Getting organized and being persuasive as a writer is essential. Especially in PR since we need to be organized in order to write effective message that are used in all types of media and mediums. As Marijane points out:
“As public relations professionals, we understand the vital importance persuasion plays in almost everything we do i.e. dealing with media, influencers, opinion leaders or just about any third-party “endorsers.” It’s THE key factor in our being successful.”
First, describe yourself as a writer and the process you go through. Are you creative? Do you like a set of bullet points to work from? Do you sit and type everything out? Do you write a first draft, edit, then write again?
Then, from what you learned in our writing workshop what’s your plan going forward? What did you take away from our workshop? If you had to summarize thee key points what would they be?
I am a very organized person when it comes to all aspects of my life, so being organized when I sit down to write is essential in my writing process. I find it very beneficial to bullet point my overall goal when I’m writing and how I will approach getting the message across. After I do this, I decide what order I want to put all the information in, deciding what is most important to least important and lastly creating an outline. Everything is typed, including my notes and outline so it’s clean and organized on my computer rather than scribbled on a notepad. After my first draft is finished I print it and revise it myself first, then rewrite it on my computer and print a second copy and have someone else revise if possible. The reason I print out my first and second drafts is because I find it easier to find my mistakes on paper rather than a screen. After completing the third draft, it should be strong enough to turn in, but another revision is necessary.
In the writing workshop I learned the importance of key words, and how certain words might come across differently with different people. I will use this method for further writing in order to ensure everyone will understand the same meanings of the message. The arrows for each key message were also very important to me, especially since it helps with organization. This will help me to line out what is most important to least important in the content of the piece, as well as eliminate any unnecessary information.
I admire the process you take when you start writing. You and I are completely opposite. I want to be more of an organized writer like you. I never thought before how disorganized I was until now. I also like how you print your writing out. I think it is hard sometimes for me to catch mistakes since it is on my computer screen. I am now going to try and print a copy of my writing out every time.
I too liked the arrows we used to choose what was most important. I think this is going to help most of us in our writing, if we decide to keep using it. Like you, another part of her workshop that I think I am going to benefit from was the portion about key words. I think this is important for us since we are going to be writing for different audiences. We are going to need to pay attention to how people are going to react to the words we choose to use.
Wow I am impressed with how much attention to detail and organized you are when it comes to writing! If only I could go through that same process then I think I would be set when it comes to not having any mistakes. I think that is a good idea that you print out all of your drafts so that it is easier to see what changes you have made. I also like to do the same thing when it comes to making changes because I find that if I don’t edit straight on the paper I will be sitting in class about to turn in my paper and notice a couple minor errors that I missed while editing on the screen. One of the most important things really is just re-reading your paper until you can’t anymore to make sure everything is corrected, also a second opinion doesn’t hurt. That’s why peer editing is very helpful because they can help you catch mistakes that you didn’t see and also offer constructive criticism.
This type of organization helps tremendously when writing press releases. Since we write in inverted pyramid and also need to capture the attention of our reader in the first sentence, deciphering what is important is critical.
I really wish that I had the ability to write using an outline. It would make my life a lot easier. There are always random notes and papers all over my desk with slightly illegible writing on them. I actually have to work to turn all of that into a paper or a news release. It can be a hassle, but it’s really hard to change something that works so well. Have you always typed out your papers? I usually only type mine up when I have at least some sort of draft, which could mean I’ve probably already written it five times. I do agree that the workshop was helpful when it comes to organization. Having a friend look over your writing is a great tool. I usually have my friends check over my writing, just to be sure that I don’t sound too stupid
I write different depending on the situation.
For journalistic writing I find it best to start first with extensively interviewing people directly involved with the subject. I then transcribe my notes and quotes adjusting placement to form a flowing sequence and removing all but the best information. Next, I research credible sources to back up and add to the quotes I use. Last I add in what I call the “color commentary”, my words to describe and make segues flow.
In other forms, such as this blog post reply, I simply start writing. I may or may not have a point in mind but often my thoughts find one quickly. When writing this way I find myself stopping every few sentences to make sure I am on topic and not getting off on a rant. It feels a lot less structured but find using a format makes me feel constricted.
I do, however, know the value of using an outline when writers block sets in. I create one any time I find myself sitting at the computer and staring at a blank page with no clue where to go.
No matter what I write I believe in the power of having a good editor. Someone else to read and help polish.
I enjoyed the writing workshop. It was good to be reminded who I am writing for and how others interpret words differently. Keeping in mind who’s reading and why I am writing is something I try to remember every time I write.
I agree writing is situational and different readers will interpret words differently. It’s good for all of us to keep in mind who the target audience is every time we sit to organize and write a piece. Research is also a major factor in public relations because if we aren’t educated on the topic we aren’t considered a reliable source to relay the information. I am curious to learn more about this “color commentary” and how you came up with this term as well as what it means exactly. When writers block sets in, the outline is always my go to back up plan, and I actually find myself creating one in order to avoid it altogether. The most important factor, however, I feel is having a good editor. Without the ability to ask for critique and receive it, our writing would not progress.
I have never been the type of writer who creates an outline prior to writing. I also have never tried to create one when I get writer’s block, but I think that is an interesting idea. Every time I write, no matter what the piece of writing is, there is usually an area where I get stuck. Sometimes it’s just a sentence, or even a single word, that I can’t seem to figure out. Writer’s block can be beyond frustrating (as any writer knows) and if it lasts too long, I usually find myself reorganizing or changing other parts of my writing to avoid the problem.
I have never been able to find a particularly effective solution to my writer’s block, other than perhaps coming back to the piece later on. I think it makes sense that an outline might be helpful in this situation, and I plan to give it a shot next time. Thanks for the idea!
Ben I love that you use many different ways to write. Having different techniques can be beneficial for the different pieces you write but as well as making you a well-rounded writer. I agree with Chelsea that I had never thought about using an outline when I am having writer’s block. Sitting down and making a structure may be something I implement the next time I am having a difficult time with my writing.
I never thought about how my process changes depending on what I’m writing. I guess I’m more likely to use and outline if I’m writing an article or something like that. I like to follow the inverted pyramid format or whatever format I need to use at that time and it’s just easier. In general I have a pretty insane process that works for everything except articles. I do like the outline idea for writer’s block. I will definitely give it a try the next time I am racking my brain over what to write.
When I start to write I first think of my major points I want to communicate. After that I don’t have much of a structure. I sit at my computer and just type all my ideas out. I don’t have an outline but it seems to work for me. After I write everything and get all my ideas down that is when I go back and edit it. I also go to the writing center for almost everything that I have to turn in. I am terrified that I will have a spelling mistake or a comma in the wrong place. These blog posts are the first time I haven’t gone to the writing center.
I want to be more of an organized writer. I think if I start with an outline it will help me get my message across. I hate to do this because I get so anxious to just start writing but I know it will make my writing better if I do. It was so much easier to write the email in our workshop once I wrote an outline of my main points.
In our workshop last week I loved how we talked about concise writing. I didn’t think to go back and make my point more clear by taking words out. We are always taught to put words in to make it longer. The first day we talked about picking out the key messages and then rating which one was most important and the least important. I think this is going to help me in my writing with the question “So what?” It makes me think about what is most important in my reader’s eye. I wasn’t sure before how to decipher this. The exercise she showed us is something I am going to try and use in my writing again.
I’m very envious that you can sit at your computer and write whatever comes to mind. I wish i could be this way but unfortunately I don’t excel without organization and planning. Your method probably saves a lot of time and stress when deciding what to put into your work. It’s great that you go to the writing center, I’ve never been because I’m worried nobody will know how to use AP Style and have me make a correction according to MLA, but if this works for you I would consider giving it a try. The email was definitely easier to write with the organization, especially with such a limited amount of words we were given so it helped outline the contents. During the workshop, it helped me as well to learn concise writing skills. I always knew less is more when writing for journalism, i’m glad to know this transfers to PR writing in e-blasts as I wasn’t aware of this. I will be putting ALL of the skills we learned to good use!
I can relate to how you write because I pretty much do the same thing. Write whatever comes to mind and then go back and edit after. However, I NEVER go to the writing center ever but I think that it would help me a lot especially when it comes to AP Style. If I actually would have someone to point out style mistakes to me and make corrections I think I would be less likely to make the same mistakes again. I also agree with you that making an outline would help because it’s very rare that I ever do use one and I think it would help a great deal because then I wouldn’t have to add so much when I go back and edit my paper. I am excited that this semester I will learn how to write in a way that making things concise and to the point will become second nature to me.
I would describe myself definitely as a creative writer. I have also loved writing ever since I can remember and I never really gave myself any set guidelines on how to do it. I guess you could say I’ve always written with “reckless abandon.” Writing stories, song lyrics, and short essays have always come easy to be because of this reason, lack of set rules. So, PR writing in AP style and in short, concise messages has been a little bit of a challenge, but none the less I am getting the hang of it. Usually when I go to write something I’ll literally just write and write and then after I go back and read it I will check for mistakes and also add any key details I might have left out. I also agree with Marijane’s quote about persuasion because essentially that’s a lot of what PR is when you are representing a company. I learned a lot from my Persuasion class that I had last semester about how brands target certain age groups and economic statuses. For example we watched a lot of commercials on different car insurances and it was interesting to see how the different insurances would clearly be going after a certain type of person and how they went about doing that. If I had to summarize three key points from the workshop I would say that the most important is being concise. The next point would be that word choice is extremely important and lastly that you need to know who you are writing to because that can affect the entire way of how you write a message.
Your kind of writing sounds like me! I pretty much just write and write until I have all my ideas down. Reading what you just wrote made me excited to write and I now want to write on my empty blog. Sometimes I forget why I fell in love with writing and you nailed it. I like that it is an escape for me. The phrase you used, “reckless abandon” is awesome. I am hoping I can bring my passion for writing back through my blog. There are no set rules like you said and this is why I first started to like writing. It is an expression for me.
I still like journalistic writing too because I have a passion for sharing and this is exactly what public relations is all about. We want to share information with others about our business or organization in a positive light. However, maybe we can work together on trying to outline our professional writing more. Even though I like the disorganization of writing I think it’s going to be essential for us to have more of a plan when it comes to writing for our career.
I can relate to the struggle of writing concisely and in AP style. I began writing for the Echo my first semester at EMU in September 2011. I was super confident when I was assigned my first article. I was praised for my writing growing up and always excelled as a writer, so I thought I was going to nail it. I was wrong. I had absolutely no experience with AP style or the concise style of writing it calls for, especially in news stories. Needless to say my editor tore my story up (constructively). It was definitely a good learning experience because it taught me that writing is not universal. Writing depends on who you’re writing to and what you’re writing for. It was definitely hard to basically relearn how to write, and I don’t think I will ever not need the assistance of the handy-dandy AP stylebook.
As a writer, I write for journalism, for creative purposes, and for an academic setting. However, I have noticed that my processes for all types of writing are generally the same. I am definitely not one to create an outline or plan before writing. In high school, teachers would often require us to turn in an outline for a grade prior to turning in the paper. The writing of the outline was always worse for me than writing the paper. I do not use outlines or a formal organization process prior to writing, therefore the entire process felt very forced and foreign.
If I am writing an article for the Echo or a paper for a class assignment, I will gather all the resources and notes that are necessary for me to put the piece of writing together. Then, I lay out a plan in my head. I ask myself: What do I want my main purpose of the piece to be? What is my lead or thesis sentence going to contain? What are my main points? Once I answer these questions and I have an idea of where I want to take the piece of writing, I just write. I will use the answers to my questions to guide the piece. Sometimes I will know that an idea or paragraph will work better further down in the piece, so I will go ahead and write it and then fill in the blanks later.
After I have finished, I reread my writing several times. I usually change my paper to some degree at least four or five times. Typically, I stop working on the piece for hours, or overnight, and come back to it later. This method always helps me catch something that I didn’t previously notice.
When I am writing creatively (fiction or poetry), I don’t use any method. I just take whatever scenario or idea inspired me to write and go for it. Then, after I am done, I go back and reread and edit the piece.
I think the main point of the writing workshop was that less is more. What is the point of using more words to say the same thing you could say with fewer? All it does is run the risk of your writing sounding overly explanatory and confusing to the reader. I liked the idea of circling prepositions. I use a lot of prepositions when I write and I also have a bad habit of writing in passive voice. I am often overly wordy when I write, which is one of the reasons I reread my work so many times. I plan to use the preposition-circling method to help me with my problem of being too wordy. I also plan to seek out peer revision of my work even when it’s not required.
The prepositions will get you every time as will the passive voice Chelsea. Joy’s technique about circling them I think will go a long way in helping everyone to edit and become more succinct writers.
I agree. I had never realized how much leaving out prepositions can help my writing be more concise until I participated in Joy’s exercise.
Chelsea I am so glad that someone else feels the same way I do when it comes to an outline. I often would find myself spending more time and energy on an outline (when required to do so) and neglecting the writing piece itself. I also put a point in there about what I want to cover and then go back to it if I find it hard to convey what I want to.
I am glad that I am not alone when it comes to writing. We seem to have similar styles and I would love to read some of your pieces in The Echo!
It is interesting to see the various responses here. Some of you organize yourself for the various modes others are the same throughout. There is no right or wrong way, Ultimately we all have the same goal- to write the best piece possible for our intended audience.
I do have a question for all of you – what about the editing and polishing phase of writing? What does that look like for you? Do you self edit or does a friend look at your work? Polishing is typically the last look over before it goes on for publication, printing or a final OK – do you ever tweak at that phase? When is enough-enough and you feel you’ve completed the work?
I try and edit my work after I finish each paragraph. After I complete my writing I take it to my mother or father who are both writers. Although they aren’t a professional writers they can understand what I am trying to accomplish. They edit the crap out of any paper I give them. They help me re-write awkward sentences and make my writing more concise. Their help is priceless to me. After that and edits have been made I read it one last time out loud to myself and if I am satisfied I am completed.
I’ve always been taught to embrace peer editing, but I’m just not a fan. I take a lot of pride in my writing, and I don’t like for people to read it until I’ve polished it myself. I’m also not very keen to criticism when it comes to my writing, even if it’s constructive. I have this mentality of, “if I wanted to say it that way, I would have.” From a journalistic perspective, what’s usually reworked by an editor is content, but from a creative perspective, it’s the way that content is expressed that’s edited or reworked. That’s what I have a hard time with. But I’m working on it.
I am constantly editing and polishing my writing as I work. I organize my paragraphs and find more creative or less wordy ways to express thoughts. I then have my older sister review my writing. She usually catches my small errors, but she often corrects things that I feel would take away from my voice. Reading aloud is typically the most common way that I find mistakes in my own writing. I read the prompt or give my listener, usually a study partner or to a roommate, an overview of the assignment and ask them to listen for continuity and clarity. If I get a positive review from that, I put the finishing touches on and consider it done.
Hello my name is Catherine and I am a rambler.
That is how I look at myself when it comes to writing. For me it doesn’t matter what type of writing assignment I have, I just sit down to my computer and start typing. Many times I will write a page or two and then stop and read it back to myself. Do I have any awkward sentences? Is the point I wanted to make clear or has the writing turned into something else entirely? Sometimes my initial thoughts get completely deleted and I start from scratch but other times I am surprised with where my writing takes me. I think of different ways of thinking about the assignment or writing goal when just start writing. I HATE outlines. Whenever I am assigned an outline I wonder what I did to deserve this punishment. I applaud those who write best this way. I wish I was more like that. They do serve a purpose and can be extremely beneficial to make sure major points are relayed effectively. My brain is just not wired to write like that. I feel restrained and frustrated by the outline process.
I thoroughly enjoyed Joy’s presentation to our class. I wished it could have been longer. I loved the arrow idea that she mentioned to us. PR professionals must ensure that the key points of a message are explained well to the public and by using arrows to differentiate the importance of each point will be a tool I will use for the rest of my life. The triangle using the message, communicator, and public was very helpful. By identifying these three things you can write a clear message that will be best suited for the receivers it was intended for. Lastly I loved talking about prepositions. It can help make sentences shorter and ensure that I maintain an active voice.
I’m with you on the “just start typing” route. Sometimes my writing ends up like that and the most difficult part is getting it back to your original intention once the idea escapes into rambles. I have also never been a fan of formal outlines. I feel like they can restrict you almost too much and it isn’t always productive. On the other hand, I feel like a lot of us indirectly make our own outlines. We sit down and think about everything that we want to say and even the things that we don’t want to say. Without really thinking about it, you could be creating your our outline, one that you’re okay with.
I don’t know of anyone in the class (I haven’t read all the responses either) who disliked the arrow idea! It can be very helpful in PR writing when we need to get straight to the point and that point needs to really connect with a specific audience.
As a writer, I take a more creative approach. I don’t plan anything when I start a piece; I just do it. When I start writing, I usually free write and then I leave it alone for a bit. After that I’ll go back to it and figure out what’s the most important and how I can elaborate and turn that into a great paper. It usually works out very well. My writing process is pretty disorganized and strange, but it works for me. I think it works because I started out as a creative writer. Plus, I never wanted the writing process to be stressful. It has always been fun to me and I always want it to be fun.
I think the workshop was really helpful when it came to my editing/revising process. That’s where my work really comes together. I don’t really know what kind of method it was, but the arrow thing she did was pretty interesting. I think it’ll be a great addition to my process. I think all of the steps in my process kind of blur together so this could be an added part of that blur. It’ll lead to much better organization and maybe give me a little more confidence in the way I structure my papers. The “Paramedic Method” was really new to me, but I think it’ll be helpful when I feel like my writing is too long. I always feel like I’m saying too much when I know there are ways to describe everything in fewer words.
As long as the disorganization works for you then I don’t see a huge problem with it. It’s cool that you recognize it though. I envy how you keep writing stress-free. That’s one of the things that has been keeping me from blogging on a personal level. I feel as though I stress myself out too much and it doesn’t get done. Maybe if I can get back to my roots of keeping it fun then it will help me write more.
I also wrote about the arrow prioritizing method but I’m not sure what it’s called either. I don’t know if it would help with creative writing but with press releases it would work amazing!! I completely forgot about the Paramedic Method until you wrote about it but I thought it was interesting. It’s nice to really visualize sections that you can cut out because they are too wordy. I liked how we did an activity with it too so we took the theory and actually implemented it.
I’m the same way, when it comes to my writing process. It’s all kind of a blur with no defined steps. I kind of just do it. I think that’s a creative writer thing. Establishing a voice is a lot easier for people who write like us, but it’s harder for us to follow the “guidelines” of writing. I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing, though. That’s the thing that I like about writing, that there’s no right or wrong way to do it. There’s just ways that work for you, and ways that don’t. When you figure out what helps you, you’re golden.
I love your “free spirit” approach to writing. I’ve always enjoyed creative writing and free writing because of the spontaneous and casual approach, so I can definitely relate to your writing method. Over the past few years I’ve found that some of my best writing comes from my most creative pieces, much of which started as free writing.
I also like the statement that you made about returning to your work; I do that often, especially when writer’s block hits, and I’ve found it can be a very rewarding strategy to use. It does help you to realize what’s essential in your piece, what shouldn’t be there, and what else you can include. A couple years ago my creative writing professor taught me to use a “pocket notebook,” where I would write down anything that I thought was interesting- whether it was a word, a street sign, part of a conversation I heard walking to class, anything. It was a little weird and hard to get used to at first, but after awhile I realized it was a lot like abandoning a piece of writing and coming back to it- the thought was still there on the paper, but now I had the opportunity to add more life to it.
Writing IS fun, and it should always be fun, I absolutely agree with you there! Don’t worry about having a “disorganized” writing process, because there’s always beauty in chaos (one of my favorite quotes says, “One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.” –A.A. Milne). And, your writing process isn’t “strange,” because it’s YOURS and it works for you and that’s all that matters.
I really wish I would’ve gone back to this post when I was having a mini panic attack over an assignment for one of my other classes. It’s weird that I know how I am about writing, but sometimes I literally torture myself trying to force myself to write when I know it just doesn’t work like that for me. I love that quote by the way. It will definitely make it on my wall.
I guess I would describe my writing style as very situational. It depends on a variety of different things like my experience with the topic, my understanding of the prompt, if I’m passionate about the topic and much more.
If I’m not completely intrigued then I jot down an overall topic then make it more specific. I’ll create sub topics and then a few main points for those and keep expanding until I have run out of things to say. Over the years, I’ve grown more concise with my writing but it becomes very difficult when I have to meet a certain word count or get really creative and describe things. At the end is when I normally go through and revise and add in more descriptive terms to bring more emotion to if it needed.
If I love the topic then I really have to watch myself because I’ll go on and on just writing. Majority of the time, it works out for me. Sometimes it can be a bit scatter brained and all over the place but that gets tightened at the end of writing and even throughout it. The good part though is that there is usually a huge amount of passion in that type of writing so it flows very well and is usually a good read.
I liked a lot of what was discussed at during our workshop last week. I think the idea of prioritizing our messages was one of my favorite points. I typically have lumped everything together and indirectly put the most important first but it’s so impulsive that the “most important” thing could change. Even though it’s not a new idea, I really liked thinking about the message, the person communicating the message, and even the audience. It makes me truly think about all of those aspects and the best possible approach.
I also find myself doing the same thing that you do when I have to write about something I love. Those are the times when I have the most to say and I need to be more structured. When I’m writing about something that I really love or am interested in, I typically ask more questions than I answer and end up rambling and losing track of my own thoughts. (Oops!)
I’m definitely going to try your idea of writing down a topic that I’m not interested in and breaking it down into subtopics. That could be really helpful in organizing my thoughts when I’m not excited about a topic! Thanks!
I think I’m a very conversational writer. I don’t really use stupid internet slang, and I try not to sound too casual, but I like when my writing sounds as if I’m talking to the reader. People want to read something that’s easy for them to read, but not something that’s so simple that they could write it themselves.
My approach to writing is always pretty similar. I’m a scatterbrained multi-tasker, so I’m usually working on more than one thing at a time, usually right on deadline (12:58 Wednesday night). So if I have time, I usually write in intervals. I get all of my thoughts out, and work on something else, then add whatever else I thought of during my break. If I don’t have time, I frantically type up everything I can think of, then go back and polish it.
I’m not very good at using an outline. Every time I’ve used one, I’ve gotten bored halfway through and trashed it. And it seems that most writing that follows an outline is predictably formulaic. Though maybe it’s just people who don’t do it correctly who get that result.
I’d say the main point of the writing workshop was conciseness. While I do think that it’s important to be concise, it’s also important to make sure that you have all of the information that readers will want to know. I don’t think including hyperlinks really makes up for that. I don’t like to have to click on a bunch of different pages to get the information I need. I like for it all to be right there.
In some ways I wish I had more of a strategic approach to writing; Structure is good. Routine is good. But I think I’m too right-brained for that. I’ve never really been a “fill-in-the-blank” kind of person, so an exact formula doesn’t always work for me. My writing process is too situational for a set approach, and I like the “surprise factor” when I finally finish a piece. Creativity and impulse have always been my top priorities when it comes to anything I create, so I don’t like to plan too much. If my prewriting becomes too elaborate, I find myself spending too much time on small, insignificant details instead of focusing on the big picture, and I lose momentum with creativity.
There are, however, a few basic steps I take before I begin writing. First, I make sure I’m well informed and well prepared; this step ALWAYS takes me the longest, because, well, you can never be over-educated. It’s definitely easier to write (and write well) about something you’re passionate about or an expert on. Research is essential. Next, I usually jot down a few “good words,” key words, descriptive words, big words, clearer words, transitional words, or related words that I want to include. I like to keep the overall objective in mind, so I’ll write a few side notes of what I should be emphasizing and what I should include. If I hit writer’s block, I pause, and I pick back up when the inspiration returns. I always read and reread what I’ve written so far, and sometimes I get it right the first time, but I usually do some editing and revising before it’s a masterpiece.
I enjoyed the writing workshop last week. I think it’s important as a writer to learn new strategies and be reminded of the basics. It’s important, especially in public relations, to remember the overall objective or message being conveyed, and to be mindful of whom the audience is. I also like how we worked on breaking down our writing and prioritizing, which I think will take my writing to a more advanced level.
I just commented on a very old post somehow thinking that I was commenting on this one. lol
I’d say I’m a creative person/writer. I really enjoy thinking of new ideas and I get a kick out of coming up with novel approaches to problems. This is both a good a bad when it comes to writing. Good because I’ll usually have 4 or 5 ideas right off the bat on a creative writing assignment and can come up with new ways to communicate information in academic ones. It can be difficult when narrowing down to one or two and making sure those ideas are the best for the piece and not just the ones I like the best.
I will read through the relevant material to the assignment then sit and think about what Im going to write, how to organize the ideas and how I want the voice to sound. Then I start the “just get something down” draft. As you’d probably guess there’s no editing until the draft is finished. This helps me out because otherwise I’m too tempted to go to go back and edit constantly. The “just get something down” also draft keeps the process short, it keeps my writing from getting convoluted and just keeps writing more enjoyable. After that draft I take a step back from the piece for a bit then go back and edit for conciseness, flow and grammar. I try to do a couple drafts but at least one.
Also, I find I do my best communicating verbally so while writing I try to replicate verbal communication as much as possible, monologuing out ideas verbally or at least mentally if I’m somewhere where I have to not look like a crazy person.
Opps, forgot the second part of the writing prompt:
The writing seminar helped me with the editing side of process. The biggest thing I took away was to keep things short and concise. This is a change of gears coming from years of writing for classes where you have a minimum word count. It will be something to keep in mind until it becomes a natural part of how I write. But I also think its a better way to write.
I have never been a formally organized writer. After I receive a prompt, I typically write individual paragraphs about each point in the prompt, then reorganize the ideas and add transitions to create a coherent piece of writing. I’ve found that this works for me because it allows me to write multiple paragraphs and get all my thoughts out at the same time. This might seem inefficient, but it allows me to put together ideas at the pace that I think of them. However, when I came to college, I was bombarded with different writing techniques and methods of prewriting and organizing my thoughts. I was extremely confused and frustrated because none of them seemed to work for me. I tried outlining and free writing, but it just seemed to confuse me, and I ended up with what felt like a chronic case of writer’s block. I realized that I needed to simply perfect my own writing style, which has made me more efficient and effective.
Going forward, I plan to make my writing more concise. I have a habit of expanding single thoughts into complicated structured sentences, and I need to learn to present ideas as they are. The most important thing that I could take from the writing workshop was using the arrows to prioritize thoughts. I can apply this to my own writing style by reordering my paragraphs in order of importance to my work. If I had to summarize three key points from the workshop, I would have to say that they are:
1. Find and clearly state the purpose of your writing.
2. Organize your thoughts and prioritize them.
3. EDIT EDIT EDIT! Then have someone else edit your work!
As a person I am about as Type B as it gets. I’m completely unorganised and I don’t like structure very much. I’m generally very visual and creative and live more for the overall experience. That being said, I’m very logical and I like to do things to the absolute best of my ability. My writing style is much the same. I don’t plan anything beforehand and I rarely employ any type of organisation until I absolutely have to.
I honestly think my writing process would make most professors cringe. In eighteen years of school, I have only had one professor that gave me the freedom I need in writing. If you had an education like mine, every single assignment worked the same way. Do some kind of research if necessary, brainstorm/take notes, make an outline, do a draft and turn it in, peer edit, do another draft, edit, yet another draft, edit, and finally turn in the finished paper that comes back with more corrections. My brain just doesn’t work like that, so I always hated writing. It always felt so unnecessary and redundant that I would avoid writing at all costs. Then, a few years ago I had a professor that saw how much I struggled with that process and let me do it my way. Now I love writing as long as I don’t have to abide by that format.
I think the biggest characteristic of my writing, be it creative, journalistic, academic, or even just personal is that I wait until the absolute last minute to even consider starting. I’m incredibly motivated by pressure and that pit in my stomach helps me produce my best work. I do have to admit that procrastinating has bitten me in the butt more than once, but I’m working on it. Once I actually sit down, I’m there until it’s finished. I’ll do about half to three-quarters of my research before I write anything. Instead of being super specific with research, I usually read a million things and let that guide me. Like Lauren said, you can never be over-educated. From there I usually have an idea of what I want my points to be. If the assignment is complex or needs a lot of detail I’ll handwrite a list and keep it close by. When I start writing it is always beginning to end, in order. If I skip around or start in the body, I get distracted. I think the most important step in any writing is opening a dictionary. I have a dictionary/thesaurus/wikipedia app on my laptop and I open it before I even open a word document. I always start with my thesis or lede and I will spend anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour making sure that it is exactly what I want it to be. Once I have that set, the body comes a lot faster. I edit constantly though. I’ll reread everything dozens of times to make sure that I like every sentence and every word and that it is saying precisely what I want it to. It takes a lot longer than if I just started typing but it works really well for me. Once I have the entire piece done, I’ll read it a few times start to finish making sure I get any silly grammatical or punctuation errors fixed. Usually by this point, I’ll be done and I can be confident that it is a quality piece of writing. For bigger projects or research papers, I’ll print off a copy and sit down with a pen to edit it so that I can see things that I may have missed. Then if I have time before it’s due, I’ll send it to good writers and get their comments and corrections. I have a group of about 6 people that I normally send things to. Then I’ll look over all of the comments and make changes accordingly. I think it’s really important that if you do peer edit, get more than one perspective. If multiple people point something out, its an issue. If one person points out an obscure change that no one else mentions, chances are you don’t need to change it. From here I’ll just print out a final copy and call it finished. It’s really unconventional, but it works incredibly well for me. Also, I tend to do my best writing in the middle of the night. I even had a professor tell me that I should consider doing all of my writing between 3 and 7 a.m.
I think the workshop was very informative and gave a lot of good tips. For me personally, I just don’t approach writing that way at all. I’ve tried the organised planning thing so many times and it ends miserably every time. I do think that she presented a lot of good ideas to focus and trim your writing though.