My late, dear husband, was once a waiter. That’s how we met. He used to wink at me when I came to his restaurant for lunch.
Anyway, I once noticed how he could carry a full cup of steaming hot coffee across a room without spilling it. And he did it with absolute confidence.
“How do you do that?” I asked.
“What?” he replied.
“How do you carry that coffee without spilling it?”
“I don’t look at it.”
Now, when I carried coffee, I always stopped and started trying not to spill it. It never worked.
My husband’s answer seemed too easy and I didn’t believe him. But I secretly resolved to try it. The next time I had a cup of hot coffee I took a deep breath, raised my eyes to where I wanted to go, and just walked.
I arrived at my destination without a drop of a spill.
My steady pace kept the liquid stable. My method of stopping and starting made it slosh around.
So what does this have to do with website tips? I’m not sure. I just thought it was a cool story and I’ve wanted to write a tip about it for years.
But I’ll try to make an analogy anyway.
Professional writing teacher Daphne Gray-Grant teaches writers to plow through a first draft without looking at it. She goes so far as to suggest turning off your monitor or hanging a towel over it while you write your first draft!
Her reasoning is that writing and editing are two very different tasks. That’s very true.
Of course, my coffee analogy seems to break down when applying it to writing web content. When you walk across a room with a cup of coffee, the coffee arrives ready to drink. When you write a first draft by not looking, it’s certainly not ready to publish.
We can still make the analogy fit if we acknowledge that the goal of no-look writing is to arrive at a first draft, not a final draft.
When it comes to turning out content consistently, getting that first draft created is incredibly important!
Can you think of any other areas of life where the no-look-coffee-carrying analogy would apply?
Easy Furniture Web Tip 248: Write the first draft of your web content without looking.