This new rule of writing, which after a years of thought and planning I have just invented over breakfast this morning while watching lots of people on the TV asking God to bless America, is a refinement of a writing technique I have been evolving for some time. And it’s nothing to do with picking food up off the floor. If all that makes sense.
I have a butterfly mind which is easily distracted while I’m writing. I can’t resist breaking off to research something or to spend ages finding the right word or phrase. It’s this latter area that the five second rule has been invented to deal with.
It’s simple. Rather than spending ages wrestling with the perfect word, trying to avoid repetition, cliché and the like, if I don’t come up with something within five seconds – and without resorting to a dictionary or thesaurus – I simply bung in any old word or phrase in square brackets, and press on.
It might not sound very revolutionary and maybe many of you writers out there already work in a similar way. I had been starting to work in a similar way myself – but now I’m quite strict about it, and I can report that both the creative flow and the word count have benefited.
So if you think it will help, I recommend that any of you out there who are inclined to [become distracted – diverted – get stuck] while trying to find the right word or form the perfect sentence, employ the Five Second Rule and leave the hard work till the second draft.