You’ve written every day for two weeks, 30 minutes each day. You’re on a roll. You’ve moved from your notebook to your laptop. You’ve also moved from writing miscellany toward the idea you had in the beginning. You’ll find your own way, but here’s how I manage the work.

  1. Write as much as you can of the story, personal essay, poem. Write your ideas about the piece. This is called metawriting. Write all your thoughts––interesting and boring alike. Get them all down on that screen.
  2. Once you’ve written all you can, print what you have.
  3. Take your pencil and hand-edit the printout. Sit with it, read it, mark it up with new ideas or thoughts that come of what you see. Take your time. Go over it a half-dozen times. Carry it with you for a few days.
  4. Sit back down at your device and start over. Rekey the piece from scratch. You’ll find that soon you’ll not be looking at what you’re rekeying. A new idea will have come and you’ll be running with that. Then you’ll return and continue rekeying your hand-edited draft.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4. Now you have multiple, progressively more developed drafts of your piece.

This process sounds inefficient but it’s actually highly efficient. It moves a piece forward.