An Examination of Writing a Lot of Words

by Chris McGinty
I wrote a blog post last year promising that I would not use AI to write my material. Don’t worry. I’m not here to say that I’ve changed my mind. I’m here to talk about something else, and when I say talk, I’m actually giving you a clue.

There was some recent controversy on YouTube where a number of content creators we’re called out for plagiarizing other people’s work. The primary reason seemed to be their production schedules trying to properly monetize their channels. Because of this, clearly, they didn’t have time to write. For somebody like me who does write a lot, this was a little bit weird to me.

I’ve said often that there are people who wake up trying to figure out how they can scheme people, and they spend a lot of hours a week at it, very often not ending up with very much. Meanwhile, if they would just go get a job, and spend the same amount of time working, they would have a consistent paycheck.

I feel like with these plagiarizers, they probably spent almost as much time trying to cover up their plagiarism as they would have just actually doing the research and writing their own article. I suppose that over the course of years of a career maybe they saved enough time to justify it… up until the point that somebody caught them. There are a number of reasons that I produce a lot of writing. I would like to go ahead and put them into convenient sections for you to read. It’s kind of one of those things I do on this blog.

Making Time to Write – I’m going to tell you right now that this is the absolute most important method of getting a lot of writing done. No matter what method you use to produce the writing, you’re still going to need spend time doing it. This is what I was just talking about where the video makers probably spent just as much time as they would have if they had just written their own script. Not to defend what they did, but they put a lot of time into building their channels. They could have carved out an extra half hour to just write their own stuff. But I’ll talk about that a little bit more and another post this is about producing a lot of writing.

Making Time to Write Part 2 – There are really two ways that you can carve out time to write, or pretty much anything. The most effective way is to block out large periods of time in which all you will do is write and then follow through. There is also the concept that any time that you have a few minutes you can get a little bit of work done. This one’s a little counterintuitive for some people. For some people the act of getting interrupted in the middle of doing something will throw them off completely, and for those people I’m not sure that this works. I just know that I have practiced for years taking down small snippets of notes, writing quick bits of dialogue or scene, and even at some point texting nine texts an hour to my email while I was at my guard post, and then putting those writings together later when I was at home. Surely, that was not a very efficient way of writing, but you know what? I got quite a bit done. I have 20 pages of an incomplete story that I wrote over the course of a month by doing that. It adds up.

Let’s Talk about AI – the funny thing to me about the plagiarizing controversy is that if those people had started their channels a year ago rather than whenever they started their channels, they probably wouldn’t have plagiarized in the classic sense. Instead, what they probably would have done is used AI to write their scripts, and then went back and touched them up in order to make them sound better. This really is not my way of doing things. Where I had trouble wrapping my head around with the plagiarism thing was to me half of the fun of writing is actually doing the creative work. There are plenty of ways of being efficient about it without having to rip somebody else off. But for me, maybe even more than half the fun is just being creative. In this regard, I just don’t even know if I would want to have an AI basically write the idea for me, and then me go back and turn it into my own thing in the rewrite. So when I say what I’m about to say, understand this is just not how I would work. It might work for you though. Sometime this year I think I’m going to talk about why the first draft of anything is really not that important. I think a lot of people put a lot of emphasis on the first draft when most of the important work is done when you go back and actually fix what you originally wrote. In this regard, if you’re comfortable with the idea of feeding the AI your basic ideas for an article or a story, letting it spit out the rough draft, and then you going back and fixing it to where you make it your own; it might be a good way of getting some of the basic work out of the way. I know that as far as anything is concerned, I want to learn programming and because I find no joy in writing code, I would have no problem letting AI write the first and maybe even second pass for me. I’m sure there are people out there who would look at me and go, “But that’s half the fun.” So I’m not going to judge you if you use AI for your rough draft but don’t use it to write your whole thing. First of all it’s not going to be that good, and second you know it’s just not really writing. Nathan, I will judge you, so don’t even think about it.

The Way I Wrote This Blog Post – I sort of alluded to it earlier and even pointed out that I was giving you a clue, but if this particular blog post seems a little bit more conversational, it’s because I’m writing it by talking into a dictation app. This is one of my many secrets to having as many ideas as I have. For the purpose of actually writing something like this, I’m doing the dictation at home where I can actually look at the screen and make sure that what I’m saying comes out on the screen properly. There are still mistakes. What I do when I’m driving around in my car doing many of the jobs that I do that require driving is that I will turn on the dictation app and set the phone down on the seat and I will continuously talk. In order to do this effectively, I sometimes have to say this twice just to make sure that if the dictation app missed it the first time, it’ll be there the second time. There have been a couple of instances where I later look at the dictation and have no idea what the fuck I was talking about. More than 90% of the time I can figure out what idea I was getting down. The way that I was just talking about the AI doing a rough draft when I talk into a dictation app I’m either doing a form of spoken outline or a form of a rough draft that I will later have to go back and fix. It is not a one for one trade-off. If I take three to four hours to write six relatively clean pages I will have to do a lot less fixing than if I take an hour to dictate six pages. I would imagine that it might even take longer by the time I’ve gone through all six of those dictated pages to make what I wrote makes sense. The important part is that I captured the ideas before forgetting them, which is why I said that this is more one of my secrets to having so many ideas while maybe not so much a secret to writing so much.

So just to finish this out, while I did talk about a couple of things that can actually save time physically writing, I think that the two most important things to consistently writing a higher word count is capturing every idea and then setting aside time to execute on those ideas. The rest of it is really more about how you idea capture. But listen to me blathering on, literally in this case because I’ve been talking the whole time.

Chris McGinty is a blogger who just took in a huge breath in order to like be able to see as much as that he could his while he was out all trying to talk to this all out and then maybe he might be actually make some sense but he might not make some sense it just depends on how well the dictation app picks up on this and he’s just going to run out of breath and he’s not going to be able to say anything more.

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