My Writing Process


This is a crude, but hopefully effective, diagram of my personal writing process. It doesn’t cover brainstorming or research; the process begins when I sit down to compose a draft. You can look at “The Writing Process” in a general way, but everyone has to find a way of writing that works for them. The only real test of a writer’s personal process is in whether or not they are producing effective writing.

I use variations of this depending on the style and purpose of the piece I am writing, but for the most part, this is what works for me.  One thing worth noticing is that I “Cut” before I “Revise,” and I cut the revision again before I even think about editing.

A lot of people cut during the revision and editing stages, but I make it a separate step. I spent a long time learning to write the way I talk (I view most writing as talking in text). When I finally mastered talking in text, it did wonders for my rhythm and pacing, but it also exposed a weakness of mine. I am wordy and I love abstractions. Neither of those is very good for everyday writing.

Before I even think about organization, tone, or whether I am supporting my argument, I go through the first draft very carefully. I examine every instance of “that,” and every adverb, and ask myself if I need them. I find ways of re-framing concepts that are either obscure or prone to misinterpretation. I shorten sentences and add paragraph breaks. The end result is usually a text that says exactly the same thing, only in 20% fewer words and in a way that more people can actually understand.

After I do the real revision, I have to go through the text again and cut more. The “Revise – Cut- Ask myself if it’s good – Revise Again” loop can go through 10 or 15 iterations before I either just move on to editing or decide to start over.

I only edit once because it’s time-consuming and it doesn’t make sense to do a close edit on things you might very well end up cutting or re-writing.

“Submit” can mean any number of things. It can mean asking a collaborator for feedback, turning in a paper for a grade, scheduling a blog post for publication, or having a friend I trust read a piece of fiction for the first time.

I hope someone finds this useful. The only point I am really making here is that it’s important to find a process that helps you improve in areas where you’re weak (we all have them) and capitalize on your strengths.

About Gene'O

Compulsive writer, amateur photographer, and blogaholic. Also an evil genius.

One thought on “My Writing Process

  1. […] outlined my own writing process in detail not long after I started this blog (apologies for the awfulness of the graphic). The first […]


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