The Two Parts of the Writing Process

by janetkayfetz

Producing a written text has two parts. One part is the generation of content; the other part is the editing of content.

Yesterday, in the first class meeting of my writing class at UCSB’s Bren School, I asked “How many of you spend an hour writing a single paragraph?” Many of the students raised their hands.

Why does it take these folks so long to produce a single paragraph of text? Because they are blending the two parts of the writing process.

Instead of first producing content in an uninterrupted flow and then editing what they have written, they are making changes to story, words, sentences, and organization as they compose.

If you are someone who writes and edits simultaneously, try something different.

Bren students engrossed in the composing process.

Bren students engrossed in the composing process.

Try to write your ideas without interrupting the flow — even if only for a few minutes at a time.

Then go back and play with your content — refine the meaning, logic, precision, voice, and readability.