While I’m writing my first draft, I occasionally make notes for my future edits. Notes to a future self if you will. Usually, they aren’t very detailed. Rather, quick thoughts and feelings about a paragraph, a piece of information, or something I might need to double check.
Then, there are the notes that read Mind Vomit.
Anytime I put “Mind Vomit” in a note, it essentially tells my future self that a piece of writing is so awful, it’ll likely need to be entirely re-written. Read it again, future self, and decide if you want to remove it or not.
Why do I do this?
Most of my edits are purely instinctual. If something reads or sounds weird, I fix it on the second, third, and fourth go around. However, sometimes my instincts are very, very wrong. Also, honestly, sometimes I get lazy and don’t critique my work very hard.
By putting Mind Vomit as a note, I’m giving my future self a heads up that this stuff is so bad, you need to read it again and again and again. And you need to get it right.
To be fair, pretty much everything in a first draft is mind vomit. You’re throwing down sludge on a page faster than you can chug a gallon of milk.
But, there’s First Draft Mind Vomit and then, there’s the kind of awful, pitiful, and embarrassing mind vomit that needs addressing. It also warns about potential parts that were not as thought out as others. Sometimes when you’re in the writing flow, you put things down which either might not add up or doesn’t read well. Putting down a Mind Vomit note helps send out red flags. Beware all ye who enter here.
So, all that to say, do yourself a favor and warn your future self. He’ll thank you.