The Most Important Rule Of Writing

The Most Important Rule Of Writing



I just finished a​ set of​ conferences with my students which inspired me to​ write about the​ most important rule of​ writing -- writing is​ a​ process.

So many of​ difficulties struggling writers face occur when they ignore this simple rule. Once you embrace the​ fact that writing is​ a​ process rather than an​ event,​ once you recognize that the​ more time you give the​ process to​ work the​ better,​ then not only will writing be easier you will also write better.

Writing is​ a​ process. While that process varies somewhat based on​ the​ task and the​ individual writer,​ the​ basic steps it​ includes are the​ same no matter what.

First is​ the​ initial brainstorming process. No actual writing takes place in​ this step although there may be some note taking or​ non-stop writing exercises. the​ more time you give yourself for this process then the​ easier the​ next step will be. Experiment with various forms of​ brainstorming and prewriting to​ determine which works best for you and your various writing tasks. What may work in​ one type of​ writing may not work as​ well with another. the​ more you experiment then the​ more likely you will find the​ optimum brainstorming process for you.

Second is​ the​ drafting process. That first rough draft should be a​ quick and painless draft. Your main goal at​ this point is​ simply to​ capture the​ fruits of​ your brainstorming in​ one document. Just write until you have tapped your brain. Do not hold yourself back by rewriting,​ revising,​ or​ editing. Do not pause to​ worry about spelling,​ grammar,​ punctuation,​ or​ word choice. if​ you are conscious that you will need to​ fill in​ gaps then simply hit return twice (my usual technique) or​ write in​ all caps MORE LATER then move on. the​ important goal at​ this point is​ simply to​ capture your ideas in​ one place as​ quickly as​ possible. it​ does not have to​ be pretty and likely it​ will not be pretty,​ but it​ will be done.

Third is​ the​ revision process. This should take more than one draft to​ accomplish. Again,​ do not spend time worrying about spelling,​ grammar,​ punctuation,​ revising or​ editing. Fix the​ obvious errors that are distracting to​ you as​ you rework but that is​ not your main goal. Your main goal with this part of​ the​ process is​ to​ look at​ the​ big picture. is​ your thesis clear and well supported? Are your ideas well organized and fully developed? Are there any gaps in​ the​ writing or​ logic? Do your ideas transition well from one to​ another?

Fourth is​ the​ editing process. Now is​ the​ time to​ worry about spelling,​ grammar,​ punctuation,​ and word choice. Zoom in​ your focus from the​ big picture to​ the​ sentence and paragraph level. This effort may take one or​ more drafts to​ polish your writing to​ the​ desired level.

If you are creating a​ more in-depth project then you may also need to​ add a​ step between brainstorming and drafting that includes research and organization which would make the​ writing process include five steps.

The most important part of​ creating your own individual writing process is​ to​ let it​ evolve as​ your skill grows. the​ more you refine and polish your process then the​ better the​ work you produce. the​ key to​ developing a​ successful writing process it​ to​ give yourself time -- time to​ let your process evolve and time to​ let your writing develop. This means not to​ rush the​ development of​ your writing process. Let it​ evolve over many different projects. This also means not to​ rush your actual writing. Allow days to​ pass between various stages and drafts. the​ more time you allow to​ pass then the​ more work your subconscious will do for you and the​ fresher eyes you will be able to​ bring to​ the​ project.

I promise that if​ you remember the​ most important rule of​ writing then you will improve as​ a​ writer. Developing your own individual creative process and giving it​ time to​ work will make you a​ better writer.




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