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Find Your Writing Process
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How to Find a Writing Process that Works For You
By Melinda Copp

Writing projects often take longer than anticipated and that's simply because many writers don't have a process that helps them work efficiently. All experienced writers develop a rhythm to their work with practice and experience. They understand how they work, when they work best, and the different phases of the writing process—and they accomplish more as a result.

However, because writing is a creative process, it cannot be fully systemized. You cannot expect turn out copy with the same precision and degree of excellence every time. Still, by working out a system that you can live with and one that works reasonably well, you can expect to have reasonable degree of proficiency that can be counted on.

Remember that writing systems vary from writer to writer, and even a writer that uses the same system over and over may vary their approach according to their experience on the subject and the kind of writing being done. It's difficult to pin something like writing down and give it an exact schedule that can be counted on again and again. Still, most writers go through similar phases with each project.

Procrastination, Hesitation, and Writer’s Block
The first stage of almost any writing project is, unfortunately, hesitation. Even professional writers panic a little when faced with a project. So don't beat yourself up if you have no idea where or how to start at first. This feeling is quite a common and most experts suggest that this is actually a great way to warm up to the topic that you’re writing about.

The trick is to not let this initial hesitation overcome your ability to write what needs to be written. Try setting a strict time limit for yourself—say ten or fifteen minutes of procrastination before you start a project. Allow your subconscious to take over, but only for a specific amount of time. Then jump in to the writing and don’t look back.

Planning and Organizing
The next step is where you decide what you want to say in the piece you’re working on. Before this point, you may have had a general idea, but now you need to actually figure out the message you want to communicate and the best way to do it. This step will be a lot easier if you write down all your ideas first, without evaluating or censoring them. Then you should select only those ideas that are essential to the topic or to your reader. This can be difficult, but you've got to throw away the ideas that are only marginally good so the better ones come to the forefront. Next you'll need to organize the ideas and one of the best ways to do that is to experiment with different approaches until you find one that does justice to the content.

Write Away
Writing the draft comes next and, if possible, you should write the whole first draft in one sitting. This obviously doesn’t work for longer pieces like books, but you should avoid editing yourself until you have a complete draft. Resist the temptation to get it right the first time and overwork your writing at this stage. Expect that the first draft will be rough, and revisions will always be required. Take some time after your draft is done to gain a little perspective by putting it away for as long as your deadline permits. Remember too that one of the final stages, revising the draft, may take almost as much time as it did to write the original copy.

Finding Your Rhythm
All writers develop a rhythm with experience and practice. As a new writer, the key is to stick with it and be conscious of these different phases of the writing process. When you know what it takes to get the job done, you’ll be able to work more efficiently.

About the Author: Melinda Copp is a writing coach, ghostwriter, and book editor who specializes in helping aspiring authors reach their writing goals. Sign up for her free e-zine at www.FINALLYwriteabook.com, and get a free special report!

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