Planning Helps When Writing

July 27, 2011

Most successful writers follow the three stages of writing: planning, drafting, and revising. Each stage has its own steps.

Here are the steps for planning your writing:

  • Assess your writing situation. A basic assessment checklist should include the subject you’re considering writing about, the research you’ll need to do, the quality/credibility of sources you can use, the reason you’re writing the piece, thinking about your readers by asking the following: Who are they? What do you want them to take away from your piece? How well informed are they on the subject? How friendly (or not) are they likely to be to your position? What is your relationship to the them (authority or expert, for example)? How sophisticated are your readers (this impacts your word choice and sentence length and structure)?
  • Experiment and explore ideas. Some techniques are lists, clusters, mind maps, branching, asking questions, and free writing.
  • Determine the focus of your piece. You have many options, and you get to choose which one works best in achieving the purpose of your writing.
  • Consider outlining your piece so you can bring some flow to your writing (helps you decide which idea follows which other idea). Be flexible since you’re in the planning stage. Give yourself permission to try various ways of presenting your information.

In my next post, I’ll offer some ideas on the next stage of writing–drafting.

Happy writing!