One area writers often struggle in is getting organized for the writing process. We have all these great ideas floating around in our head and pages upon pages of random notes and research, which should be more than enough to crank out a great article in no time.
But sometimes, all those thoughts and ideas are disorganized. They're in three or more places (including in our head), and what's written down looks like chicken scratch.
So when we finally do sit down to write, we're not sure where to start or which end is up.
That can make for long hours of staring at a blank computer screen.
There's a myriad of strategies for writers looking to untangle the web of creativity and be more organized, and what works best for one may not benefit another. But next time you sit down to craft your next blog, article, or book, try this:
1. Open a separate word document (not the one you plan to use for your formal piece).
2. Next, pool together all relevant information for your project. By that I mean transcribe any notes or interviews you have saved on a recorder or written in shorthand on a notepad or Post-it® Note. The goal is to get it all written down in one place.
3. When you're done, freewrite your raw thoughts into an outline or story shell – in the same document. Don't worry about punctuation, grammar, spelling, or style at this point.
What you have done in three steps is organize the writing process. It may still be a lot of information, but at least it's in one document. There's no need to refer to your notepad, listen to a recording, or plan as you write because it's all mapped out in front of you.
One thing I like to do after this discovery and organization stage is take a break and let everything "marinate" in my mind. A few hours later, I'll sit down, pull that document over to the far right of my computer screen, and open a fresh document to the left.
As I type out my article, I can refer to my notes all on the same screen.
I've learned from plenty of my writing projects at Edit This®, whether they be shorter pieces for clients or longer feature articles, that the more I organize the process, the less stressed I am and the easier it is to get my creative juices flowing.
Thanks for reading!
*STEVE GAMEL is the President & Owner of Edit This, LLC, a writing and editing services company located in Denton, TX. Steve handles anything involving the written word. Give him a call today to help give your business a clear voice.