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Write drunk, edit sober


The days I fail to write anything are the days I overthink - about how people might perceive what I write, whether it will appear well thought out, whether it will be interesting.

The days I come up with little to no ideas for improving my product are the days I overthink - about how difficult it will be to implement them, whether it will move the right metrics, whether it will affect a sizeable portion of our audience.

That is what having the sober hat on does to you.

It is a lot harder to create something that doesn't exist or think of new ideas that don't exist today when we are filtering them through the eyes of how they will look once finished. It is the equivalent of not pursuing a startup idea because you foresee many problems in turning that into a multi billion dollar company.

The farther you look ahead, the more obstacles you see and the more overwhelming the task looks.

This is not what you ought to be doing at the time of creation. The act of creation is like spewing out raw emotion, unprocessed and unfiltered. It is taking a paintbrush and letting yourself go on the canvas. It is picking up your laptop and typing away what comes to your mind.

'Write drunk' is the perfect advice for the creation phase. Just let your thoughts flow without a worry about how they will be received or whether they will even amount to anything.

Once the creation phase is over, then you need to bring in the sober side for editing. This is the time you worry about how to present it, make changes in the grammar, style, etc while keeping the content intact or just making changes to cover or modify loopholes and inconsistencies.

Of course, everything that you create will not make the editorial cut. And plenty of things that you create will be discarded.

But you are simply postponing the time when you do the discarding to allow for learning. Because you only learn when you do.

Every time you create something and later discard it while editing, it will act as feedback to your mind and for your creation process where you will start imbibing the right patterns at the time of creation itself.

And over time, this results in lesser and lesser back and forth between creating and editing, allowing you to get better and better at the art.

"Write drunk, edit sober" is now etched on my desk to act as a constant reminder about this.

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