I'm not really sure how to describe this, but whenever I write I tend to start off okay-ish but as I progress it all just falls downhill. I think it's because I get too ahead of myself with my ideas and try to write it down all at once, which just turns into gibberish and it's a whole lot more telling than showing, which I already struggle with. Is there some methods I can take to stop myself from doing this? It's very irritating and begins to unmotivate me from writing when I realise I'm doing it.

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    Do you already create an outline? Jan 8, 2021 at 21:46

6 Answers 6


Sounds like you're mind is writing faster than your hand, which gets frustrating sometimes. There are a few things to try to help stop this.

Take breaks. Whenever you see yourself deteriorating, stop, take a break, and then get right back to it a minute or two later. Hopefully you'll be able to start going further and further without breaks when you keep doing this.

Say 'eh I'll get it later'. If you plan on having several rounds of editing, then this option might be good. Write it all out, and then during editing fix it up and make it better. I personally don't really edit much so this option might not be the best for you.

Have an outline nearby to go off of. I don't think this is probably going to help a lot, but it's worth a shot. Just outline your story and go from that. Every time you see yourself deteriorating, go to the next plot point. If your hand is out-writing your brain, then this will probably fix it right up.

Maybe just give it a big break. If you've been writing for a long time(I mean like months) then you might just be thinking 'hurry up and get it over with' which could cause you to be going for quantity over quality. So pick up your paper, stick it in a drawer, and leave it for a week or two(minimum, 2-3 months is better). Once you come back to it, you'll be much more calm and less stressed about finishing it and hopefully you'll be able to write better.

Hope this helps, good luck.

  • I think you're completely right in everything you said. I've actually just come back from a pretty large break (roughly 2 years), so I'm not ready to pack it up again just yet, but I think I get ahead of myself even when I'm not writing and resort to asking questions like these. I'm aware that I need to just get everything out and then clean it up with drafts further down the line, but I get anxious that my work is horrendous with poor vocabulary and it leaves me unmotivated. I'm going to try to concentrate on what you said and not let this get to me. Thank you!
    – Kyl
    Jan 8, 2021 at 7:20

We often picture writers sitting down and effortlessly composing perfect, flawless sentences, but in real life, good writing is almost always the result of lots of rounds of rewriting.

When you write the first draft, try to turn off your inner editor, and don't worry about how good the writing is. This is just to get your ideas out of your head. No one will read it like this except you. For some people it helps to draft out an outline first, so they can have some more structure. The important thing is to not judge or censor yourself. Just let it flow.

Later, and only after that first burst of inspiration fades, go back and fix the things that are wrong --change the telling into showing, or whatever. It's perfectly okay to do multiple passes on the same piece of writing --in fact, it's pretty unavoidable.

  • I must concur. My longhand writing is terrible. My writing started getting good when I was allowed to type everything, because editing is cheap.
    – Joshua
    Jan 8, 2021 at 16:37

One thing that could help is keeping a notebook or journal, or even just using a piece of paper and doing a brain-dump, getting it all out at whatever pace you're comfortable with. This may sound similar to creating a plot skeleton, but is actually quite useful if you are prone to getting ahead of yourself. This way you'll have everything your mind wanted to get out, out.


You feel like your ideas are coming too fast and you're getting ahead of yourself? Then write faster -- fast and loose, sloppy as you like, and worry about making it look nice after the fact. This is good because you can lay down the foundation for your narrative and add in things like foreshadowing or recurring symbols over multiple passes, already knowing how it's going to go as you refine it. The story will definitely look ugly for a while, but this is useful because you're not going to be wasting a ton of time on excellent prose that's just going to be scrapped or restructured anyway.


Before I start a story, I do a brainstorming session. I don't care about grammar or spelling. It's for nobody but me. So I spew out all my ideas and try to string them together in this brainstorm session, then I find a good, exciting place to start and begin.

Maybe you should do a brainstorming session first. If it helps you to have goals, then form an outline based on the important events you come up with in the brainstorming session, then start writing with the outline.

You can take breaks. I get tired of stories, too. Just keep everything you have, make notes, get all your ideas out in notes. But concentrate on keeping the chapters separate and follow good pacing of cause and effect. There should always be an issue your character has to triumph. It keeps you interested and writing.


Can I suggest something? When you are in the beginning, still writing successfully... suddenly take few steps back.

Stop and think about events that are going to happen. Or possible outcomes... hold on to these things for now.


Start thinking of characters themselves. Who are they? What are their routines? Who loves whom? What kind of plans do they have? What past experiences have they had? What 'makes them tick'...And don't be afraid to invest your time in this. Think again and again, until you have tailored perfect characters.

Yes, your storyline is still waiting, but you'll get there.

You created characters? Great! But don't rush with storytelling yet...


Start imagining the environment where these characters are. Are they in town? Which part? In space? How and where?

(I've noticed that big hit companies spend a lot of time/budget on creating characters.)

For example, say you are writing about some very powerful hero, and after a short while you feel like you ran out of steam...

But maybe what you need, is another (or more) characters For example, introduce some middle-aged character who is full of humor, always annoyingly finds himself in the way of our superhero, and in general cheers us all up...

And now you see your storyline in a different way. You continue polishing your characters and story until it becomes the next hit...

  • 1
    Welcome to Writing SE. The question is about how to uphold good quality writing, while your answer seems to be completely random. It actually gives an example for the question, the writing descends into a form of gibberish. I flagged this answer for moderate attention as it does not answer the question. Please read the Help Center and take the Tour to familiarize yourself with the basic guidelines of the site. Thank you! Jan 8, 2021 at 4:00

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