It always surprises people when I tell them that punctuation is one of the last things I think about when writing. Sure, I want things to be correct (although that desire brings its own baggage), but while I'm drafting I'm not futzing over whether I need a comma somewhere or whether a semicolon or period is justified. I just write. I wish more people would follow my lead.
Because too often when it comes to punctuation (and its kissing cousins, spelling, grammar and usage) trying to execute those things correctly while we're trying to get ideas out of our heads and on to the page can stop us in our tracks. We lose the momentum and sometimes even the train of thought because we shift out of idea processing to transactional processing. Make all the mistakes you want in your draft to let your brain think through the content. Then fix them later with your brain keenly focused on finding mistakes, not great ideas.
Can you break the habit? I think you can.
- The Great Debate: Do I need a comma there? (our most-read post EVER)
- Grammar, perfectionism and dominant culture (though written about grammar, the same thing applies to punctuation)
- Punctuation tip: ONE SPACE after a period