In last week’s post, 7 Habits of Serious Writers, I mentioned the importance of actually writing, plus the need to redraft. I thought it’d be worth putting those stages into context – because they’re not all you need for an effective piece.
Every finished piece of writing passes through four stages:
Sure, you can publish a blog post without doing any planning, or any rewriting and editing. Unless you’re very lucky, though (or writing something extremely short), you’ll be lacking a clear focus, the structure won’t quite work, and there’ll be clumsy sentences all over the place.
I wouldn’t call that “finished”, myself. I’d call it a draft.
The four stages don’t always have to be tackled in order. Sometimes, you’ll find that they can be combined – rewriting and editing, for instance. They don’t even have to be carried out by the same person. (I’ve written blog posts to other people’s plans, and I’ve had my work edited by others.)
But it’s crucial to be clear about what each stage involves. If you’re struggling with a particular piece of writing, there’s a good chance that you’ve skipped a step somewhere – or that you’ve tried to do everything at once.
Stage #1: Planning