Frank Chimero’s description of how he designs a poster:
I’m a big proponent of ‘once through, cleanly’. You think about your idea, sketch, then put some glue in your chair and bang it out in one sitting. All of my best work happens this way: posters, collages, essays, outlines for talks, and so on. The work seems to be more cohesive and the energy more concentrated and palpable. If you sit down and what you make is bunk, you walk away, come back later and start over. You don’t keep any of what you’ve done before, you only retain the memory of what went wrong. It’s a silly method, but it works for me.
This is how my best work comes, too: Everything I’ve done that’s good has come really fast and furious after a (seemingly endless) period of messing around and aborted attempts.
For the book I’m working on, in between drafts, I didn’t do any cutting and pasting: I started with a clean document each time, and retyped anything I was keeping from a (printed out) previous draft. This forced me to re-read everything and fix things up as I went. Every draft was start-to-finish, and each draft had a kind of momentum to it. This doesn’t mean there wasn’t a shitty first draft, just that I started each draft with clean potential.
As always: Everybody’s different. Whatever works.