Friday, January 4, 2013

5-step writing process: Introduction

In school we learned about the 5 step writing process: brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. At university, I took a semester long class on how to teach a "writers workshop" which engaged students in this process. We each kept a binder of our works. Certain pieces needed to reach particular stages with the final project being "published." Our professor checked and signed off on our work. I found this dull and confining.

Now that I am out of school I find my own writing process to be far more free flowing. No one checks-in on me except my husband asking, "how's your novel coming?" And I've realized that there is no hard and fast process in the "real world." (I don't like the term "real world" because it some how suggests university is not real, but I digress.)
In my writing, I do engage in the 5 activities, but I don't like calling them steps because that implies that one comes after another.

I'm the sort of writer who starts and the beginning, writes the end, then works out the middle until the two meet. I don't write the story in order and I don't work on the writing process in order, either. I tend to slip between places like Jerry O'Connell in Sliders.

Certainly, some writers may follow a progression of 5 steps, and there is nothing wrong with teaching people to write this way as long as you also explain that there are other methods.
I will do a blog series focusing on each of the 5-steps and how I work them into my writing.


  1. Your blog post intrigues me because in my own writing, I too do not follow 1-2-3, draft, revise, edit, etc. My stories continually change as I write, research, and edit, not necessarily in that order. But, as a former English teacher, I can attest to the value of teaching students beginnings, middles, and ends. Many people (including me) do not have training in logical expression, and the ability to shape ideas so they make sense (particularly in workplace or nonfiction writing) does not necessarily come naturally. For creative writing, I'm in full agreement. Why turn a process that's so interesting into a march-step with a checklist? Thank you for your lovely post!

    1. Thanks, Beth! Stay tuned for more of my thoughts on the writing process.