Writing and Publishing

What’s Your Writing Process?

I call myself an “iteration writer,” meaning that through a process of repeated passes, or iterations, I fine-tune my writing until I achieve the results I desire. While some writers write quickly and then edit extensively, I’m not one of them. My first draft is generally good—not finished good, but respectable.

When writing, each time I reach a lull in my flow of words, I back up a paragraph, tweaking as I review. This gives me a running start to plow into the blank portion of the next section. Sometimes the next sentence follows with ease, other times it’s a paragraph or more, but occasionally it’s merely a phrase or even a word. Regardless, I write until my mind produces no more words. Then I back up and do it again.

This method looks a bit differently depending on what I’m writing.

For books, I follow this process from beginning to end. Once at the finish line, I set it aside for a time, then I edit the entire thing. I make subsequent passes until I’m satisfied with the results. Then it goes to a copy-editor.

When writing articles, I perform multiple iterations in one sitting as I work from title to conclusion. Then I let my work ruminate. A day or two later I make a final read, editing as appropriate. I may repeat that process again before pronouncing it done. Then I ship it.

When blogging, I do all my iterations in one sitting, without the luxury of being able to cogitate on it for a day or two. I post it without a final edit. As a result, some posts need a minor tweak or typo fixed.

And then there’s Twitter, which doesn’t fit my writing process at all.

By Peter Lyle DeHaan

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, publishes books about business, customer service, the call center industry, and business and writing.

4 replies on “What’s Your Writing Process?”

Sometimes my blog posts are written all in one frantic sitting. Other times I have to let them brew a while, and they sit in the draft section of Word Press for a few days or a few weeks. Because so much of my writing is squeezed in, in snatches of time before or after work, I sometimes quickly write down an idea and then return to it…all the while chewing it over in my mind.

After I publish, I always see something that needs to be changed. Maybe reading them in published form makes it easier to see it the way others see it. I don’t know.

Interestingly, I used to compose my posts in Word Press, but now I write them in Word and copy the final version into Word Press.

(Some people say that approach causes problems, but it’s always worked great for me!)

What do you think? Please leave a comment!