How To Plan a Piece of Writing16/01/2020
Sitting down to write can be a daunting thought. Whether it’s a post or novel, it can be tricky. We must find a way to arrange coherent sentences and inform or describe and makes sense with the vocabulary at our disposal. To make it easier, we work and develop our own unique writing habits, including ways to structure our writing and how to plan a piece of writing.
I struggle to write, well not to write, but to start. The challenge for me is where to begin with this piece; how do I introduce the idea when I haven’t really thought about it beyond the original thought. For example, I’ve had this topic written down as a post to write for the best part of a week, yet, it’s taken me until now to put ink on the page.
At first glance, there seems to be a vast difference between a blog post, a short story, a novel, or a journalistic article. I don’t believe that. Of course, they vary considerably in style, but in actual skill, they’re quite similar. Likewise, there are different elements in each piece of writing that make these formats unique, but they can be approached in much the same way. Whether I’m writing a scene, or chapter, or a blog post, I find where I start and break it down into smaller chunks. The building blocks.
The idea for this post was to explain and show an insight into my writing process. Because there isn’t much of a process when compared to what other writers do. I’m not good at collecting a vast amount of information and arranging it into a clear and concise article. But I am good at piecing things together in a way that makes sense.
So, once I had the idea for the post, I sat down and wrote a single sentence. Sitting down to write can be a daunting thought. From here, I built on the idea and wrote the first paragraph. Then, I stopped writing. I stared at the white screen and thought about what the direction should be. Where does the start lead, but more importantly, where does it end?
A lot of writers start with a complete plan and then work from there, some deviate, and some don’t, they stick to it with strict observance of their guidelines. I’m more of a fly by the moment kind of writer. In fact, I’m almost chaotic with it. All I need to create something, of any length, is a starting point.
Once I’ve written that elusive first sentence or paragraph, I plan. Except it isn’t much of a plan at all. I write a list of sections or subheadings if I’m writing a blog post or any other form of article. But if I’m working on a scene, I write a list of key moments within the scene then connect the dots. Sometimes I overwrite, that is, I mumble on a bit, but I then tighten the prose and simplify everything when editing.
Some articles, such as this one, require less planning or research. I mean the subheadings I’m using for this article are the original bullet points I listed. But I also wrote few extra points beneath the original subtitles. These notes served as a reminder as to what it was I’m trying to say. For example, this section has a bullet point titled Research and Tabs, to remind me to explain my approach to research should I leave my computer or forget.
I don’t collect information and arrange in the way most writers would be familiar with. Of course, I read and gather different articles and stories when they’re required, but I tend to look over them when needed. I use my knowledge more than anything. For example, when I compiled my list of writer’s facts7 Weird Facts About Famous Authors, I read around then researched each fact as I went along.
For bigger projects, I need to record more information, but I follow the above methods for articles. When writing my novel, I keep the story mapped out in my head until I sit down and write. I like to surprise myself sometimes.
Filling in the Gaps
And that’s pretty much my simple method of writing. Of course, I plan but inside my head, but I keep it very broad. I write my list then fill in the gaps. Most of my drafts lack flow because I’m constantly shuffling things around, but that’s why editing and rewriting is vital. In fact, that’s the best piece of writing advice I’ve heard. You can always edit a bad draft, you can’t edit an empty page.
Edits and rewrites are also where I remove irrelevant bits of information. Moments when I may have run on too long. When I started this article, my current four-paragraph introduction was only one. The two lines that followed were initially under the Start subheading. But to fill in the gaps, I rearranged. It worked better in its current form.