How to Develop Your Own Writing Process
Updated: Mar 9, 2019
Whether you write professionally or personally, if you know you’re own writing process you can write more efficiently. You’ll have a better idea of how much time you need, and how to avoid placing unnecessary stress on yourself. Unfortunately, one of the hardest things to figure out as a writer is the writing process that works for you. The truth is there isn’t a “one type fits all” that works for everyone; every person has their own quirks and individual characteristics that need to be factored into their writing process.
First thing to consider when developing your writing process is environment. Where do you feel comfortable writing? At a desk or in a place with a scenic view (porch, coffee shop, etc.)? Do you need background noise or absolute silence? Does a bright and cheery atmosphere help you think, or is a dungeon more your speed? Once you learn this, you’ll be able to find the environment that’s most conducive to writing.
Second thing to consider is when you write best. Are you a morning bird or a night owl? Or, are afternoons more your speed? Do you need the pressure of a deadline looming to begin, or do you do your best work when stress free? Knowing this will help you to plan your schedule so you write when it’s most convenient for you.
Third is how you begin to write. Do you look for inspiration, or wait for inspiration to find you? Does an outline help you figure out what to write next, or is it too constricting when you just want your thoughts to flow. Is having all the research you need at your fingertips comforting, or do you prefer to find supporting documents as you go? Beginning can be the most difficult part of writing, so figure out the circumstances that get your creative juices flowing.
Next up is pacing: How long can you sit still to write? Can you stay in one place for a seemingly infinite amount of time because you’ve gotten into a writing “zone”? Do you need frequent breaks because you can’t think straight after working on a project for 30-40 minutes? Sometimes getting space from your work can help you look at it with fresh eyes; other times it derails you so you have to “learn” the project all over again to pick up where you left off. Figuring this out will let you use your writing time effectively instead of staring at a blank screen trying to figure out what to say.
Fourth thing to consider is editing. How much time do you need between writing and editing? Is it easier to edit after some time has passed so you can view your work more objectively? Or do you like to edit shortly after writing so the end result your aiming for is fresh in your mind? Do you like to write and edit multiple drafts until you whittle down the work so it’s sleek as a blade? Or do you prefer to write and edit as you go so that you only have one “draft”? This affects the total amount of time you need to schedule for writing, so it’s important to learn.
Last but not least to consider are items of convenience. For some people having an empty space is most conducive to writing. Others need things to fiddle with. Do you need to have dictionaries or thesaurus nearby (digital or print) to help you find the right words? Does holding a pen while you work distract you or help order your mind? Are snacks important to give you continuous energy, or is a beverage enough? These little comforts can make the biggest difference when you’re tight on time or trying to make your narrative flow smoothly.
If you know the answers to these questions already that’s great! You can begin using them to develop a writing process that works for you. If you don’t know the answers to these questions, or never thought about them before, it’s time to experiment. Try writing under different conditions to see what works best for you - the results may surprise you! After you figure them out you’ll be able to write more easily and efficiently so you’ll be more able to meet all of your writing goals.
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