, then you can get out your broom, your trusty red pen, and clean things up.

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