Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Writing Process

Some time ago someone had the bright idea to interview good writers to find out why they were good at writing.

What was discovered was that good writers tend to follow similar steps or procedures when they write, even though they go about their business of writing in their own individual ways. It's really quite simple: do a better job at each stage of writing, and you writing improves!

a good idea, a purpose, a plan, an audience

Where do good ideas come from? At the very least, they come from a mind that is not dull or sleepy. Lively ideas come from lively minds, minds that are capable of developing an idea into a fully realized piece of writing. The first pre-writing activity is to prepare the mind. After that, there are pre-writing strategies that increase efficiency and effectiveness once writing begins.

the sloppy copy, letting the ideas flow

The first two stages of writing, pre-writing and drafting, are about letting ideas flow, about letting go and getting the words onto the paper (or the computer screen). Write down the ideas, get the first draft out of your head and into existence. Then the rough draft is real! It is no longer an idea. It is written down, one time through--and even if it is not the best writing, it is something that can be improved.

good writing is rewriting; practice makes perfect

Once the piece of writing is complete, then it can be changed in the light of the wholeness of the message. The parts can be changed in relation to the whole. There are three ways to change a rough draft: add something, take something out, or substitute new words for those in the rough draft. Some writers revise a written piece many times.

writer meets reader--the common ground of writing conventions

Eventually someone else will read what you have written, so at some point the piece needs to be checked to make sure it fits the rules of what people expect. As a writer, it is also sad but true that people will judge the quality of your ideas by the quality of your proofreading. If your spelling is weak, some people will think that your ideas are weak.

game day, win or lose, the idea grows up and is now an independent

It's one thing for you to like what you've written, but eventually you will have to place the piece before its intended audience to be read. The more real or authentic the audience, the more useful the feedback to you as the writer.

I'll be posting articles on each of the steps of the writing process. Each step or stage is unique but only significant in terms of the whole process. A great idea that is set aside is of no purpose. It must be written, improved, polished, and published. Then you are a writer; your words impact the lives of others. You are the creator--with all the joys and responsibilities entailed with that status.

Copyright 2009 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved


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