The process of creating creative works like writing can be challenging and time-consuming, which may sometimes lead to unproductivity and discouragement. But If a workable process is developed, creative works like writing can be easier and even exciting to engage in.
I have just finished writing and rewriting my first book. It was a great experience for me, not only that it validated my claim of being a writer, it has also helped me build confidence in my ability to write. Going through the process and writing a book about writing has really helped me to shape my writing skills in many ways. One of those ways is that it has helped me known the usefulness of adopting a writing process that is workable for me. I can’t emphasise it enough words how having a writing process has made my writing life easier and exciting.
Before now, whenever I have an idea of what to write, what I do mostly is dive on the blank page and start writing, sometimes the whole piece is written first before the title is decided. Actually, there is nothing wrong with that sort of process, Offcourse, I do produce the words, but sometimes I get lost and confused in the process. Having a defined process makes writing easier and productive.
In this post, I want to share with you six steps I now go through in every of my writing process. I believe it will serve anyone who uses it.
Let’s get started.
The selection of a topic or title
The first in the list is the selection of a topic or title. This has to do with choosing the topic you want to write about. This initial step is where you choose the theme that will determine what the whole writing will talk about.
There are lots of things that will determine what you chose to write, such things as your type of writing, what you write about, when you write, whom you write for and more others. Another thing that will determine what you will choose is how you choose your topics, this can be personalized. So the question is, how do you choose your topics or title for writings?
For me, it can be from a blog post I just finished reading – I might feel I have something to add to the point made. Sometimes, it can come from a verse, a sentence in a book, it can come from a dialogue from a movie, from a conversation, it can come from anything. I like to keep journals of things that impressed me, quotes, titles etc., most times that is where my topics or titles come from.
I don’t really know what works for you, but by first identifying the topic you want to write about, you gain a sense of focus, your mind and your thinking abilities focus on the topic which helps you determine the right or suitable words to use in your writing.
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Research or findings
Next on the steps is gathering more facts about your topic or subject. Research and findings in this context can mean seeking outside source for more information about your topic, like knowing more in other for you to write convincingly and give accurate information about your topic or subject. It can be by reading a book, searching on the internet, watch videos or any ways that work best for you.
But sometimes, your research and findings can be internal, sometimes in your research and findings process, you won’t have to get your facts and information externally, because the facts and information you need may be within you. Sometimes your research and findings will consist of you settling down and thinking deeply about your topic or title.
You might be the type of writer that approach his or her writing from personal perceptive (imagination), knowledge or experience. Like for me, in this post, for instance, I didn’t have to do any external research, all I had to do was to think from my previous knowledge about writing and my experience in the act of writing, with that I was able to produce the words that made up this post.
here, what you need to do is to gather knowledge and facts in whatever ways that will aid your actual writing.
This is where you structure your writing. I believe this doesn’t have to be based on a specific format, It should be personal too. Though, what you have gotten from your research and findings may have a significant part to play here.
Like in letter writing, outlining allows you to know how to begin and finish and what should be in between.
The type of writer you are and what you write about will greatly determine how you outline your writing. For me, mostly I like sub and sub-subheadings. I like listing points, having my overall idea broken down into sub-ideas, it helps me organize my writings properly.
However, it might be different for you, some people like to separate their points with paragraphs, whichever works for you is ok. But just have in mind that outlining here is to help you know how to begin, what should come in between and how to end. Also, your outline doesn’t have to physically appear in your writing.
Write the first draft
Next step in the process is to write the first draft. It’s just about writing the first copy of your writing.
One writer calls it ‘the shitty draft,’ the shitty in the context means it can be as bad as possible. In the writing process, most people spend a lot of time trying to make their first draft perfect. On writing your first draft, you don’t have to worry about spellings, grammars, structure and punctuations, don’t worry if it’s ok or perfect, what is important is that you put down whatever idea you have in your head about your topic or title in the blank page.
Here, you just focus on writing, you can sort your writing out later in the next step.
Revising and Rewriting
This is when you can sort your writing to what you wish for it to be. This is where you examine if your writing is in line with your voice, style or your choice of tone in that particular piece of writing.
In this process, you can revise and rewrite a section, a paragraph or even the whole piece. Here, you can review your chose of words or phrases, you can arrange and rearrange your writings, but this time you are aiming at what you wish the whole writing to be.
I believe writing skills get better as someone writes more. As you advance in your writing journey, you might skip this process sometimes, you may not have to go through this process, sometime you will get your desired content in the first draft and probably go down to the last step of the process, editing. Most times it happens to me in that way, like this post, it’s one of those posts I do write sometimes that the words flow naturally.
The thing here is don’t focus on having a perfect piece in writing your first draft and don’t ignore revising your writing to see if there are things that you might change.
This is the final step on the process. It’s the last step before putting your writing out there.
This is where you have to pay attention to details, it’s where you carefully scrutinize the whole piece to correct any error you can possibly find. This is where you ‘try’ to find and correct the wrong spellings, grammars, structures, punctuations and all that. I use ‘try‘ because I know I suck in this aspect, as you may know, or may not know, I am dyslexic. I do struggle to pronounce and spelling some words, thanks to text editors for spell checks.
For grammars, I always use the simplest form of words I can think of. For structures and punctuations, I try as possible as I can with my basic knowledge to arrange my writings. But the things is I don’t ignore the editing process, whether I decided to let someone edit my writing ( like I plan to do with my new book) I still go through the process to personally edit my writings.
To assist me in the editing process, I use program or app like M.S word or Grammarly to edit my writings. There are a lot of tools out there which can help a writer to thoroughly and personal scrutinize his/her writing before having another eye on it.
Another thing that can be helpful is allowing sometime after rewriting before editing. After revising and rewriting allowing some time, maybe hours, day or days, before editing can help you spot errors, likewise reading your writing out loud. One thing with reading your writings in your mind is that you already have an idea of how you want your writing to sound, you are already familiar with your style, so sometimes when you read in your mind you automatically fill in or ignore words, even when they are wrongly spelt or placed in your piece.
Actually, I believe this last process should be to make your writing readable not really perfect.
Now you have it, the process I now use in my creative writing, I hope it serves you well as you try it out.
Do you have steps that you use in your creative writing? Are you going to try this process? Share your thoughts on the comments section below.
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