The Fringes of Prolific Writing

The Fringes of Prolific Writing

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We all want to write more. Even when you’re happy with your output, you would like to write faster. What’s the solution?

The simple answer is to write more, but that’s not a great answer. We need some ideas. To become better at anything, we need to study it, discuss it, and practice it. What can we do to make sure we write more?

I’ve already posted a few articles about deliberate prolific writing methods. Today, I want to mention a few ways of being prolific on the fringes.

Marginal Writing

What is marginal writing? Journal writing, commenting, e-mails, IM clients… Anything that gets you in the habit of sitting down to write something and writing it without a lot of thinking is marginal writing. Some of these may not work for you. Some don’t work for me. I can’t write an e-mail without revising it, for example.

Marginal writing is unedited writing. That’s how you write your first drafts when you write seriously. This is practice. Are you having trouble writing without editing. One solution is to write a deliberately terrible book. Plan to throw it away after you’re done, but write the first draft from start to finish without editing. You may decide to revise it into something good.

Throw-Away Writing

If you read my earlier articles about writing like Martin Caidin or Ryoki Inoue, you know that their methods (my guess at their methods) are likely to result in something you wouldn’t try to publish.

I’ll repeat the point from those articles. If you can write three pulp novels in the time it would take to write one high quality novel, isn’t it worth it for the writing practice? Once you’re selling your work, you’ll change the strategy, but as long as you’re a writer in training, practice is more important than perfectionism.


Sometimes it seems like you just can’t get any forward momentum. You need to do more research and get caught up on the related readings. The ideas you need to bring together aren’t melding. You need something more before you can continue and don’t know what it might be. Persistence is the only answer.

You can move forward with all of the above problems. Leave a note in bold or a different color text. Leave a mess behind. Just keep forging ahead. That’s what revisions are for.

If you can’t seem to get going on any of your writing projects, go back to marginal writing. A bit of that can shift you into a better writing mood.

Brute Force

Getting in the mood is good, but you should be able to write when you’re not in the mood. Other professionals don’t need to be in the mood to do their job. As well, a lot of writing doesn’t need to be good. I’m thinking first drafts again, but also journal writing that may inspire articles and short stories.

Force yourself to write by brute force. If you’re like most writers, you generate plenty of writing plans, ideas, and rough documents when you’re in the writing mood. Move all of those forward by doing the best you can on bad days and you will have more rough work to turn into final draft material on the good days.

By writing on the fringes, you write more often and get more done. Much of it may be poor writing, but your total output of good writing will also be higher.

Article by Ivan Izo.

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