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.