(1) Brainstorm before you write. DO NOT MAKE LISTS. Non-linear brainstorming with thought bubbles is explained in the book Writing the Natural Way.
(2) Use a WRITING FORMULA to structure your writing. One well-known one is W5, which stands for Who, What, Where, When, Why (and How). Here’s the awesome Ultimate Cheatsheet for Critical Thinking with eight questions per “W” or “H”… that’s 48 questions to spark your imagination (courtesy of global digital citizen foundation).
(3) Writing and editing use different parts of the brain. TURN OFF the computer’s spell checker when you write. Only TURN IT ON when it’s time to revise your text.
(4) One of the best tips I have read about editing your own work is to READ YOUR WORK BACKWARD. That’s right, read your writing from end to start. From back to front. Sentence by sentence. Or paragraph by paragraph. What does this do? It takes your writing out of context and it forces you to focus on the text itself, not the ideas. It prevents your mind from filling in what you think you wrote, instead of reading what’s really on the page.