I’m going to depart from talking about my product, and dive into my process.

Journey with me. ?

The writing process describes a sequence of physical and mental actions that people take as they produce any kind of text.

Writing processes are highly individualized and task-specific. They often involve other kinds of activities that are not usually thought of as writing per se (talking, drawing, reading, browsing, etc.)” as Ashley Clayson outlined in her 2018 work, Distributed Cognition and Embodiment in Text Planning: A Situated Study of Collaborative Writing in the Workplace.

In 1972, Donald M. Murray published his manifesto entitled Teach Writing as a Process Not Product, where he argued that English teachers’ conventional training in literary criticism caused them to hold students’ work to unhelpful standards of highly polished “finished writing.”

Murray advocated process-based instruction. His manifesto is regarded as a landmark articulation of the differences between process and product orientations in the art of writing. Within a decade, Maxine Hairston observed that the teaching of writing had undergone a “paradigm shift” in moving from a focus on written products to writing processes.

Who would’ve thought that the writing process could be so puzzling?

My own writing has evolved into phases of prewriting, writing, and a lot of revising. This three-stage process links to four canons of rhetoric; tying prewriting to invention and arrangement, writing to style, and revision to delivery.

Prewriting is defined as thinking preceeding writing and the activity of the mind which brings forth and develops ideas, plans and designs. 

Prewriting begins in advance of where the ‘writing idea’ is ready for the words and the page. While the writing process allows that something is necessarily involved in producing any written text, my writing process begins long before any visible documentable work is observable.

Embracing the fundamental idea that writing processes are historically dynamic – not psychic states, cognitive routines, or neutral social relationships, the iterations begin.

Think. Organize. Write. Review. Revise. Rinse. Repeat.

This process has overlapping parts of a complex whole that are repeated multiple times throughout the composition of the end product.

I learned long ago through my business career that discovering the process of editorial changes will almost always trigger brainstorming and sometimes change my purpose. Drafting a story is temporarily interrupted to correct a misspelling or fix a grammatical issue, but then I’ll need to re-read the text and the dynamics begin all over again. Rinse. Repeat. New thoughts emerge as I review and then re-write what I had just written, sometimes, but enough that the fine tuning exercise tends to delay the final product beyond my expectations, and result in a much better product.

Linda Flower and John R. Hayes noted in The Cognition of Discovery: Defining a Rhetorical Problem, “that the rhetorical situation is what motivates a writer to create ideas.”

My own goals are what guide how my ideas are formed, but the rhetorical situation is further split into my purpose of writing, and who will be reading it.

I write for the target audience.

My own goals are split into how the reader is affected, my own persona, a meaning I can create, and implementation of certain writing conventions.

  1. Good writers respond to all of the rhetorical problems,
  2. Good writers build their problem representation by creating a rich network of goals for affecting a reader; and
  3. Good writers represent the problem not only in more breadth but in more depth.

Good writers embrace these three characteristics when solving their rhetorical problems:

A historical response to process concerns itself primarily with the manner in which writing has been shaped and governed by historical and social forces. These forces are dynamic and contextual.

The writing process outlined briefly above is a framework for where I always am and where I am always going in my written word.

As I develop this blog, I will continue to write about the process of writing that I am experiencing.

What brought me to the ‘sport’ of writing? What keeps me going, where I started with only one hazy storyline and evolved that into another fifteen personal stories that I want to write about?

It’s a new day!

Writing has always been fun and I never knew, as a young journalism student years ago, where this would go.

Stay tuned, and walk along in my boots with me!

Next up, how Camp Toccoa becomes common ground for the subject of my first book – Gordon Lippman, and Stephen Ambrose’s treatis on the “Band of Brothers“.

2 Responses

  1. What a well laid out blog, with interesting content. my take home is that you really enjoy and get a lot out of writing. It is your soul work. Also looking forward to reading Band of Brothers. Job well done!!! Cheers!

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