You’ve also seen it before. That writer who sends an essay where a couple of lines will do. That writer whose emails resemble short novellas. You probably know one. If you are reading this article, you may well be one. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I am one. Okay, maybe that’s not much of a secret, but it may be surprising to some who sit on the other end of my emails. There’s been more than one occasion where I began a simple response to an emails and eight paragraphs and a thousand words later, realized I’d gone off the deep end. But, emails that start that way, don’t end up that way.
Verbosity is my starting point when trying to come up with ideas. They say that verbosity is the first sign of lack of knowledge, but it can also be the sign of creation. In some ways, this makes sense. When you are in the process of creating, you are brining to life something that did not exist before. In some way, no one knows about what you are creating. There may be a breadth of knowledge within it, but how you are putting the words together into a cohesive thought is new and unique. During the drafting phase, I begin to understand better what it is that I’m creating. I experiment with its limits and see how far it can go. My prolific output is merely a reflection of that exploration.
For the purposes of content development, prolific writing is not a bad thing. The more you can get onto paper, the more writing you have to work with. During your planning and drafting stages, avoid putting limits on yourself. To some degree, planning involves narrowing and focusing your topic, but you’ll be doing more of that during the revision process, so don’t get too caught up in narrowing your writing here. In the planning and drafting stages, the key is getting ideas out onto the table. This is where you need to be exploring the topic.
Once you’ve gotten all the ideas down on paper, you have your starting block. From here, much like stone carvers, the writer begins chipping away at the block of writing. As you go through your prolific draft, here is the time to turn verbosity to concision. The revision process allows you to organize ideas, add details to flesh out idea, and remove writing that is off-topic or extraneous. Here is where the bigger picture begins to form.
Just remember, you are a writer. Your job is to put words on paper. It’s natural for you to be prolific. The question is, what will you do with it once you’re ready to revise.