The Writing Process: A Seven-Step Approach for Every Writer
We all follow a writing process when creating an article or any written content. In most cases, this process becomes a routine that comes naturally rather than a step-by-step guide.
However, following a step-by-step writing process can come in handy, especially when dealing with challenging pieces. In this post, we will discuss the seven-stage writing method that you can use for writing high quality content.
What is the Writing Process?
Writing process refers to a series of steps that you must follow in order for you to complete a piece of writing. Writers may have different writing methods, but the writing stages are essentially the same. These stages break writing into manageable pieces from planning, drafting, and sharing to revising, editing, and publishing. That way, the task seems less laborious.
The primary strength of the writing process is its usefulness in producing a wide range of content. Whether you’re an academic writer, blogger, or screenwriter, it helps you write better, easier, and faster.
Read More: The Best Copywriting Courses For Beginners
Why is the Writing Process Important?
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Having a writing process will help you break your writing tasks into manageable parts, making the work less intimidating. As a result, you’re less likely to experience writer’s block. It could also aid in reducing the anxiety and stress that comes with writing. Also, breaking down your writing work into different stages could ultimately improve content quality.
It will allow you to focus on your piece. That way, you can tailor your content to address the specific needs of your target audience.
We could think of writing in terms of merely producing materials for readers to enjoy. But there’s more to the story.
With the right approach, writers usually undergo three stages — thinking, learning, and discovery — to produce excellent pieces. And such authentic writing usually makes lifelong learners and versatile writers.
Writers must always follow a writing process to be efficient and more productive.
It does not matter whether you are writing a thesis, academic report, research paper, essay, or blog content. The more organize your ideas are when you present them in text, the more you will be able to connect with your readers.
What are the 7 Steps of the Writing Process?
The EEF’s “Improving Literacy in Key Stage 2” guidance report broke down the writing process into seven stages. This includes the planning, drafting, sharing, evaluating, revising, editing, and publishing stages. As writers become adept in these stages, they can quickly move back and forth, revising their text along the way. In other words, writing is not a linear process.
1. Planning or Prewriting
The planning or prewriting stage involves brainstorming, which takes into account your writing purpose and goal. It’s also the stage to connect your ideas using graphic organizers. The prewriting stage is when you ask the following questions:
- What will I write?
- What is the intended purpose of the writing?
- Who is the audience for your writing?
You need to do intent research to better understand what your target readers need. For instance, if you are writing for the web, you can take advantage of Google-Related Questions to know what the people are searching for online in relation to your topic.
Answering these questions ensures that you start your writing with the end in mind. Furthermore, you’ll be able to see your writing project through your audience’s eyes.
2. Create Your First Draft
Before your content is ready for publishing, you must have created a couple of drafts.
Thanks to the drafting process, you can write freely from the beginning to the end. What’s more, it provides a way to quickly draw from your outline or list of main plot points — depending on your writing process.
You could also use these stages to establish word count goals to get a rough idea of the project duration. This is especially important for creative writers such as novelists.
3. Share Your First Draft
After completing the first draft, it’s time to take a break and share the text with others.
While it may sound a bit scary at first, the feedback will help you evaluate elements of your writing. These include the composition, structure, and overall effectiveness.
Consider sharing your first draft in the following places:
- Your email list — if you have one
- Online writing groups and forums
- Social media groups for writers
- Social media group for a specific genre
In the end, you’ll know whether your first draft fulfills the intended purpose and appeal to your audience. The feedback also tells you if your writing is clear, enjoyable, and easy to read.
4. Evaluate Your Draft
This writing process involves doing a full evaluation of your first draft.
At this stage, you have to take the feedback that you’ve received into account. It’s also an excellent opportunity to address possible mistakes with grammar or mechanics.
For fiction writers, this writing stage allows you to ask whether the readers like your main character. Likewise, non-fiction writers have to ask if their content addresses their audience’s questions.
After evaluating your work, you can move to the revision stage of writing.
5. Revising Your Draft
Revision involves making changes to your work based on the feedback you received and thorough evaluation. This writing process is especially useful for fiction writers.
Along with correcting structural problems in your story, it also allows you to find loose ends and tie them up. You can also add or remove content to improve your write-up’s flow and usefulness.
When you’re done revising, you’ll have a new draft that takes you closer to your writing goal.
At this point, your newest revision becomes your latest draft. After that, you may opt to edit your own work using a content writing and editing tool like INK or hire a professional editor.
6. Editing your Content
The editing aspect of the writing process is about eliminating possible errors in your revised content. These include elements that can affect your text’s accuracy, clarity, and readability.
The editing process also addresses misquoted content, factual errors, awkward phrasing, and unnecessary repetition. Not only does good editing make your work easier, but it also makes the text more enjoyable.
Specialized writing tools such as INK could prove useful for editing web content. But it’s best to avoid self-editing for books. Consider hiring a professional editor for novels and non-fiction books.
7. Publishing your Content
The last stage of the writing process involves sharing your text with your audience.
There are various ways to publish your content, depending on the content type. For example, you can share your book using self-publishing platforms such as Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and CreateSpace.
Whatever the writing may be, the writing processes outlined above will help you create an excellent piece.
What is the Most Important Step in the Writing Process?
Educators have not reached a consensus on the most important writing process. Some would argue that the prewriting stage is the most critical for completing a piece of writing.
After all, brainstorming is required to create an idea that’ll eventually become the content. Besides, writers can use the prewriting stage to avoid or overcome writer’s block.
Meanwhile, educators at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill believe that the revision stage is the most critical. It’s when a piece of writing undergoes the most changes.
It could entail increasing the word count to supply as much information as possible. You could also rearrange some aspect of the manuscript to improve the content’s flow, pacing, and sequence.
Read More: 10 Effective Content Writing Techniques for Beginners
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The Creative Writing Process
Creative writing can serve many purposes in both your personal and professional life. It helps develop imagination and serves as an outlet for people to express themselves consistently. Within your career, creative writing can help you discover your strengths, learn to give and take constructive criticism and help improve your communication skills and thought development.
In this article, we explore what creative writing is and review some foundational creative writing tips to help you use your skills to advance your career.
What is creative writing?
Creative writing is any type of writing that requires imagination or invention to express an idea uniquely. Creative writing often focuses on the development of narrative, poetry or drama, but it can also include nonfiction writing in a professional setting. It is different from informational writing, which aims to convey an idea directly and concisely.
Creative writing often uses many literary devices such as figurative language and imagery to help convey a message in an entertaining way by reaching the audience on a deeper level. Creative writing is process-focused and aims to fully develop and communicate an idea to your audience in an original way.
Practicing these skills can help you approach your work more effectively and excel in a creative writing career.
Parts of creative writing
At the core of any type of writing, including creative writing, is the ability to communicate an idea effectively. When writing creatively for work, consider what your message is and how you can express your idea in a way that highlight’s your company’s message. Some foundational elements of creative writing include:
Characterization: In works of prose and nonfiction, characters are the participants in the story. Through detailed description, an author develops their characters, and their actions propel the plot of the story forward. How invested readers become in a story depends on the author’s ability to craft believable characters and create a story an audience can relate to.
Realism: Readers must be willing participants to submit to the ideas you have crafted as an author, poet or playwright. You can help your readers accept your story more readily if you make sure it includes a degree of realism. A character’s actions must be authentic and agree with the personality and identity that you’ve crafted for them.
Setting: The setting of a work of fiction or nonfiction is where and when the main action takes place. The setting of a creative writing piece can be grand and detailed or sparse and simple. Your setting should work to support the overall message and emotions conveyed by your piece.
Tone: The tone is how you use language and specific word choice to communicate your attitude toward the topic or ideas contained in the writing. The tone is a strong indicator of the theme of your piece and helps guide your audience toward an opinion about the ideas within it.
Mood: Mood refers to how the words chosen by the writer make the audience feel toward the subject or characters. It is a reader’s emotional response to the topic or characters in a creative writing piece.
Structure and plot: The structure of a piece includes the expositions, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution. It encompasses the typical pattern of any narrative in which a conflict arises and must be solved. In most cases, the structure will help to indicate the purpose of your creative writing and will support the message you intend on conveying to your audience.
Point of view: The point of view is the lens or perspective from which the story is being told. Although there are several different points of view, the consistent voice who is narrating or filtering the information for the audience will influence the message and the audience’s perspective, opinion and experience.
Resolution: When writing a compelling story or article, the resolution is where all the questions are answered for the audience and storylines find a conclusion that matches the events of the piece up to this point.
Theme: The theme is the message of your creative piece. It can be explicitly stated or implied from the different literary elements you’ve included in your writing. The theme is the idea that you wish to convey to your readers about a particular topic.
Types of creative writing
Creative writing is an imaginative process that can encompass many different types of writing that are original and innovative. Although not limited to these, some typical examples of creative writing are:
7 Creative Writing Steps to Improve Your Craft
As a writer, having ideas is one of the most important parts of your craft. But finding the right creative writing steps often it seems like one of the most difficult and challenging parts of the whole process.
How do you keep ideas flowing? How do you create a wealth of ideas to choose from? How do you make sure you get to the one killer idea that will make your advert, novel, article or blog post really stand out from the rest?
Some people like to wait for inspiration to strike. Most professional writers, however, don’t have that luxury. You need ideas every working day, not just every now and then.
Luckily, there is a formula for producing ideas on a consistent basis. Of course, like all formulas, it has its limits. You can’t constrain creativity, and to only ever use one method for coming up with ideas would be utter madness.
But if you need to produce strong and creative ideas regularly as part of your writing career, then it pays to know the formula, and how to use it.
First of all, what is an idea? Well, according to James Webb Young in his book ‘A Technique for Producing Ideas’, first published in the 1940s:
“An idea is nothing more nor less than a new combination of old elements.”
So how do you combine old elements into new? Luckily, Young tells us:
“The capacity to bring old elements into new combinations depends largely on the ability to see relationships.”
Young says the ability to see relationships between facts is the most important factor in coming up with ideas. This, he says, is a habit of mind “which can be cultivated.”
How do you cultivate it? By reading widely, taking an active interest in life, the world, people around you, a wide variety of subjects and areas of study.
There is also a formula, however, a five step plan which Young outlined in his book. By adding two more steps, you can complete a virtuous circle with a feedback loop that refines and extends your creativity.
So, the seven creative writing steps to generate ideas are:
Step 1 – Gather your information
Information is the raw material from which ideas are born. There are two types of relevant information, specific and general.
General information includes just about anything and everything, and gathering it is a lifelong exercise. It basically comes down to general knowledge and education, and can be cultivated through the usual channels: reading widely and having an active interest in life and the world around you, and in particular in people, how they live, what they think and how they behave.
Specific information is directly relevant to the topic in hand. You clearly need to get all the specific information you can lay your hands on. If you’re writing an advert for a product or service, you would expect the client to come up with most of it, although you’ll probably want to do some of you own research as well. If you’re writing a blog post on a topic, you’ll need to gather your information from far and wide.
These days, gathering information is a much faster process thanks to the internet. The down side to that is you’ll need to be judicious, and discard that which isn’t really relevant. Otherwise, you’re likely to get overwhelmed during step 2, where you have to sift the information.
Step 2 – Sift the information
Work over the information, turning it over and around until you see how it all fits together. A direct pursuit of ‘meaning’ might be counterproductive. You may need to try a subtle approach, and sneak up on the topic, looking at things from various angles.
If small snippets of ideas start coming to you at this stage, write them down, even if they seem crazy.
The more you turn and sift the information, the better you understand it, the easier it will be to see and really understand the relationships. And the more ideas you will have.
Step 3 – Let the information bubble
The next stage is to let the information bubble away for a while, keep it on simmer in your mind. You need to let your unconscious mind work on it for a time. It’s a good idea to do something else for a while, to stimulate your imagination and emotions. Try reading, listening to music, meditate, go for a walk, while your mind digests the facts.
Or you could try the traditional approach – take a warm bath and wait for the eureka moment.
Step 4 – Eureka! Let the ideas flow
It’s at this stage that ideas should start to appear, as if from ‘nowhere’. This is where you hope for a ‘Eureka’ moment. The answer to your problem may appear to leap into your mind for no apparent reason.
But what if it doesn’t come? You keep going, writing down the best ideas you can come up with. If your ideas aren’t strong enough yet, don’t panic, because you’ll get to have another go at this part of the process. So take the very best ideas you can come up with, and move on to step five.
Step 5 – Shape and develop your idea
Now your idea needs to be shaped and molded, turned into something real. This where your writing skills come to the fore.
Step 6 – Share your idea
Now show your idea to others and see what they think. They may be able to add to it and make it better. That may spark new ideas, and so the process becomes ever more creative.
Step 7 – Rinse and repeat
If necessary, use the feedback you got in step 6, and add that to the information you gathered in step 1. Now repeat step 2, sifting the new information with the existing facts. Then repeat steps 3, 4, 5 and 6.
Keep it going, until you have the best idea you can come up with, or you hit the deadline, and have to go with what you have developed so far.
So, the good news is that you can learn to be more creative and have stronger ideas. You:
- Gather the information
- Sift it
- Let it percolate
- Let the ideas flow
- Shape and mold the ideas
- Share them with others
- Put the feedback into the loop; and repeat the process to strengthen your ideas.
That’s the good news. The bad news is, despite what I said at the start about the importance of ideas – and don’t get me wrong they are important – despite that, the truth is that having ideas is the easy part of writing.
Yes, ideas are easy. It’s the execution that is truly difficult, that’s where the real genius lies. And you can only master the craft of writing through hard work and long, steady perseverance.