Do you take the time to determine the purpose of your manuscript before starting to write? Do you understand your readership and know who you are writing for? Do you brainstorm your content? Do you organize your material before starting to write? Do you revise your manuscript and get it in good shape before sending it out to an editor or publisher?
If you don’t take the time to go through these all-important steps for each of your manuscripts, you will probably not complete a successful manuscript. Writing takes a lot of work, effort, and practice. But this six-step process will help you to produce your best work.
This process came to my attention after I read Laura Brown’s brand new book entitled How to Write Anything. Chapter 2 discusses this six-step process in detail. I will briefly outline this six step process below. I use this six steps to write my nonfiction manuscripts all the time.
Here is Laura Brown’s six-step process. You may want to print off these steps and tack them above your work station for easy reference.
1. Understand your purpose
When you sit down to write anything, you should understand the purpose for writing your manuscript. What are you hoping to accomplish with this particular manuscript? Sometimes your purpose for writing a particular manuscript may be self-evident. But a lot of times, your purpose is not as evident as you may think. So, take the time in the beginning before you start writing the manuscript to really determine why you are writing this particular manuscript.
2. Understand your reader
Every time you write, you should write for your audience. Get into their mindset and speak to them directly. However, try not to speak at them—they probably won’t want to read your book. Make sure you know what your reader wants to know. Just take the time to put yourself in their shoes while writing your manuscript.
3. Brainstorm your content
Brainstorming is the process of compiling all the possible relevant content and putting it all down in one place, for use later on when you start writing. It is the most fun and important part of the six-step process, in my view. Brainstorming will take the guesswork out of what to write about and what to cover once you start writing. Brainstorming will also give you momentum as you start writing your manuscripts.
When you brainstorm, try to come up with as many ideas as possible. Don’t restrict yourself by censoring or criticizing yourself too harshly. This is the fun process of writing, so enjoy it! Make sure that you stay open to new ideas too. This will make your manuscript unique.
There are many ways to organize your material. You could organize it step-by-step, chronologically, in order of importance, or by presenting pros and cons. Choose one of these ways of organizing your manuscript, and then go for it. Try not to change your mind—instead choose one consistent way to organize each manuscript.
5. Draft your manuscript
Drafting is the process of sitting down and getting it all written out for the first time. You should start drafting your manuscript only after you have brainstormed and outlined your content. Try not to be in a rush when starting new manuscripts. The more outlining and drafting and organizing you do in the beginning, the better your manuscript will be and the quicker you will be able to write it.
It is rare to write a perfect manuscript after a first draft. So, it is important to revise your manuscript before sending it off to an editor. Revising is an essential part of the writing process. It’s not a sign of failure, as some writers believe. Instead, I believe it is a sign of success and self-confidence. All writers should take the time to revise their manuscripts. And some manuscripts have to be revised more than others.
By following this six-step process, you will produce the best and most successful manuscripts. You will also feel much more confident and motivated as a writer. Following this six-step process can also help you feel confident about the manuscript you produce.
Irene S. Roth
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Irene S. Roth is an academic and freelance writer for teens, tweens and kids. She has written over 500 book reviews and 1,000 online articles on different topics for teens, tweens, and about the craft of writing. She also teaches workshops on writing and craft at Savvy Authors. She lives in Stratford, Ontario with her husband and cat. Visit her at https://irenesroth.wordpress.com/
ABOUT HER BOOK
In Seasons of Empowerment for Adolescent Girls, Ms. Roth argues that there are four seasons of empowerment for adolescent girls. Sadly no adolescent girl can simply wake up one day, snap her fingers, and be empowered to tackle the world and all the forces that exist inside and outside. Becoming empowered to be who we are can be truly difficult. This book consists of a step-by-step guide to help adolescent girls achieve self-improvement.
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