Fast, Bad and Wrong

I learned this writing tactic from a podcast, and hope it’s as helpful to you as it has been to me:

If you can’t get started writing something – or if you get stuck – just concentrate on writing fast, bad, and wrong. 

The acronym for this is “FBR.”  Even the acronym is wrong!

From the podcast:

“Write fast, write bad, and write wrong. Terrible style, terrible grammar, terrible word choice, wrong facts, and that liberates you.  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.”

Here’s what I do: just start writing, and then just keep going. 

You can describe what you are trying to write.  You can get a few stray thoughts out of your head.  You can write the end before the middle.

But don’t edit now.  Just keep going.  The magic happens after you’ve been writing for a moment or three. 

All the sudden, a helpful thought occurs.  Then a sentence arrives.  Before you know it, a pretty good paragraph just happened.

That will happen a few more times. 

Then you have enough of those to where you know the rough structure of whatever you’re writing. 

And once you know the main ideas and the structure, the rest is connective tissue. 

Then go back and edit out the junk that helped you get there. 

FBR works for emails to co-workers, too. 

Here’s something crazy; it works for making plans.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down with teammates and clients to figure something out.  If we’re not getting anywhere, and I have a vaguest sense of an idea, I just say that I have an FBR plan to throw out to get us started. More often than you’d think, a great plan gets iterated out of the mud I threw on the wall. 

The FBR approach removes the fear from taking the first step because it lowers the stakes.  And the second and third steps are always easier than the first.      

The next time you’re writing a piece of fundraising and you’re stuck, think FBR, get started, and keep going.  You, your beneficiaries, and your donors will be glad you did! 


Steven Screen is Co-Founder of The Better Fundraising Company and lead author of its blog. With over 25 years' fundraising experience, he gets energized by helping organizations understand how they can raise more money. He’s a second-generation fundraiser, a past winner of the Direct Mail Package of the Year, and data-driven.

One comment on “Fast, Bad and Wrong

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *