There are people who need to stare at the blank page for an eternity before getting started and there are others who would start without thinking twice.
When I was in college, the guy who sat next to me said he believed my pencil was magical. Silly, isn’t it? That the words would just flow whenever my pencil hit the paper. Come on… there is no such thing as a magical pencil.
He may have thought I was using magic but in real life, between the two of us, he was a better writer. While I was doodling around, erasing, and rewriting my thoughts, he would just spend his time reflecting on the story he wanted to tell. The result? He would carefully craft his words in his mind and then put it on the paper. Me? I rambled around and went off topic multiple times.
So let’s see what are the main stages of writing.
Prewriting is everything that happens before you start the actual writing. It’s a writing implement that includes brainstorming and outlining. It allows writers to think and scrutinize their ideas before writing them down. There are other prewriting techniques that involve freewriting, journaling, and midmapping.
In my opinion, this is the most important stage out of all the writing process steps.
All the writers need to take inspiration from somewhere: family, other writers, the world around them… they all need to analyze and brainstorm their ideas. Whether it’s a political or musical statement everything around us will inspire and provide the spark we need.
And once the writer found his inspiration he will need to create an outline to his paper. This step is very important, consider it as a map for your story.
What is drafting? It is everything you developed during the prewriting. In the drafting stage you don’t have to worry about spelling, grammar, or punctuation. Instead, focus on writing notes and turning your ideas into logical sentences and paragraphs. The outline you previously created, if followed, will help you at this point.
This stage might take hours or just a few minutes of your time but it’s important to get it done, remember to write as much as you can in your initial draft.
The revision stage is often incorrectly used. Some people think that it has to do something with editing. It’s not. Many changes will happen in this stage. You can delete or even add an entire section to your story. The upholding evidence of your story might be elaborated differently or removed completely, even the focus of the piece can change.
Even though editing is involved, revising is not just about fixing the spelling errors, it’s about fixing the story itself. It’s a very good opportunity for writers to get a second opinion on their work. By having someone else look into your work you allow yourself to see if you took into consideration all your reader’s needs. See if it makes sense to him and consider his suggestions for a more compelling introduction. Make sure it answers all the questions your audience might have.
Once all the heavy work is done and the story got the structure, it’s time to edit. Start to analyze it word by word. Review all the spelling, punctuation, and grammar mistakes.
It takes a lot of practice to become a good editor. It is important to know your weaknesses, so keep a list of things you struggle with. Very often it is difficult to edit your own work. Consider finding someone who will assist you in this writing stage.
- That’s it? Four steps and we’re done? Ha! Not at all.
There are different forms of writing and for large pieces just like novels or reports, a writer might go multiple times through each of these steps. Also, if more people are involved into reviewing your work you will, for sure, get more ideas to elaborate which will also include more than one revision.
The beginners, or those who are less comfortable with writing, will probably spend more time to complete their work. But one thing is sure, the more time you spend into prewriting and drafting your work the easier your revision and editing will become.
So, what is the writing process after all? It is not only the four stages you’ve just read about. It is the proper use and application of them. Keep practicing and try to form a team that will help you succeed… Writing doesn’t necessarily have to include only one person behind it.