I'm Not Editing – I'm Building My Prototype!

What a wonderful analogy for the writing process offered by Ken Davis at Manage Your Writing: drafts are like prototypes serving a similar purpose in creating a final written product! Ken explains how he was able to get his writing trainees to resist the urge to painstakingly edit their first draft by likening that draft to the construction of the initial prototype of a physical product. A prototype devoid of the spit and polish of the final retail version. As taken from his post:

A draft is a prototype. It’s not the final product. It’s not written for the reader. It’s written for the writer. It’s “quick and dirty.” It’s written to test. It’s written to see if it does what it was designed to do.

Editing while drafting that first version of your work hinders the creative flow. The initial phase should be about invention and creativity and not about final brush strokes. How damaging it is to that flow to stop a thought mid-stream in order to insert the proper punctuation!

While I admit that some of my blog posts retain their prototypical feel ;), I myself have difficulty resisting the urge to tighten while drafting my work product. Use Ken’s analogy to remind yourself that you don’t need to put your name on it until you are ready to sell it to the public!

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2 comments on “I'm Not Editing – I'm Building My Prototype!

  1. Excellent advice! I always do find that when writing something “real” (i.e., not a blog entry) that I need to take this kind of prototype approach (though I’ve never put it that way) first. Better to get something down than have a blank – but perfect – page.

    I too let blog entries go with barely a coat of primer on them, but I suppose that’s part of the point of the medium!

  2. It is funny how framing a concept with a related analogy can completely change how you view it! Like adding a different frame to a photo and improving its look. And I completely agree that the different mediums (blogs versus more form formalized writing) require different attitudes. Part of the charm for sure!



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