CM Strawn 2/21/22
Writing is, for me, a calling. I write often, but not every day. The things that I write about are scattered across the cranial spectrum without much organization.
I know that writing must be on purpose and not something that is done spontaneously, although that would be nice. Writing with a purpose is the ideal way to write.
Spontaneous writing is one of the most enjoyable types of writing for me. I don’t have to think too much about what I write, I just write, letting the words fall where they may. This type of writing is fun, but it accomplishes little except that it relieves the pressure on my brain caused by the need to write something – anything.
Writing with a purpose is writing that communicates something important to readers. That means that the writer must know something to write about that will help the reader. Knowing something means that there will be research or something from the writer’s experience will be penned for reader consumption.
So, how does one write with a purpose? The writer must have a purpose to write with one. Purposeful writing must have a plan, or outline – perish the thought. Writing done on purpose is prose that educates, entertains, or provides an escape.
To write with a purpose the writer must decide what that purpose is. That means introspection and thinking about what to write must occur. And then comes the research. And then the outline. Then the drafting, which is fun. And then the revisions.
There is a process to purposeful writing. And it must be done on purpose. (I know, that’s a lot of repetition.) That means that the writer must have decided on one thing to write about instead of letting the prose go scattershot on the page.
The best way to control writing is to conduct focused research about a single topic. How much research needs to be done depends on how much the writer already knows about the topic. If little is known, the research burden may be heavy. Again, depending on the length of the article or post required.
Shoddy research will show up in the finished product and it will reflect badly on the writer. It is best to invest the necessary amount of effort into the research to produce the best quality draft possible.
Next comes the outline. Who needs an outline? After the research is done, just sit and pound out the prose. Right? This may be the way some writers operate, and that may work well for them. But I like to work from an outline because it helps me with continuity and speed. Everyone has their best way.
Writing down the points that need to be addressed will help keep the article on track without veering down rabbit trails that lead nowhere and confuse the reader. An outline is like a roadmap for the writer. It guides the writer to the end of the project without getting lost along the way.