Writing Is a 3 Steps Process
Writing is a subtly balanced process, which has its own rhythm and needs. It requires opening the gates to your mind and starting a conversation with it.
Writing is one of the only things that you can do totally from scratch. You are not transforming food into a plate, nor are you taking something existant to merge it into something else. You start from nothing and gradually fill a once blank page with words, born in your mind.
Thanks to my Journalism Master’s Degree, I have been writing for many clients and brands for several years now. Writing for yourself, and publishing your work on platforms such as Medium, is however different because you have to find your own subjects. Nothing is imposed.
Here is one thing I have learned the hard way:
Writing is a 3 steps process.
Step 1: finding ideas
You can’t rely too much on your brain. It has a lot to do, so please spare it some more work. As soon as you have an idea, write it down.
Ideas come from everywhere. While reading a book, walking in the woods, on the beach, having coffee with a friend, watching Netflix…
I personally use my phone as a notebook, as I’m sure I always have it with me. I downloaded the app Evernote, on my phone and on my laptop, to be able to synchronize my ideas on both.
If you rely on your brain and tell yourself that you won’t forget your brilliant ideas, I bet you will forget more than half of it. Sometimes ideas just arise and remain so fragile and embryonic that it might be gone in a matter of seconds. Writing it down gives it substance, which has two advantages: you won’t forget it, and your mind can start reflecting on it, adding more depth to it.
Step 2: doing the writing
Here is the fun and difficult part: doing the writing.
Open a blank page, and scan your list. Find a topic that inspires you today, and get ready.
I have two different ways of working.
Sometimes, I feel like the structure of my topic is clear enough in my head to be able to start right now, without a plan. The interesting part is that the words sometimes bring me elsewhere, adding depth to my topic. However, it sometimes brings me too far from what I wanted to say in the first place.
Otherwise, I take a sheet of paper, a pen, and create structure before diving in. It is the case when my topic is kind of wide, or too embryonic. So I start writing down ideas, things I want to say, and sometimes full sentences. Then, I read what I have, which gives me a clearer idea of what I really want to say. Only after, I start building a plan, in order to add structure to my words, making my work and thought process clear and understandable.
Step 3: giving it some rest
Do you like pancakes? Me too.
If you sometimes bake pancakes, you probably know that the best way to get it fluffy is to give the dough some rest.
It’s the same thing with your article. It needs to rest at least overnight before being ready to be published.
Here is my secret: when I am done writing a piece of work, I hit “save”, then I close the file. I don’t even proofread it. Then, I go on with my day.
The next morning, I re-open it and only then do I proofread it. Giving time to the process allows the article to maturate, and time for you to disconnect from it. The next day, you’ll be able to look at it with clear eyes, which has the power to highlight the misspellings and bad structures.
Writing is a process that requires time. Trying to speed it up is not a good idea. Learn to take your time. An article is like wine or cheese (I’m French), it gets better and better over time!
When you feel like it’s ready, hit publish and share a piece of your mind with the world!