Writing may not be a science, but it certainly involves a process. The writing process is all about taking a course of action to create compelling content.
This post is for bloggers and writers, or anyone who primarily has to create and deal with content.
A writing process helps you choose and define the writing methods, perfect your content, and impress your clients and readers with impeccable quality.
However, what happens if you do not follow the procedure prescribed for writing?
Your content suffers, and as a result, not only your readers but even the search engines don’t take much interest in it.
Since content is the king, you need to give it a royal treatment and follow the ideal steps of creation to improve your content.
The first step is to understand the writing process.
“The most difficult and complicated part of the writing process is the beginning.” ~ A. B. Yehoshua
What Is The Writing Process
Probably you first learned about the process of writing at school, but many writers follow it naturally without even knowing about it.
A writing process is nothing but a series of overlapping steps that you must follow to produce a piece of writing.
When you are in your creative process of writing, you don’t think about steps. I don’t do that either as I tend to write free flow, keeping a few basic steps in mind.
However, it really helps by breaking down the entire process of writing into comprehensible steps.
You understand the process of writing better this way, do not miss out on any element of good writing, and overcome writer’s block.
Let’s try to understand the process of writing through the analogy of an industrial process.
You can consider ideas as the raw material, which undergo different stages of fabrication and modification to produce the final product, the written content.
The writing process here is the amalgam of different stages of transformation of content ideas into the final compelling content.
The process of writing is the creation and improvisation of content in an organized and systematic way.
However, unlike the industrial process, it is entirely creative and its steps can change at any given time.
“My writing process is very organic. I start with an idea. I have the general story arc and the cast. But then I sit down to write, and things change.” ~ Sarah Addison Allen
Steps Of The Writing Process
The writing process though often described as having five stages, in fact, cannot be explained in a linear form with a fixed number of steps.
The steps involved in the process of writing can vary, depending on the kind of content and the writer himself or herself, along with other various conditions.
The generally followed steps of writing process are:
To properly carry out and complete each step, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
– Why do you want to write the content?
– What do you want to convey?
– Who will be reading your content?
You will have to keep questioning yourself and your process of writing to know if you’re on the right track, like:
– Am I developing the ideas in the right way?
– Is the order of ideas correct?
– Does it all make good sense?
– What can I do to make it more effective?
– And more.
But foremost, you should ask if your ideas serve your purpose and whether the resulting content will be useful.
Well, after you answer the questions, you should follow the below mentioned points to make these steps of the writing process effective.
1. Prewrite (Thinking Stage)
– define your goal
– decide your audience
– choose a topic
– gather and organize your ideas
2. Draft (Writing Stage)
– write your ideas down on paper
– create the outline and heading
– don’t worry about editing or making mistakes – just write!
– explore new ideas as you write
3. Revise (Improving Stage)
– add details and ideas
– delete ideas that are off topic
– rearrange sentences or parts of sentences
– consult with peer readers, if possible
4. Edit (Correcting Stage)
– check spelling mistakes
– fix punctuation mistakes
– undo capitalization mistakes
– correct other grammar mistakes
5. Publish (Sharing Stage)
– choose a format
– neatly print, type, and save the final draft
– add audio or visuals
– give it a final read
These steps may further be divided into sub-steps, or overlap each other, or even follow an irregular repetitive pattern.
The writing process of different writers may show different patterns, but it all starts and ends with the same steps.
Here is a diagram that shows different writing steps some writers follow.
As you observed, essentially writing starts with your thoughts. It is your idea that gives birth to your piece of content.
Foremost, you need to brainstorm, either all by yourself or with your team to decide on the theme, objective, desired results, the format, and tone, etc.
You need to have a writing strategy, which is all about preparing a systematic plan of action.
If you want to know more, then you can read my guest post about writing strategies to create compelling content.
The writing strategies act like a road-map that never lets you get lost, helps creates guidelines, and provides a structure to your ideas.
As per your writing strategy, you might first jot down all the ideas and create an outline of the content.
Then you keep writing, revising, rewriting, revising again. Sometime you might even decide to change your outline and direction altogether in the middle of your writing, and then repeat the entire process.
It is good if you can sleep over your written content or give it some resting time, and revise with a fresh pair of eyes.
“The writing process is a constant cycle of thinking, drafting, and reviewing.” (Tweet this)
Most of the authors, bloggers, and writers follow this process of writing – nobody gets it right the first time!
So, don’t shy away from writing a several drafts because with each revision, you improve your content.
Here is a flow diagram that shows how dynamic the writing process is – you have many changes and considerations at each step.
Now, as you have read all about the writing process, do you think it is easy?
I am always surprised when I read that writers can churn out an article in a few minutes!
More so, some clients expect the writers to deliver a 1000-word well-researched article in an hour!
Do you think it is possible to produce content so quickly if you follow the entire writing process properly? Of course not.
I don’t think you can ever get the quality if you try to quicken or shorten the writing process.
“If writing didn’t require thinking then we’d all be doing it.” ~ Jeremiah Laabs
My Writing Process
When I start writing, the paper or document appears as a blank canvas. It is exciting as it is an opportunity to create something from scratch.
Honestly, sometimes viewing a blank page could even cause anxiety, but that is if you do not plan your work in advance.
However, you don’t have to worry if you follow a writing process. Being a blogger and writer, that’s just what I follow most of the time.
The task of content creation seems challenging, but that is what I love. Let me share with you my process of writing.
I try to brainstorm and contemplate to come up with a seed idea.
Then I think about how I can develop the idea and create a story around it considering my content needs.
Next, I create a title to reflect my content theme. I can always modify this later, if required.
Now I make a rough outline of the headings and sub-headings to give a structure to my ideas. This is all the pre-writing stuff.
Then comes the drafting stage, in which all I’ve to do is fill up this structure with relevant content. I use my knowledge, personal experience, and research for this purpose.
I keep revising and re-reading the content as I write. That’s because I usually write long and want the different content sections to remain connected in a logical order. (If you wish, you can keep the revision for last.)
In the process, I also get new ideas that I insert in the first draft. As I get an idea – I jot it down, and don’t let it go!
Ideas are too valuable and that’s why you need to stay alert and focused because you never know when one comes to you!
Slowly I keep on adding brick by brick to make the entire structure. I feel like a potter sometimes, who molds the clay into various forms before giving it a final shape.
Once I have written to the best of my ability and added all I could gather to help my readers, I start polishing the content structure by editing and proof reading.
Next I reread and revise the content many times to spot the errors, though I am never satisfied as I feel it can always become better.
Then, I add, delete, change the words and sentences, or sometime restructure and re-position entire paragraphs to enhance the flow of the article.
Reading the content aloud or in your mind helps you to keep a check on the tone and choice of words.
Overall, I make sure the entire content is cohesive and coherent, meaningful and useful, relevant and resourceful, and engaging and interesting.
The entire process takes hours, and even more if you have to choose the images, quotes, and create a beautiful and impressive layout, especially for bloggers.
Finally, you publish the post if you’re a blogger, or deliver the article if you’re a freelance writer.
Who said writing or blogging was easy?
However, if you understand and carry out the writing process in the right way, you can create compelling content each time.
When your content is ready and published, and people like it, your efforts are paid off by reading their wonderful comments. What more would a blogger or writer want?
You don’t mind sweating for it because that’s the labor of love – your love of writing and the process of creation.
The result is sweeter if you’re able to implement the writing process and improve your content, which you really do.
Don’t wait any longer, start processing your writing in the way discussed in this post and make your articles or blog posts successful!
“Anyone who says writing is easy isn’t doing it right.” ~ Amy Joy
Over to You –
What is the writing process you follow? How do you create or improve your content? Share in the comments.
Posted on: May 27th, 2014
Last Updated on: May 27th, 2014