Energize Your Writing And Increase Your Output

Energize Your Writing And Increase Your Output



Every writer can benefit from a​ study of​ the​ effectiveness of​ their individual writing process. You can write more and you can write better by making some adjustments in​ your writing strategy.

Recently one of​ my writer friends complained about their declining word output.

"I spend more time at​ the​ computer than I ever did before and I'm just not producing like I used to,​" she griped.

After spending a​ day in​ writing conferences coaching my struggling novice writers,​ my response came without conscious thought on​ my part: "Tell me about your writing process."

"My what?" She asked.

Ah-ha!

I regularly coach my beginning writers about how to​ develop their own personal writing strategy or​ process and as​ a​ teacher of​ writing I think about mine quite often,​ but the​ more I thought about it​ the​ more I realized that experienced,​ professional writers rarely spend time talking about this critical element.

What a​ mistake!

It is​ easy to​ understand why. Many of​ us are simply too busy writing to​ think too much about the​ actual process. we​ have deadlines to​ meet,​ assignments to​ pursue,​ and pitches to​ create. When we​ do spend time with other writers our interactions typically fall into three categories--seeking admiration for our success,​ input for our end product,​ or​ escape from writing.

Many writers also take their writing process for granted and simply follow the​ old adage--if it​ ain't broke,​ don't fix it. But what happens when it​ does break down as​ it​ did with my friend? if​ you don't understand your own writing process then you can't fix it. And just like many of​ the​ machines in​ your life,​ regular maintenance checks just might prevent a​ major breakdown in​ the​ future.

My friend's problem was easily identified and solved once we​ actually studied her writing process and writing life. Yes she was spending more time in​ front of​ the​ computer but she had lost a​ big chunk of​ her prewriting time due to​ changes in​ her home life. Once she understood that problem she was able to​ make adjustments to​ her schedule and she is​ seeing her daily word count rising back to​ her old levels.

So how is​ your writing process?

Many writers shy away from the​ term as​ it​ brings back fearful memories of​ a​ rigid structure forced on​ them in​ school. That is​ not what I want to​ talk about at​ all. Frankly,​ I always teach my students that there is​ no such as​ thing as​ the​ writing process.

Don't get me wrong. I believe we​ each have our own individual writing process,​ I just don't believe in​ the​ one-size-fits-all type strategy that many writers were force-fed. Just think about it. How could there be just one writing process--every writer I know is​ an​ individual with various strengths and weaknesses and personality traits. Every writer is​ wired differently from every other writer. That is​ one of​ the​ things that makes reading such a​ pleasure. it​ follows very logically then that every writing process should differ just as​ every writer differs.

Having said that I should point out that although the​ actual shape and form of​ each writing process is​ individual to​ the​ unique writer there are certain constants:

~ Generating ideas and choosing a​ focus
~ Organizing those ideas
~ Writing
~ Revising
~ Editing

The amount of​ time you spend on​ each stage of​ the​ writing process varies according to​ the​ writer and the​ task and this is​ especially true for me. Many writing tasks are so familiar to​ me that I spend very little time choosing a​ focus or​ organizing my ideas so I can leap write into writing. On the​ other hand I often generate four or​ more pages of​ fiction in​ about an​ hour at​ the​ computer because I spend a​ lot of​ time generating and organizing my ideas before I sit down.

I have spent years honing my personal writing process and know that the​ step I actually spend the​ least amount of​ time is​ writing. I have learned to​ let my creative juices flow and not to​ worry about such petty concerns as​ grammar,​ sentence structure,​ and word choice. I rarely waste a​ moment on​ organization or​ paragraphing. I just let the​ words flow through my fingerstips until I have emptied my budget. Then I hit save and print,​ tidy up my papers and set them aside.

Revision is​ usually the​ lion's share of​ my writing process. it​ may take me two or​ three drafts to​ reorganize and shape a​ piece until I am willing to​ share it​ with others. Depending on​ how difficult and/or complex the​ subject then I may need to​ loop back through brainstorming,​ organizing and writing to​ improve my project. I may make a​ few minor adjustments to​ grammar or​ spelling or​ sentence structure,​ but primarily I concentrate on​ the​ larger issues of​ focus and development and organization.

When I am finally satisfied my article,​ chapter,​ or​ essay is​ working as​ a​ whole then I begin the​ actual editing process of​ cleaning up word choice and sentence structure and any other stray problems that have been overlooked. I usually spend only one draft on​ this actual process.

If you are serious about improving your writing quality and productivity then you need to​ spend time analyzing your personal writing process. You might be surprised by what you learn--and I know you can put the​ knowledge to​ good use.




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