How I Write
I started writing everyday at the start of this year. I’ve still got a lot to learn but I’ve improved a lot since. Part of my improvement is figuring out my writing process—what works and what doesn’t. Though I’m still a beginner, I think it’d be cool to share my writing process. Both as a way of sharing it with others but also to document my current process, and see how it changes over time.
How I Conduct Research
One lesson I’ve learned is that the writing process starts before I sit down and start typing words, it starts with research.
I find that my writing output is dependent on the quality of my inputs. Thus, it’s important for me to consume high quality information whether that be from a book, essay or podcast.
I also take a lot of notes. As soon as an ideas comes to mind I write it down. I find some of my best ideas come from the pockets of stillness in my life: when I’m out for a walk, in line at the coffee shop, or when I’m driving.
My Writing Process
My first draft is a brain dump. I write down everything I can think of on the topic with no judgement. I don’t care if a sentence is badly worded or an idea is silly, I write it down anyways.
Then I begin to rewrite. I rearrange ideas, rephrase sentences, and cut out anything that’s weak or unecessary. I do this many times over.
Coupled with the rewriting stage is asking for feedback. After rewriting the piece a few times I’ll send it to a couple of friends to get their take on it. I’ll ask for specific prompts to look out for .
Afterwards, I stop working on the piece. Stephen King would throw his manuscript in a drawer for six weeks before writing his final draft. When he re-opens it he sees it with fresh eyes. Often I find that taking that break, gives you a new perspective on the piece. Usually, I’ll leave it on the side for a week.
After repeating the feedback and rewriting process eventually the piece will past the threshold of “good enough”, that’s when I ship. The feeling is an intuitive one for me. Yes, there will always be changes I want to make but I’m also cognizant of diminishing returns.
My Writing Stack
- Evernote. I have the app on my phone and desktop. This is mainly used for brainstorming and keeping track of ideas.
- Google Docs. I use this for essays to enable collaboration and feedback.
- Sublime Text. I write my daily blog posts here. It has a nice distraction-free setting that I find helpful.
- When do I write? Mainly in the morning but occasionally in the evenings.
- Where do I write? The majority of the time, I write in my house. Though I also like to change things up and write in different places such as the library, coffeeshop, hotel lobby, bus, etc.
- What do I listen to when I write? Instrumentals. I’m a big fan of Spotify’s Deep Focus playlist, but I also listen to jazz, and classical music as well.
 Writing my past essay I realize there’s an art to asking for feedback, and that my current framework can be improved. I’ll be testing this out for my next essay.