As I was writing my last post about the importance of revising and editing your work, it dawned on me that many people who are required to write today (blogs, social media, company newsletters, etc.) may not have much experience with the writing process. So I decided to blog about it to explain each step’s importance and throw in some insight along the way.
pre·writ·ing (noun): the creation and arrangement of ideas before writing; step one of the writing process
Think before you write. Whether you jot down a brief outline in your notebook, draw comprehensive diagrams or kick around a few ideas in your head, you’re performing the first step in the writing process. You may think prewriting is prehistoric (3rd grade, anyone?), but let’s compare. Any professional painter will tell you to spend at least as much time preparing to paint as painting itself. Otherwise, you won’t see professional results.
The same holds true for writing. If you want to write something worth reading, take the time to prepare. Your prep work will reflect the scope of your project (novel vs. blog post) and your comfort level. Some people are comfortable mentally prepping before blogging while others will want a more detailed outline in print. Either way works, as long as it works for you.
The prewriting part of the process may not occur behind a desk or even soaking up the rays on a patio with your laptop. In fact, physical activity is a great way to spur ideas and think about what you want to write. Or maybe you prefer a luxurious bubble bath with a good book or chatting with a friend over coffee. It doesn’t matter where the light bulb goes off, as long as it does. (I like confiding in a pink fuzzy tennis ball, but that’s just me.)
“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you’ve got something to say.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald
And prewriting is the time to figure out that something, not the writing phase.
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Post Script to Prewriting
Do you prewrite?
How do you prewrite (mentally, outlining, diagramming, etc.)?
Anything you’d like to add about the prewriting process?
If you have any writing-related questions, please ask. Or we can handle all of your writing needs so you can focus on saving the world before bedtime.