People often ask me about my writing process. They want to know how to write a business letter. Or how to write a news release. Or how to write a book. Or about creative writing software. Or even how I’m able to write so many posts in this blog when it hasn’t even been up one week yet.
How do I do it?
There are two ways of writing anything:
1. The first is when you have a clear goal and you know what you want to say. This could be a research paper for a professor or a sales letter for a new product. You know what the purpose is and you know you need to get it done. You might outline your thoughts or story board them to help you keep on track. But you pretty much know what to write.
2. Or you have no idea what to say but you’re going to explore the writing process anyway to see what comes up. Ray Bradbury, the legendary science fiction writer, got up every morning for decades and wrote a short story, never knowing what the story would be that day. Out of that process came some classics of literature, including The Martian Chronicles.
Here’s my secret: I use a combination of the above.
For example, today I had a vague feeling to share about my writing process in this blog. But I wasn’t at all sure what I would say or how it would take shape. I figured I would state my intention (to write about my writing process) but that I would also trust the actual creative process to deliver something relevant (which is what I’m doing right now, as I type these words). This post is a discovery, even to me. I’m being surprised by what I write as I write this.
Yes, there is software out there to make this easier. My own http://www.HypnoticWritingWizard.com is a cool Windows based tool you should grab. The Swipe File in it — a hypnotic collection of proven words, phrases, and sentences — is priceless for improving your writing. I use it all the time.
I think most people who have a problem writing are doing one thing wrong: They are editing as they are writing. They write a few words, question them, change them, struggle with them, and finally give up, saying “Writing is hard!”
Actually, writing is easy. It’s trying to write while you’re trying to edit that is the pain. Separate that process and writing can be as much fun as any activity you can name. The rush comes from the mind, from discovering what you’ll write as you write.
I’m sure everyone has a different writing process. I’ve just given you a peek into the window at mine. Since I’ve written about 30 books and more articles than I can count, I think this process of mine is working.
So I’ll keep it.