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Very often when I start writing something, mainly notes for my work (I'm a researcher) but other times personal thoughts, I feel that my writing speed can't keep up with my stream of consciousness.

Just to give an example, I was writing down on my notebook a question that I wanted to post on interpersonal.stackexchange but, as soon as I started with the main question, I ended up thinking about all the details that I want to add. I became frustrated at my inability to produce something and after a while I stopped writing (which pushed me to write this post).

In addition, I usually keep rereading what I've just written again and again and again, and keep changing it but without adding much to the subject. I think I spent more than half an hour to write down this question.

Apart from writing more and more often to train the "writing muscle" what would you suggest to avoid this situation?

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    Make a plan, stick to it, and man up. Because this frustration is pretty normal. Even though this is a very simplified and easy way of saying it. This is what the answers are going to look like more or less ;) – Totumus Maximus Sep 5 '18 at 12:55
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    I believe there is voice to text now on many devices. Simply speak your thoughts into such an app and clean it up afterwards. Or onto a recording device to playback. – DPT Sep 5 '18 at 13:32
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This is something that has happened with me dozens and dozens of times. I have been following the below steps to keep this problem at bay.

  1. Jot down SHORT POINTS first. Only when this list of short points is complete, should you begin to elaborate.
  2. Don't stop mid-sentence to think about the words you've written so far. It will stress you out completely. Besides, you will find it difficult to finish your work.
  3. Don't chase an unattainable idea of perfection. Trying to be perfect is great, but overthinking everything and being OVERTLY CRITICAL of your work is horrible.
  4. I started following a 75% satisfaction rule. If I felt that 75% of what I wrote seemed perfect, I let it remain as it is. Right now, this might seem stupid, but to prevent over - analysing everything, you need to come up with some percentage that will satisfy your need of perfection for now.
  5. Realise that writing in A FLOW is fun. However, stopping abruptly time and again might cause loss of ideas, so, just try to keep the rhythm of things going. Practice this over shorter paragraphs first. Slowly build your way up.

I hope this helps.

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    Hi NEBI4! Welcome to Writing.SE. I edited the formatting in your post: the way formatting on this site works is you need to do a double enter for it to start a new line. You can always see at the bottom of the page what your post is going to look like. When you have time, you can also take a look at our tour and help center pages, you might find them useful. :) – Galastel supports GoFundMonica Sep 5 '18 at 17:13
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Don't focus on getting whole sentences put together while you're in idea mode, just get the concepts you want to speak to on the page. Focusing on ideas when you start a project allows you to get all the information you want to use in one place. Then you can go back and flesh out the individual sections later once you have finished the busy bit and can take some time with the finer details.

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Something to come to terms with is the fact that writing is frustrating and hard. I love writing, yet I often procrastinate about writing projects to hold off on the pain of staring at a screen and struggling to get my thought onto it in a coherent way.

That being said, I think I can offer some specific help with your situation. DPT mentioned speech-to-text software in a comment. I think that can be a lot of help.

You mentioned that you struggle with rereading your work too much. Rereading is important, but if it is limiting your ability to write, you may want to try something like ilys that doesn't let you see what you have written and only shows the last letter you typed.

Both of those suggestions are limited to when typing on a computer. As a more general tip, I would suggest that you try to turn your sporadic ideas of what to write into a rough outline in your mind. You can this outline if you think of something else, but having a sense of direction could help you fight off the frustration.

Lastly, like you mentioned, writing more should help you with this. I don't know your mind like you do, so I can't offer the solution you need. The more you write the better you should become at fighting this specific problem.

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  • I like the idea of not looking at what you've just written. I'll keep that in mind. – Click Sep 6 '18 at 12:41
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Your frustration stems from having a goal --communicating your thoughts externally --that isn't being reached by your process of writing. I'd suggest starting a diary, or a dream journal, or perhaps some other form of personal writing that isn't intended for an audience, and that isn't focused around a specific goal. This will help you get used to the actual process of writing itself.

If you start to get frustrated while doing it, just remind yourself that there is no right or wrong way to do it, and no concrete goal state, you are just using this time to get comfortable with your own writing style and voice.

For me, I use my time here on SE for that kind of writing, more process-focused than goal-focused. For you, you might need to take even one more step back to remove yourself from all internal or external pressures to excel.

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