If you think there is no process to writing, think again. You may feel that there is a flow that you just follow naturally, but there are 5 steps that are involved in the writing process and if you keep them in mind as you write, you may find this activity much easier.
- Deciding What to Write About
Unless an idea has just come to you automatically and inspired you to write, most of us need to look for inspiration. You can get ideas by:
- Doing research online on a topic you like.
- Writing about something you know well, like your own life of past experience.
- Keeping a notebook of ideas that come to you as reference for later.
Once you have the idea, you must expand on it to make sure it has the content to be a compelling article, story or book. Try a brain dump of just writing about the topic until you can’t think of anything else, this is called “free writing”. Or, brainstorm by thinking about what sub-topics arise when you think about your main idea.
Finally, get a basic structure in mind as to what order you will convey your ideas, message points and sub-topics.
- Writing the First Draft
With the plan you’ve just outlined above, write a first draft. At this point you’re not focused on length or spelling and punctuation, just keep writing. You will have many drafts. You may find it helpful to:
Set aside dedicated time to write (like 30 minutes at a time); Find a place to write where interruptions will be minimal; and disconnect yourself from your internet or email program, if you write on the computer.
- Making Changes
This is the stage where you will Add, Rearrange, Remove or Replace items that are not working.
The editing process is where you will very closely read the individual sentences and words. It will take time to go through your piece line by line, but as you do, you’re ensuring that each sentence, phrase and word is as strong as possible. Be sure that you haven’t used the same word too many times in one sentence or paragraph or included overused words like “just” “quite”, “very”, “really” and “generally”.
The final step of the writing process is publishing the piece. If this is a blog, you’ll post to your account online. Journalists, fiction writers and students will all have different steps and guidelines to follow depending on the project.
No matter if you write on the computer or use a comfort pen to jot those ideas down pen to paper, if you follow these five stages of the writing process you’ll have a solid framework for writing well and keeping that creative flow.
I’d love to know what process you use to write. Please leave you comments below on this blog post. Thank you!