So I just finished writing my first chapter, and it went quicker than I expected. I think that after 7 years of academic writing, I finally figured out how to get myself to write quicker. Of course, this would happen when it’s already too late to help me with any of my degrees, but what can you do? Writing isn’t easy, and there really is no magic formula. There is only trial and a lot of error.
I used to handwrite in long hand draft after draft, and only when I was semi-satisfied type it up and polish it. That was painfully slow, so I cut it down to just writing my “shitty first draft” in long hand with (fountain)pen and paper.
Behold the reams of paper required to produce just that rough draft:
This was not working.
My draft was over-polished for a rough first draft, and so it took too long to complete.
Once I completed it I didn’t feel like typing it up in Scrivener.
Once I typed it up, I often discovered that I had managed to go off on a tangent, or dig myself into a useless hole, so I had to rewrite half the paper again.
Again — this was not working.
I tried writing directly in Scrivener, but I think better when I use pen and paper. So cutting out the analogue part of my writing process just made me produce really mediocre papers which I had to work twice as hard on during the loathed editing and polishing phase.
The solution for me is just to do a handwritten quick draft of the overall piece , and then start writing in Scrivener. If I get stuck, or want to try out a few options, I just quick draft each one, and then continue typing along. So my writing method still combines analogue and digital, but the balance between them has changed. I spend less time planning, and planning, and planning, and more time just doing the writing and seeing what works.
After all, I can always go back and change it later.