Ah, writing. Gotta love it!
I’ve been writing a lot lately – just not here. I have a new ALA Library Technology Report that was just turned in (more on that later).
I really enjoy writing! When I write, I feel like I’m able to take an idea in my head and lay it out in a more structured way that makes sense. I sometimes learn something new just from the process of thinking about and writing about a topic.
So … when it’s time to write something, what’s my process?
It depends on what I’m writing. Here’s what works for me for blog posts and for longer publications (like journal articles or books).
Blog Posts: If I’m writing a blog post, I just start writing. My blog posts are usually short enough that I can get everything down, give it a slight edit, add a picture, and schedule it. Done. That’s what I just did with this blog post!
Longer Things: When I’m writing a longer publication – like a journal article or a book – I have a more formal process that works well for me. Here’s what I do:
- Brainstorm: Get down everything I think is important. This usually takes the form of topics I might want to cover, and some ideas about each of those topics.
- Create an Outline: Turn those brainstorming ideas into an actual outline. For longer things, I make a separate outline for each chapter.
- Writing Time! Then I start writing. Using the outline, I create a really rough draft that covers everything I want to say about each section of my outline. Here, I’m not worried about correct grammar or punctuation – I’m focused on just getting things out of my head and onto the screen. If it’s a longer multi-chapter publication, I’ll write the whole thing before I start editing. Did I say this part is usually really rough? No one but me gets to read this version 🙂
- Editing time: Next, I take my really rough manuscript and start editing. I go through the whole thing once (maybe twice).
- Second Edit: If possible, it’s always a good thing to have someone else edit your manuscript. Lucky for me, my wife is an editor. So she does the second edit and catches a lot of stuff I didn’t see during my first edit.
- Off to the publisher: Finally, it’s time to send my manuscript to the publisher. For magazines, journal articles, and blog posts on other sites, that’s usually the final step. For longer publications like books, the manuscript is usually edited a couple more times, and changes are sent back to me for approval, etc.
That’s what I do, anyway – works for me! Do you do anything different? I’d love to hear about it – please share your process!