The Writing Proces: The Prewriting Stage
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The Writing Proces: The Prewriting Stage

One has to be born with the love of words and the desire to write, it cannot be taught. The mechanics of how to write, the writing process, can be learned if the desire is already there.

If one is just starting out on his journey to becoming a full-time freelance writer, one needs to take to heart what Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, said years before he stepped into the White House, "I will study and prepare, and someday my opportunity will come." A good place to start studying is the writing process.

The Writing Process

The desire to write comes naturally, one either has it or does not have it. If the desire, to become a published writer does not overpower every other desire one may have, one should not begin this journey. One will be starting on a journey that will last a lifetime, and without that overpowering desire to write, one will not have the strength needed to endure the journey. If the desire is there, the mechanics of writing can be learned. Starting with this article, we will take a closer look at the mechanics of writing for publication. Writing is a process that can be divided into five principal stages: 1) Prewriting, 2) Writing, 3) Revising, 4) Eiting, and 5) Publishing. We will begin exploring the writing process by taking a closer look at the prewriting stage.

The Prewriting Stage.

Have you ever found yourself staring at a blank sheet of paper in your typewriter or the blank screen of a computer. I think we all have had that experience more times than we care to remember. When it does happen, it usually happens because we skipped over this essential step in the writing process, the prewriting stage. At its minimal level of implementation, we will complete this stage with a slid idea of what we want to write about and a firm idea of how we want to approach the topic.

Ideas and Inspirations

For most of us, thinking up something to write about is never a problem. Thomas Alava Edison once said about genius, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” I like to paraphrase that adage this way, “Writing is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” Coming up with ideas to write about is easy for most of us, but turning those ideas into a publishable manuscript is devilishly hard work. Some people do have trouble thinking of things that they can write about. If you are one of those people, you may want to try using daily writing prompts.

A writer's prompt is something to get ones your creative juices flowing. Personally, I like the writer's prompts offered on the WD (Writer's Digest's) online site. Here, is an example, of what one will find there: ”Pick an event from your childhood that you wish would have gone differently. Write it as though it had happened ideally.” They give one a word count, usually 750 words. Once a writer writes to the prompt, one can post it on the WD's site for feedback on ones story. This is an excellent tool for improving any one's skills as a writer.

Build on Your Idea.

A common mistake made by many beginning writers is that they start writing as soon as they know what they want to write about. This is a serious mistake. The writer knows what he wants to write about but until he expands on his idea he does not know what he wants to say about it. There are several ways to go about fleshing out an idea. Three of the most popular methods are free writing, brainstorming and Mind Mapping.

  • Free Writing is the simplest of the three methods. Put a new sheet of typing paper in to your typewriter or open a new blank document on your word processor and start writing down whatever comes to mind on your chosen topic. Set a time limit for your free writing session, then write nonstop for the whole period. Do not stop to edit. Your goal is to get all your ideas down on paper. Spelling, punctuation, sentence structure does not matter at this point. That all comes later.
  • Brainstorming is similar to free writing except you try to show the relationships between your thoughts. To use brainstorming, you need pen and paper. To begin using brainstorming write your topic in the center of the page and draw a circle around it. This circle will become the hub. Write down everything else that comes to mind around the that first circle. These ideas become your sub-topics or the directions that you can go in with your article.
  • Mind Maping is the same as brainstorming bus uses a software program like FreeMind. I prefer the mind mapping method using FreeMind because I can move my sub-topics and their supporting ideas around on my computer screen until I have them just the way I want them and then convert the mind map into an outline.

Next time we will discuss the writing phase of the writing process.

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Comments (11)

You 100% nailed it, and with your permission, I want to share the web link of this article with my college. Brilliant, Jerry. Thank you for writing such a useful piece.

Wow i understand Brainstorming process it gives amazing ideas =]

Your tips are much appreciated, thanks very much.

Very useful piece Jerry and great reference for all, thank you.

Great advice Jerry, I like brainstorming more than free writing. Can't wait for the next part...:)

I love reading your suggestions and think I'm also going to take a look at this writers digest you mention :D

Quite useful.

My prewriting routine isn't exactly organized. Well it depends on what I am writing. If it's a report or article I have an outlining process. Otherwise I'm just jotting things down. :)

Truly helpful tips Jerry. I write and stop when I feel I have already covered my main topic here in Factoidz. And of course, when it exceeds the 400-word requirement. I just let my mind flow. The first few articles took some time to publish but the later ones seem to be routine and require lesser effort to publish after doing all those editing stuff. Writing, I would say, becomes a way of life once you reach that stage where you enjoy the whole thing. This is the best situation to be in.

You are right Patrick, it's like no other profession or lifestyle. It becomes an obsession, your master, a master that you either love or hate. Writing is a hard master to serve unless you were meant to be a writer because he is with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. Unlike those who work a 9 to 5 job where they can leave their boss behind at the end of the shift, ours is always with us because he is us. Those who grow to love their task masters, succeed as writers. Those who grow to hate their task masters, will never succeed as writers.

Another masterpiece of clear information, but I have come to expect no less from you.