In my PR Writing class we discuss the writing process. What a writer goes through from initial idea to published work- be that a press release, brochure, website copy, you name it.
We explore everything from “getting started” to editing and the journey it takes to a completed piece of work.
I have students who sit down with a pencil or pen and hand write the initial draft, others turn on the computer and just start typing and then there are others who jot ideas down or create an outline to get started. What I’ve found out each time I go through this exercise is that most people are all or nothing folks. What I mean is that they do the same thing all the time. For example, never use outlines, just go to the computer and start typing.
In writing the first chapter of my book I have realized a couple of things:
- I need complete silence (although this isn’t new-I’ve always needed silence to work productively),
- I like to have my tea when I write- lots of cream and sugar (in NY we call this “light and sweet” in MI nobody understands that term),
- Our new puppy does NOTHING for productivity, but she is cute, and
- I am the person who writes and writes and writes to get all my thoughts out.
Then the editing happens. After all my thoughts are out I will read, re-read, re-read, re-read and edit along the way. This week I noticed I use two words in freakish obsession – “It’s” and “Important” and I like to use them together as in: “It’s important to note…”
Similar to the word “it” when writing, half way through the first chapter I have eliminated “it’s important.”
The editing process is so cathartic for me. Kind of like washing away all the bad verbs, tenses, and phrases.
So what is your editing process like? Do you have phrases you use all the time that you need to drop from your writing?