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PRE-WRITING: What is it? And how can it help your writing? By Belinda Missen

I would like to welcome guest writer, Belinda Missen. Enjoy!


Ask one hundred writers how they write, and you’ll get one hundred different answers, maybe more. Some may talk about research first, spending hours poring over old records. Others Google the niggling details while they write. There might be others yet who simply sit their bums in seats and start writing.

But let’s talk about the actual method. Authors are notorious for our love of stationery, but do we use it, or do we go straight for spending hours on the PC? Some notebooks are simply too pretty to write in, so I understand. But there are some of us (quite a lot, I’d think), who unwrap that little nugget of beauty and get on down with scribbling those classic opening lines in the front page. We are the pre-writers.

So, what is pre-writing?

It’s simple. It’s writing whatever it is you’re working on, on a method other than your PC. For example, I write large chunks of my books in notebooks. The idea of writing something and then writing it again might seem crazy, and it certainly did to me for a little while but let me explain how it can benefit your books.

Handwriting is good for your brain! Sure, the process may feel like a working at a snail’s pace, but that’s exactly the point. By slowing down the process, you give your brain time and space to chip away in the background. An Indiana University study has likened the practice to meditating, helping us access levels of creativity not otherwise seen by working on a screen.

Just get it down. It’s a lot easier than it sounds, right? I’m not sure about you, but I have this awful habit of hovering over the delete key. I’ll write a sentence forty times before I’m happy with it. When I’m handwriting, or even using a typewriter, I don’t have the space to be that pedantic. I just have to get the first draft written. I can worry about corrections later.

Self-editing becomes fun. I know, I know. Hear me out. As you’ve slowed your brain and kicked those creative juices into gear, you may find that, as you come to transfer your handwritten document to a word processor, the editing process becomes easier – and fun. You’ve probably already been thinking of ways to improve as you’ve been writing, so the typing becomes easier and smoother. This gives you a fantastic base to work from for draft two. I find that I’ve even been looking forward to the moment I get to type things up.

Bonus. Another personal benefit that I’ve discovered is that is lowers my level of distraction. If I turn off my computer, pull out the pen and paper and write, I find that I get so much more done. In some instances, I’ve been able to chew through my daily word count in a few short hours simply by handwriting instead of sitting at a screen.

In the few months since I’ve been pre-writing, I’ve found my productivity has gone through the roof. Not only am I writing more, the quality is better and I’m much happier with the output. This doesn’t have to be the method you use for the entire book. For me, this began as a way to break through creative blocks when I was halfway through my last book.

So, whether you’re looking for increased creativity, getting through that writer’s block, or simply looking to smash those word count goals, I’d encourage you to give this method a go. What have you got to lose?



Author and sometimes foodie, Belinda is a ridiculous romantic who met her husband after being set up by a friend two states away. Residing in country Victoria, surrounded by books, cat-fur, and half-eaten cake, Belinda divides her days between writing rom-coms, baking, and indulging her love of comic books.

You can purchase all of Belinda's novels on Amazon


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