Thursday, September 23, 2010
Guest post by Katherine Ploeger
As I have been writing more and more blog posts, I have found a routine that works for me, and I thought others might benefit from that information.
Each weekday morning, I start by drafting my post(s) for the day. I usually have a topic, and often I have a basic outline of points to include. Sometimes, I have to think about the points to be made and their best sequence. However, sometimes I have to go through my ideas folder to find an idea that resonates with me at that moment. I am always adding ideas to that idea folder.
Sometimes these drafts swerve and take detours, which, at the time, is not apparent to me while I am drafting. Others stay on topic beautifully. With a few, I run out of words long before I know the post is finished and rely on my subconscious to provide the words when I revise the next day.
And sometimes I get stuck. With one post I tried to write recently on publishing routes (the topic of a 7 hour seminar of a few years ago), the post simply would not condense into 400 words or even a multiple-post series. I actually started over three times before giving up, creating a folder for my attempts, and filing it for later use.
When I finish the draft, I print it out. I always revise from a printed copy; revisions from the screen often miss errors relating to ideas and writing quality. I put the printed copy aside, to simmer overnight.
I am a firm believer in "simmering" time, that time I take from the writing to let my subconscious work on the piece. When I return, I can see problems that were invisible while drafting. Revision could be spoken as "re - vision," or seeing the writing with new eyes.
I then revise the draft(s) from the previous weekday, which have been simmering overnight or over the weekend. Considering that no first draft is ever perfect the first time (which is especially annoying to perfectionists), the second viewing the next day, when revision takes place, is an essential step in the process. I always change a few words or ideas during revision. Sometimes I realize I have detoured and correct the content. Other times, I simply put aside the draft for more inspiration later. Most of the time I revise the wording, taking out words unnecessary for meaning, and publish it.
When I am happy with the post, I publish it on my blog and send it to EzineArticles for distribution. That often can take an hour or two, depending on the quality of that draft.
I have read of people whipping out a blog post in 20 minutes and immediately publishing it, and then I have read the results and shaken my head. If they had taken more time and allowed the draft to sit for a while, then revised it, the quality of ideas and writing could have been better.
So that is my blog writing process. I wanted to write this article (as I have thinking about it for a while) to reassure writers that taking time to create your best writing is smart, not a handicap or a waste of time. Taking time to draft, simmer, AND revise is the writing process. Each step is important and should be viewed as such.
I hope this brief article has helped you when thinking about your own timing and your writing process.
Katherine Ploeger, MA, MFA, is a writer, editor, writing coach & consultant, and publisher. She writes practical, process-oriented publications for writers of all types. She publishes at Quilliful Publications ( http://quillifulpublications.com ). Her latest book is Write That Nonfiction Book: The Whole Process. She also writes workbooks for writers. Two recently published are Common Writing Errors Workbook and Time Travel Workbook for Fiction Writers. She also offers lots of free and helpful information at her blog, Katie's Writing Notes at http://katieploeger.com.