From writing to editing

Writing processes have always intrigued me. I love reading what methods and processes various writers have when they work, if they write by hand or direct to computer, or if they hire someone to type it all, or if they record themselves and transcribe. To be sure, I’ve wanted to try many different writing work flows, but none has stuck yet–aside from what I’ve been doing when I was younger, as a writer and an editor of the school newspaper.

My writing work flow

I write on my computer, and then I print it out, double-spaced, a page per sheet. And then I take a red pen. And I massacre it with editorial marks.

What this does for me is a sense of accomplishment, at almost every stage of the writing process. When I’m done with my story, when I’m ready to clean up that first draft, a thick printout serves as my “congratulations for making it this far!” It’s closure. It’s a tangible output, something I can hold, hug, and kiss in the darkness of my room where no one will think I am odd. It’s the end. I HAVE DONE IT!

And the red markings? Oh boy. We are always our harshest critic, and seeing the page marked up with corrections, notes, and various curly stuff–it’s also a sense of accomplishment. At the end of the editing, to see the once-immaculate pile of sheets wrinkled, slightly off-kilter, and filled with squiggly lines–it is glorious. I know I did my job.

Then I go through another round, but this time there’s not a lot to go through. Things that I missed, stuff that I thought would sound better, but they don’t. Close friends might also take a peek at this stage, but it’s seldom. I’ve rarely needed to go through a third pass-through, but then the dozen stories-to-be-turned-to-novels in my hard drive were never printed out, and short stories (the bulk of my published writing) generally don’t need such an involved process.

Other interesting processes

As mentioned, I’ve always been intrigued with how other writers do it. Going through a “writing reboot” as I am, now would be the best time to sit down and familiarize myself with a new way of doing things.

I’ve heard of a couple interesting ones:

  1. Recording oneself, then transcribing it manually or with some tool or service;
  2. Writing everything by longhand, and then typing it out manually or by scanning it in and getting it converted;
  3. Writing everything on different pieces on note cards, easy to switch scenes around;
  4. Using a specific software with its own work flow.

Do you know of any interesting work flows, or do you have a particular one which works for you?

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