We get our best ideas when we allow our brain to rest and let it wander and explore. We get creative and recognize connections we didn’t see before. But faster writing is not accomplished by creativity alone.
Unfortunately, there is no way for us to replay our thoughts. We either have to start scribbling or hope we can keep the general idea in our minds.
Both ways are rather shaky because we lose the nuances and connections within our ideas. When we start focusing on either remembering or writing, we sever the flow of thoughts and end up losing important parts of the whole picture.
The greatest bottleneck for us writers is to organize our thoughts. We have a story to tell but we're faced with a cluttered mind. How do package up our story to turn it into an enjoyable experience? It's the journey from the rough draft to a polished piece.
I remember laboring for hours on a piece only to gut it the next morning. A pair of fresh eyes is the blessing that hurts. It's then that you'll realize that your awesome thoughts weren't that awesome. Your main thoughts and ideas are hidden behind rambling and repetitive, unstructured nonsense. The time you saved on writing is now spent on editing.
So the challenge we face is to reduce the writing as well as the editing time and still come up with a piece worth reading.
Can you think of ways to improve the world?
I'm sure you could rattle down a few ideas. But the spectrum is so large that it might get difficult to come up with a lot of options. Do you want to go with climate change? Fight poverty or build schools?
Our brain doesn't have the computing power to think creatively in such broad strokes. It gets overloaded and we end up spinning our wheels, overwhelmed by the vastness of the task.
We do a lot better if we define boundaries within which we can be creative. It allows focusing on a defined area that our brain can grasp and work with. Let's rephrase our above questions to improving the lives of immigrant children in the Morris Highschool in Central Minnesota.
It's a lot easier now to think of with ideas. We can come up with concrete strategies and tactics that will move us closer solving of a very defined problem.
Writing about a problem works the same way. We get the most creative within clearly defined boundaries. If that area is too large, our brain gets overwhelmed. It cannot explore everything at once.
We can tackle that by letting our brain explore general ideas first. We brainstorm the headlines first and then edit out what we don't like. We save time on writing the actual paragraphs by eliminating the topic before we write a single sentence.
Once we have our structure in place, our thoughts are a lot more targeted and on point. It creates a framework for your mind first before you fill in the meat. It gives you something to hold on to for balance and guidance. There is no more wandering because we know exactly what the topic has to be about.
It also eliminates the editing hours we had to use before to dig through all the empty words and phrasing. Nothing is more frustrating to write and rewrite sentences without ever fully getting it right. It takes a lot of brain capacity to circle around again and again until we finally get it right.
Transcribing the essentials
Now that we have our basic structure, it's time to fill in the gaps.
Grab your keyboard and start typing away. You'll notice that using your fingers to transfer your thoughts is a very mechanical exercise. Sure, we're used to it and manage quite well but is it really the best way to capture out thoughts?
Transcription is your friend here. There are many ways to get this done but the most common ones are apps. There are many competing services out there which divide their translation services into two categories:
While a human will understand most of your language, it will also cost more and take longer. I believe artificial intelligence has come a long way and human transcribers are in most cases not necessary anymore.
The best solution is a service called Otter. It's marketed mainly to business as a way to transcribe their meetings. But it works great for our purposes as well.
I experimented with transcription before but there was always a gap between my thoughts and the written content. I also tried out other pay-per-minute platforms before and the results weren't very good. It just didn't recognize my words very well. All my time went into making sense of the gibberish the software put together for me.
Otter.ai is different. They recognized my voice quite well and only made a few mistakes. That's impressive, especially considering that I'm not a native speaker. My words just showed up on the screen while I was speaking into my phone.
I'm not affiliated with Otter in any way. I just think their service is fantastic works better for me than any human transcriber. I can see my words almost instantly on the screen, meaning I don't have to break my workflow to wait for the human transcription.
The best part: Otter gives you 600 minutes per month for free. For me, it was always plenty to work with.
Producing interesting articles doesn't just require skill. It requires time. And time is our most prized possession. Editing your headlines will save you many hours of restructuring your words and rewriting your thoughts. If you then use a goo transcription tool, your articles will almost write themselves.