Along with the excellent suggestions from other forum members, you might set a goal for a day's writing, say 500 words. Let nothing distract you until you reach your goal, whatever it may be, but continue writing regardless of grammar or spelling errors.
I used to do that and have started doing it now as well. Reaching those goals is not a problem when I'm not worrying about grammar and spelling. Seems like the best solution for me is to give up on any kind of editing before I finish the chapter. Thank you for the advice
Ah, my bad. I read the other replies, and I see you have gotten suggestions for warmup exercises ready. Free writing is especially.
Another warmup exercise you could try is just listing words, like running through the alphabet and writing down the first animal that comes to mind of each letter. Some people find it gets them "into gear" so to speak.
No, seriously, de-activating your word processor's spelling/grammar check feature is not only a great way to keep from getting sidetracked dealing with pointless shit like perfectionism and whether this or that sentence is perfect, and a good way to teach you to edit later; it's easy to forget that editing isn't just correcting spelling and grammar mistakes, and all those red and green lines and squiggles and suggestion get in the way of that.
x-xBraised-MeatFeatured By OwnerAug 10, 2018Professional General Artist
Have you considered taking a fiction writing class? I come to find work shopping and having pressure to finish things to read in front of others while getting inspiration from studying other short stories improved my fiction writing immensely.
I've already been to one and I hated it. The pressure only made things worse and made me quit writing earlier. I already was under a lot of pressure (school, competitions, mental health issues) and that only drained my will and inspiration. I can do serious work under pressure, but writing is something I want to do casually, so pressuring me to do it only leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I think the reason I came back to art at all is because I'm not under any kind of pressure anymore.
Rather than thinking about writing it as doing it all in one go, think of it in two parts. For the first part your goal is to just get the story out. If you get stuck on a sentence or paragraph or if something doesn't come out quite right, just carry on with the story (like how you might jump about a bit when writing an essay). Then for the second part your goal is to proof read and edit anything that you think needs changing
Speaking as someone who used to be really prone to this exact habit, most advice ultimately boils down to: stop editing as you go. Like, seriously, just stop it. Don't do it. Set finishing the story as your goal and focus on *that*. Grammar can always be corrected later on. Sentence reads poorly now? Fix it later. Learn to love revision and accept shitty first drafts.
One exercise that helps train you away from editing as you write is free writing. Simplest method is open a Word file, give yourself a time limit and just type whatever comes to mind without editing. Like, don't even correct typos. If you have the ability to turn off your monitor while typing, try that. Some word processing software can limit visibility or access to editing tools, if that helps. I like Scrivener's full screen no-distraction mode, but there are other free apps out there that can do similar.
Thank you very much, I guess I'll have to try that for a change. Out of sight, out of mind... Hope it works. And what about all those 'don't write it like this! throw these words out!' advice? It gets so ridiculous sometimes that I don't know which words I should use in the end
To echo the saint, remember this maxim: "The first draft is always shit. Always. No exceptions."
The first draft is the "writer's draft": the one you right for yourself, then edit into something you'd let others read. It is in that editing process where you hammer your gibberish and verbal diarrhea into readable garbage (but still garbage: it's the third draft or so where the work starts being decent).
Also, it helps to develop the ability to take the piss out of yourself and be amused rather than frustrated by bad sentences, weird grammar, and hideous misspellings; they'll happen anyway, so why not enjoy the hilarity?
You can definitely keep certain rules in mind as you write, but if you're having problems shutting down the editor in your head, sometimes it is better to put those rules aside and just write. Save them for when you're ready to revise. As you get more experience writing, some of those rules will gradually become more part of your natural thought process while writing. But I wouldn't place any pressure on yourself to get all that stuff right on the first draft, that's not even the case for most highly skilled, experienced writers.