Pretend your cursor is on fire

Christopher Oldcorn
Aug 23 · 3 min read
Photo by opat cekap on Unsplash

Want to write slowly?

Edit while you write.

Want to write fast?

Don’t edit while you write.

It’s that simple.

The cursor is on fire

I pretend the cursor is on fire and I have to keep writing.

After I finish a few lines of text or paragraph, I turn the font to white so I cannot see it.

I learned that trick from New York Times bestselling author R.O. Kwon (The Incendiaries Book)

The first draft mistakes

Keep writing even if it’s crap.


You should never publish a first draft.

Ignore your spelling mistakes.

Grammar is all messed up.

Written way too many sentences in the passive voice.

Who cares!

We can fix the mistakes during the editing process.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Checking your work

Can’t remember the exact date of an event, highlight the words in bold.

Check it after.

An incorrect date, statistic, or fact can be checked before you publish..

Always fact check!

Nothing makes you look stupider if you make a simple factual mistake.

My recent factual mistake

I’ll give you an example from my own recent writing.

I’m foremost a journalist.

I wrote a story about the United Kingdom and referred to Prime Minister Elizabeth May.


The UK Prime Minister at the time was Theresa May.

Elizabeth May is the leader of the Green Party of Canada.

Big error that wasn’t caught in the editing and fact checking process.

But the readers caught the error!

Had to scrape a bunch of egg off my face for that one.

Photo by Josiah Atkins on Unsplash

Writer’s block

Pretending the cursor is on fire works great for busting through writer’s block.

Start writing anything even if you don’t think it has any use.

Putting keys to keyboard or pen to paper and starting to write will help.

You might never use what you are writing, but that’s not the point.

It’s getting the words flowing from your brain into a document.

I find writing prompts help as they give you something to write about.

I would suggest the Poets & Writers Writing Prompts; they have fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction.

Pick one prompt, set a timer for 25 minutes, and start writing whatever comes to your mind.

It’s really that simple.

Final Thoughts

I burned through this story’s first draft in twenty minutes and it’s around 600 words.

That’s about 30 words a minute.

If you can do 30 words a minute, every twenty-five minutes you can produce 750 words.

That’s a great length for Medium stories to get a high read-ratio and lots of claps.

If you do two twenty-five minute sessions in a row with a five-minute break to stand up and stretch.

You will write 1500 words per hour.

Do that for four hours and you’ve written 6000 words.

Now that’s impressive!

I hope this helps you become a more productive writer.

Do you have any writing tips to write faster?

Please put them in the comments below…

Christopher Oldcorn is a writer and journalist. He holds a BA in Psychology from Laurentian University, and a post-grad in Research Analysis from Georgian College. Christopher studied at The Centre for Investigative Journalism (Goldsmiths, University of London). Recognized as a Top Writer in Government, Politics, Books, & Climate Change.

You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!


By Medium Partner Program Friends — a publication about what unites us all.

Christopher Oldcorn

Written by

A writer & journalist curious about the world. Published over one hundred stories in 20+ publications.


By Medium Partner Program Friends — a publication about what unites us all.

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