The acronym that changed how I write

The acronym that changed how I write


Table of contents

When writing these blog posts, I often run into writer’s block. Confronted with a blank canvas on whatever writing app I’m trying that week, I sit like a lemon and sometimes stare at the screen for hours before anything gets done.

But recently I came across a concept that’s changed the way I write. I came across it in an episode of the Tim Ferriss Show where he’s interviewing Safi Bahcall, a physicist-and-writer. Safi talks about how there are 3 modes of writing - hunting, drafting and editing. In the drafting stage, where we want to be chucking our ideas down on paper as fast as possible, it’s easy to get caught up in perfectionism and therefore not get anything done.

The solution is to write FBR. FBR stands for Fast, Bad, Wrong.

Write fast, write bad, and write wrong. Terrible style, terrible grammar, terrible word choice, wrong facts, and that liberates you. That liberates you to follow the narrative thread and just keep going and going with it. And don’t stop and backtrack, because every time you stop, it’s like a car going down the highway - it’s easy to stop, but then you have to spend all this fuel to get back up to speed, and you might not get there. You discover that start writing, and start pulling on that narrative thread, it’s really surprising where it goes. But only if you go fast. Not if you go slow.

Since coming across this acronym, I’ve found it much easier to write these posts and even to plan videos. I just tell myself ‘write FBR’ and that gives me permission to write from the heart, to say whatever pops into my head without any regard for whether it’s ‘good’ or not. Then, at a later date, I edit the first draft, and even if I thought it was pretty crap the first time around, I find that when I read it with a fresh set of eyes, it’s not as bad as I thought.

I think the FBR approach works great for any type of creative endeavour. Often we want to separate the first draft from the later editing stages, but our perfectionist tendencies prevent us from making headway. Even for stuff like starting a YouTube channel, or starting a blog - if we tell ourselves that our first 50 videos or articles are going to be FBR, it makes it infinitely easier to get started.

Browse Topics

Sunday Snippets

Sign up for Sunday Snippets - my weekly newsletter where I share actionable productivity tips, practical life advice, and high-quality insights from across the web, directly to your inbox.

Join 157,912 friendly readers

Join 157,912 friendly subscribers getting Sunday Snippets every week

You've successfully subscribed to Ali Abdaal
Welcome! You are now a Ali Abdaal subscriber.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! You are now a paying member and have access to all content.
Success! Your billing info is updated.
Billing info update failed.