Regardless of how long and which industry you are in writing, you must have heard about the importance of a writing process. Which is why, as you develop your own writing process, you keep wanting to improve it more and more. No surprise, it should be optimized so it is as productive as possible.
But wait, what is writing process actually?
A writing process is a sequence of physical and mental actions that people take as they produce any kind of text.
And as we know, all people are different. There is no a one-size-fits-all answer. With that being said, here are a few universal keys that can help everyone develop their productive writing process.
How to Develop a Productive Writing Process
Have a journal where you can store all of your ideas.
Inspirations can hit in a lot of ways, usually (and a bit annoyingly) at unexpected places. So you must have a process for capturing ideas when they hit; you cannot only depend on your brainpower telling you ‘I’ll remember I later’. So keep something handy that you can grab anytime when they do hit.
I bet you’re thinking about the traditional pen and notebook thing as you’re reading this. While that can also be used, the journal can also be digital. You can utilize any note-taking apps on your phone to be that journal if that is more convenient to you.
Remember, you cannot capture all the ideas that will come to you, but you cannot let all of them escape either.
Have another journal where you can store all material related to your ideas.
A writer should always be gathering material, whether it’s that new books on your reading lists, to interesting articles that you found on the Internet. Additionally, this works the same with ideas or inspirations that we talked about earlier; they come unexpectedly, and we need a process to capture them as well since we could not let all of them escape. For example, Mary Jaksch suggested to create a swipe file or folder; a digital location where you save interesting copies that you found.
Have your own writing assignments.
Most of us haven’t had regular homework since high school, but setting goals for yourself might help you improve your writing. Develop assignments that force you to experiment and practise different aspects of writing, such as sentence structure, point of view, and word choice.
And before you say anything, assignments does not have to be boring. It can be fun!
Your creativity can be stifled if you only write to generate something significant. Thus, it is important to set aside time for enjoyable writing exercise, even just for 5 to 10 minutes a day. You’re really out of school already, so you can choose for yourself how to conduct these assignments in ways that are enjoyable to you.
By now, I hope that you have gained enough insights on how to build a writing process that can yield the most out of you.
Now, let’s talk about how you can generate ideas to write consistently, so we can put that writing process in good use.
Ways to Help You Generate Ideas Consistently
Look around you.
Literally, look around you.
You can look over your previous content. Your old, existing content can inspire you for a new writing, or to update that content with new insights. Another way of doing it is to look at your popular posts. You might add something new to the subject, or you’ll gain new ideas for related, recurring themes that pop up in your writing.
Next, take a look at other people. For example, you can always look at famous people’s quotes, they’re always a big hit. You can use them for inspirations for new writings, or help you reinforce your existing major points and phrases in your writing. By using them, it portrays that your opinions and perspectives are echoed by the words of a well-known person. Next example, you can turn on some music and pay close attention to the lyrics. Everyone is inspired by music, and song lyrics can help you produce great words.
Other than that, take a look at current issues and how to utilize it. In fact, it’s a thing; newsjacking, where you publish an article to express your opinion on a widely discussed news event. Newsjacking aids in the generation of ideas because all you have to do is be a well-known news junkie and then ride on that news. Conversations regarding the news take place online, and all you have to do is offer your two cents.
Make connections and join the dots.
Your idea becomes better and bigger when you realise how ideas connect, and how an idea may be sculpted and formed into a new idea. Recombine individual concepts and data elements to form a brand-new concept. From there, you can write a better and more valuable post once you understand how your thoughts link.
To be honest, this can be a hard thing to do, because some concepts do require some time to develop. It’s okay, take your time to ‘marinate’ those ideas. In fact, it’s fine if some of your ideas never materialise into published articles; that idea alone, although remained unpublished, will always be the backbone of some of your amazing key pieces.
Take a look at what other people want.
We now live in a big data world where we can look up almost any data that we want. And the simplest way of doing that, is through Google searches.
When you search something, you will usually find around eight related searched at the bottom of the results page. It’s a way for Google to show you what they see when they search. These various keywords provide you with additional words to add to your list of ideas. You can observe that there are some keywords that repeat themselves. This will assist you in expanding your mind beyond your first concept.
So there you go, 3 ways to develop a productive writing process and 3 tips to generate writing ideas consistently.
You might be tempted to fine the holy grail, the ultimate idea generating and writing processes that will launch your writing career to success. But, as I said before, there is no right or wrong way for these processes; they will always be fluid and messy.
But still, there’s no one to stop you constructing your own process, because that best-selling novel is not going to write on its own.
All the best!