Timelapse Writing of a Research Paper
Last time I wrote, I blogged about being in process. You should know three things about the writing process if you don't already:
1. The writing process occurs in stages.
Those stages include all the things you do in preparation to write, all the things you do as you write the lines/sentences, and all the things you do after you've written to tidy up and polish the work.
Earlier Stages Middle-ish Stages Later Stages
Prewriting Drafting Revising/moving sections
Free writing Filling out the outline Proofreading
Outlining Integrating evidence Editing
Researching topic/audience Peer review Fact-checking
Peer review Peer review
2. The writing process is not linear, which is to say that it doesn't happen one separate activity at a time.
It's more cyclical, more messy.
For example, sometimes while I'm attempting to fill out my rough outline, I realize I need to do more research, so I return to that stage. Or, sometimes as I'm integrating evidence, I'll realize that my argument is just not working and needs to be tweaked, so I turn to free writing, prewriting, or outlining again to help me re-organize or re-think my argument.
3. Everyone's process is different.
Every single writer's process is different. From the tasks that they find most helpful and rely on, to the environment and media they prefer to write in, to the order that they perform the tasks in, to their back-up plan if the regular process does not work--
every. writer's. writing. process. is. different.
Here's what good writers do: every good writer thinks about his/her writing process and makes an effort to figure out what works best. Good writers experiment with different writing activities.
Good writers aren't always the people with the natural talent for writing--more often, they are the people who think about their habits, who are conscious about what works and what doesn't.
Looking back at that last blog entry, I notice that my particular writing process is heavy up front. I spend most of my composing time gathering information and cycling between outlining and researching, as well as prewriting my thesis and topic sentences. I have to do these tasks together to do them efficiently. (This is me thinking about my writing habits.)