All writers use different methods of writing and have their own writing approaches. Many writers don’t follow any guides and step-by-step instructions, considering the writing process as something natural. However, sometimes we may need to complete tricky tasks, and that’s when we start looking for an understandable and specific approach that will simplify our work so that we can save some time and just follow a simple step-by-step plan.
We decided to help you with our simple guide that will allow you to organize your writing process properly, overcoming most difficulties associated with new unexpected challenges.
Let’s start from the beginning. Perhaps, you prepared for work, organized your workplace, and now you’re staring at a blank sheet. What to begin with? We suggest beginning with prewriting, which includes only three simple yet important steps:
- Define your idea. If you don’t have any, just look around. Ideas are everywhere! You just need to find some inspiration. It may hide somewhere in your past or in simple things around you. Wherever you go, make sure your laptop is with you — anytime you have a fresh idea, jot it down and use it in the future.
- Build on your idea. There are many methods of developing ideas. For example, you can try brainstorming or free writing. Just take a blank sheet of paper and write down everything that comes to your mind. Don’t edit anything, don’t think of what idea is better, just write more thoughts and then work with them. Another method is called branching: write your main idea in the center of the page and then draw branches that lead to possible directions of its development.
- Structure your idea. Now you can take a look at your list of ideas and select only the best ones. Don’t throw your notes away — you can use them for your next story.
Now you have a plan and a few great ideas. The only thing left to do is write. Don’t be too tough on your first draft. You will have enough time to check your grammar and make sure the number of words meets given requirements. The point is that it’s impossible to create something perfect immediately. All successful writers write several drafts unless they see that their work is good. We suggest considering the writing process as a free writing task that has a particular direction. To be productive, get rid of all distractions and find a nice place to work. Let writing be a part of your everyday routine.
Now prepare for the fact that your paper may change quite a bit. Revision is a very important part of the writing process, that’s why many writers follow the A.R.R.R. (Add, Rearrange, Remove, Replace) method to polish their papers:
- Add. How many words have you written? Usually, novels are 60,000 to 100,000 words long. Do you have enough material to call your work a novel? Do you need to provide readers with some additional information so they can better understand the meaning of your story? If you’re not sure that you’ve done enough, go back and add more details, scenes, or dialogues.
- Rearrange. Take a look at the structure of your work and make sure all events are logically connected. You may want to change your sequencing and pacing. Maybe your story will benefit from rearranging the plot?
- Remove. After you added new paragraphs or scenes, check your word count once again. Make sure you don’t overload your readers with new information. If some parts are difficult to read, you may want to remove them in order to improve readability.
- Replace. A really good method of revising your work is asking somebody to read it. Listen to someone else’s opinion and get more ideas on what can be improved. Others may notice some details that were hiding from you during the whole writing process. They may tell you that you need more vivid details, or that some scenes contradict each other.
Well, the major part of your story is completed. Now you need to just polish it and edit your work line by line. Fix all spelling, punctuation, and grammar mistakes. In addition, we recommend that you find a professional editor who can work on your piece of writing properly. There are many online services that offer editing and proofreading. Remember that nobody likes books that are full of mistakes, even if the general meaning and idea of this book are great.
Finally, you’ve got to this stage. Your manuscript is polished and ready to be published. You can choose from among hundreds available publishers. If you’re not sure what publisher to choose, we suggest checking their portfolios. If some publisher has a good experience in publishing similar books, it may be the best choice.
That’s it! Don’t forget to celebrate your achievement! However, if you want your book to become popular, you still have a lot of work to do. In this case, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with principles and rules of marketing. You will need to define your target audience and choose a marketing strategy that fits your goals.