There are 2 approaches to writing: writing a lot & writing well. To produce quality writing you must employ both approaches. Let’s dive deeper:
The Writing Process

Writing a Lot Versus Writing Well

There are 2 approaches to writing: writing a lot & writing well. To produce quality writing you must employ both approaches. Let’s dive deeper:

I think back to some college literature courses I took, and the required length of papers I had to turn in. It wasn’t uncommon to have to produce an eight-page essay, but hitting that page count was hard every single time. I found myself using filler words, expanding my sentences to take up more space. I traded direct and pointed sentences for ones that were way too long and wordy—and sometimes a little redundant.

I think that focus to get as many words on paper sticks with us as writers, but it shouldn’t. In fact, when writing a book, the goal should be to write as clean, compact, and direct as we can. The goal is actually to use fewer words to make a point, not more words.

There are two approaches to writing: write a lot and write well. These two don’t mean the same thing, and a writer can’t produce quality writing without employing both approaches at different points in the writing process. Let’s jump into these two approaches:

Write a Lot

There are two times to employ the “write a lot” approach in your writing. The first is when you are getting comfortable with writing as a whole. Take time to write a lot of short stories, essays, poems, character descriptions, summaries of your story, and more. Writing has a lot to do with training, so the more you train yourself to be comfortable and confident writing, the easier writing a longer project will be.

The second time to employ the “write a lot” approach in your work is when you are creating the first draft of a manuscript. It’s critical to get as many thoughts and words on paper as you can. If you write a fiction novel that is supposed to be 100,000 words at the final stage of writing, your first draft is going to have to be over that word count in preparation for the revision process.

While writing your first draft, your focus can’t be on editing your work. Staying in the writing mindset, and ignoring revising and tweaking sentences, is the only way you’re going to finish your draft. So, write a lot and edit nothing.

Write Well

If you don’t edit a single word while writing your first draft, when you go back to start revising your work, you’re going to see just how messy writing is—and that’s okay. Writing the first draft is supposed to be messy. It’s what you do with that mess that counts.

More often than not, I get first drafts from writers to edit for them. I know it’s their first draft because I see all the items the writer would have caught if they had read their work through at least once.

The writer’s revision process is just as important as the initial writing process. It is when you must employ the “write well” approach.

During revisions, your only goal is to make your manuscript better and easier to read. This means revising run-on sentences into shorter, more direct sentences. It means paying attention to word choice and simplifying your language. It means looking for filler words and deleting them from your work. It means hunting down adverbs (words that end in -ly) and deleting them so you can use strong verbs instead. It means finding your own plot holes and filling them in. When you focus on your revision process, your word count should decrease. That’s why it’s important to write over your word count goal during the “write a lot” stage.

Writing takes a formula of approaches that need to be used at specific points in your process. You won’t become a good writer just by writing a lot; you also need to focus on writing well.

Tell us, where are you in your writing journey?

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Erika Bennett is the Content Manager for Xulon Press. She has worked in the publishing industry for more than a decade and her passion is to make sure great books find their way into readers' hands. You can also find her writing on

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