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The writing process: Five stages for successful writing

Updated on June 13, 2016

Though seasoned writers make it look effortless, successful writing involves a lot of work and attention to detail. In order to produce quality content, a writer needs to - consciously or not - follow five key stages that together create the impeccable final piece.

Below are the five stages your writing process needs to follow in order to be a successful writer:


Brainstorming

It may seem like the writing process only begins when you set pen on paper, or in this case, when you start typing the very first words of your new article; in fact, the writing process actually begins when your mind is brimming with new ideas, as these will dictate the subject matter of your work. It is at this moment that the article is starting to shape up in your mind. If this process stops in its tracks as a result of you either getting distracted or losing interest in the topic at hand, you will probably encounter difficulties at the actual stage of laying down ideas, because you will have forgotten key ideas that got you enthusiastic in the first place.

Doing research

Depending on how knowledgeable you are about your chosen topic, you may need to do very little research or quite the opposite, spend many an hour researching all the facts that are relevant to your subject matter. Successful writing requires solid knowledge either from experience or research, since inaccuracies and misconceptions can significantly lower the value of your work. Because the purpose of non-creative writing is to inform an audience, it is crucial to get your facts straight before actually starting to write.

Writing

The actual stage of writing involves the often difficult process of crafting a punchy opening paragraph, followed by several well-structured, logically connected paragraphs. The article should also have a conclusion paragraph, which may either be a summary of what has been previously stated or a conclusion drawn from the information presented. If the first two stages of brainstorming and research have been thoroughly followed, the actual writing process should flow naturally, with few obstacles.

Self-editing

A stage frequently overlooked by beginners, self-editing is crucial to the quality of the final work. No matter how well-researched, creative and interesting your article may be, if typos, spelling errors, repeated words or any other minor issues have somehow made its way into your article, then you haven’t produced a high quality piece. Your ability to self-edit is essential to becoming a successful writer, since you’ll minimize the risk of rejections from clients or content websites and you’ll be able to build an impeccable portfolio.

Revising one last time

The final stage requires you to read your article thoroughly one last time before submission, in order to make sure you’re happy with the changes you’ve made during the self-editing stage and that you’ve done the best writing you can. The determination to always making sure that your work doesn’t leave any room for improvement as it stands will ensure your long term success as a writer.

As you become a more experienced writer, the five stages presented above are bound to become second nature. The key idea behind the whole process is to constantly work on improving your craft and produce quality work that surpasses the audience's expectations.

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