This is very different from how I work, but it’s interesting so I thought I’d share it. Berit Brogaard at New APPS writes about ‘mental scripting’ before sitting down at the computer.
One thing I would say, of the approach mentioned at the beginning and then transformed through advice: don’t delete anything. Cut it and paste it into a different document. Call that ‘X discards’ when ‘X’ is the name of the working document. I don’t trust my own edits won’t throw away good stuff. The other thing I do is to save each document each day with a new name which is usually putting the date into the title of the file such as ‘X 16 Oct 2011’. Unless you have a graphic heavy text it doesn’t take much memory, and memory is cheap these days anyway. Then you can go back and rescue old formulations etc. at a later point. I don’t trust that the choices I make for rearrangement/reworking are always better. This point also holds for when you start making major edits at any point. Save the old version with a different name; save the new file and edit that. It works better – at least for me – than track changes or undo, because you can be selective. I think this also (perhaps especially) holds for the approach where you write at speed, having thought about it in detail in advance.