As I work with people at different stages of the writing process, I find that they're often surprised that there IS a writing process. Most often, we imagine how a "real" writer works. He sits down at his lovely, mahogany desk and gets out his pad of paper or his antiquated typewriter. He flexes his fingers, and grabs his favorite fountain pen or starts typing on the keys. Suddenly, words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters fly onto the paper. After some pre-determined time, Real Writer puts down his pen or takes his fingers off the keys, stretches, sighs a sigh of satisfaction, and gets up from the desk. He brushes his hands together - another successful day of writing done and pages of manuscript in the hopper.


That's how we imagine it works, but it doesn't. Writing is a process with at least three distinct parts.

- Prewriting: Organizing your thoughts. Spewing out details. Deciding what you want to write about. Determining your purpose, audience, message, tone. Questions.
- Writing: Taking all the fodder from the prewriting step and starting to create form from mass. This is where sentences, paragraphs, chapters start to materialize.
- Editing and revision: But wait! You're not done yet! Editing and revision is the process of going back over what you've written and making it better. It's not just pulling the weeds (the bad stuff) out of the garden. It might also be deciding to plant more strong, healthy flowers (the good stuff) in new places. Editing and revision isn't all about making bad good. It's also about taking what's powerful and strengthening that.

The problem is usually that we try to do all three steps at once. I'm not talking about sitting down and prewriting, then writing, and then finally editing - in three separate, distinct chunks of time. No, usually people try to sit down and start writing the final draft right off the bat.

Why is this a problem?

First, it stunts the creative process. You're trying to write full sentences and make them perfect instead of just getting the ideas down. Instead of playing with ideas and having fun with them, you bring out the editor right away.

And the minute you start editing, you shut off the creative side of your brain. You can't create and edit at the same time. Creativity and editing use two different parts of your brain, and you can't do them effectively together.

To effectively edit, you need more time between the draft and editing. If you go straight into editing mode after writing mode, you're still lodged into the writing mindset. You're reviewing the words you've written with the lenses you've just written through. Here's an example: you're telling your spouse about a conversation you just had with your mother. The conversation is fresh, and you're replaying it in your head. You hear your mother's voice, and you remember your responses. You're still stuck in that conversation in your head as you try to recount it to your spouse. Because you're intimately familiar with the conversation, you might forget that lovely spouse wasn't anywhere in it and you might leave out a few details. But if you didn't have a chance to tell your spouse about the conversation until two days later, you'd probably be thinking about what to relate from a viewpoint of what background do you need to give, and what additional details does your spouse need in order to get the full picture. You need that time in between writing and editing, too.

You need to be able to step back and see your writing as a single, whole piece, not as an extension of your mindset.

Author's Bio: 

Dawn Shuler, Content Creator Extraordinaire, helps entrepreneurs and authors convey their deep message into compelling words, whether it's marketing material or a book, as well as to create powerful content to increase their credibility, visibility, and profitability. Her soul purpose is to help entrepreneurs unleash their authentic selves into their businesses through their content. She created the Writing From Your Soul system to help business owners connect more powerfully, reach more people, and make a difference. Download the free, 13-step system at