Tupac managed this astounding quantity by creating during extremely quick recording sessions. His combination of natural talent and high amount of practice meant that he could often express his words in one take.

When he messed up, he would fill in parts he missed with another track or layer of recording. Musician Shock G says:

He came in there and said it how he felt it, and he’d be gasping for air, a joint in his hand. Smoking weed and Newports all night, missing words here and there. So the way he would do it, was like the dotted-line principle. When he would gasp for air and miss a line, he’d put it on the next track, and maybe he caught that word. So he would triple his vocals to make sure every word was said.

Tupac quite literally filled in the gaps of his vocals. You can do something similar with your writing, or whatever you’re working on. Even though you might not get it perfect in one take like Tupac frequently did, you could complete it as soon as possible. The Game author Neil Strauss writes in a Reddit AMA:

And with the first draft, just write and don’t stop to edit. Get it all out.

When you’re done, somewhere in that mess of writing, will be your book.

Whenever you run into a sticking point (missing research, tip of the tongue words, too tired to think, etc.), mark the spot with a “TK”. (For example, “TK research Shock G’s bio,” or “TK rephrase (punchier).”)

Then, when you run through your first edit, use Tupac’s “dotted-line principle”—command+F or ctrl+F “TK” and fill in the gaps between your lines.

For me, it’s psychologically easier to edit something (or rewrite it), than to start from scratch. The momentum is already there and I can see the finish line.

Outlawz member Napolian recalls Tupac’s words: “Whatever you lay, we keepin it, go on to the next song. We don’t have time to play, we don’t have time to be on the song for 30 minutes.”

Similarly, if you’re writing, you don’t have time to get stuck. If you see a fundamental problem, shelf the idea temporarily. Work on something else and ship that. Let the original problem marinate in your subconscious. Think carefully and ship often.

Increased quantity means you also have more work to choose from. That means out of 50-80 tracks, you could pick 10-18 to make up an album. Out of 15-20 drafts, you can pick 3-5 to edit and publish further. Done properly and with enough quantity, it could improve your quality.

You will improve

When you’re starting out, your first drafts are going to be terrible. You’ll need to spend more time editing than you’d like. But at the very least, you will have something that you can publish if you really wanted to. You might also find that gem of an idea somewhere in your quick first draft. That’s a step in the right direction. British Poet Cecil Day-Lewis says:

First, I do not sit down at my desk to put into verse something that is already clear in my mind. If it were clear in my mind, I should have no incentive or need to write about it. We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand.

Before I sit down to write a draft, I take ten minutes to think about my idea. In order to focus my thinking before writing, I created a framework called the content canvas. I use it to make sure what I’m writing actually matters to the reader.

Seth Godin relates writing to talking. We never get talker’s block because we’re not afraid to speak poorly. Sometimes we’ll say things that sound great, and other times we’ll sound stupid. It’s the same with writing. He writes at his blog:

Writer’s block isn’t hard to cure.

Just write poorly. Continue to write poorly, in public, until you can write better.

I believe that everyone should write in public. Get a blog. Or use Squidoo or Tumblr or a microblogging site. Use an alias if you like. Turn off comments, certainly—you don’t need more criticism, you need more writing.

The thrill of publishing reinforces your writing momentum. Reader feedback will make your work better.

Most times, you just need to start the dotted line. It might not be perfect, but it make things better for tomorrow. And, more importantly, it could be enough of a foundation for a really great piece of work.

This post originally appeared at Medium.

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