Writing

The 14 Stages of Writing to Set Yourself Up for Success

Kevin Kessler
May 25, 2020
11 minutes


Are you struggling to write a great article or blog post?

There’s nothing more frustrating than having a great idea, but feeling you’re not experienced enough to turn it into a successful piece of writing.

But did you know there’s a simple way to improve your writing? All you have to do is follow the stages of writing we’ll describe in this article.

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What are the Stages of Writing?

Writing is a process that can be divided into multiple stages. Everything starts with prewriting, then you write the first draft and edit it many times until you’re finally satisfied. Of course, there are other, no less important stages during the process. For the best result, make sure not to skip any of them!

Stage #1: Brainstorming

Many people aren’t aware that the writing process starts long before you sit in front of your computer. Actually, it begins as soon as you get an idea. The first step is to get the idea on paper. Even if they are just scribbles, don’t forget to write down all of your ideas, because they can be easy to forget in the heat of the moment.

Example screenshot of planning/ brainstorming  your content marketing.
Content Marketing: Plan of Action

(Image Source)

The experts say you should dedicate at least one hour to brainstorming. Just let your mind wander without imposing any limitations. If you seem to be experiencing writer’s block, just take a while, sit back, relax, and organize your thoughts.

Stage #2: Write down your ideas

You should already have some ideas, although they’d probably be vague. Nevertheless, jot down the ideas that appeal to you the most. Don’t be too strict with yourself: you may not use all those ideas now, but they could be useful for some of your future projects, so they’re worth saving.

Something that might be worth doing is using a graphic organizer to create a coherent list of ideas that are easy to work with. Yes, this is technically still the pre-writing stage, and organization counts for a whole lot here.

Stage #3: Research

Research is the base of quality writing, so be sure to dedicate it enough time to it. Read the relevant articles on Google, and if you’re writing a scientific paper, you can use Google Scholar. You should always check out more resources to see and understand different points of view before you form your own opinion on the subject.

Stage #4: Take notes

While doing your research, you should write down anything that seems relevant or interesting. Your notes are something personal, and they’re not even a draft yet. Therefore, you don’t have to follow any structure, just jot down any interesting information. Some people like taking mental notes, but we suggest that you use paper and pen whenever you can.

Stage #5: Keywords

If you already have given keywords, now it’s time to think about the best way to integrate them. On the other hand, if you don’t have keywords, you can come up with your own at this point. Reading relevant material should give you an idea of the main keywords on the given topic. Remember that word choice will make a huge difference. Using the right keywords can make the difference between success and failure.

Stage #6: Outlining

Now it’s time to plan what your article is going to look like. As some people say, well planned is half done, and there’s a lot of truth in that. Therefore, decide how many paragraphs you want to have and what order you’re going to follow. Also, think about headings and subheadings.

Stage #7: Drafting

You’re now ready to start writing the first draft. You can still be very relaxed, as this isn’t the final version. Remember that you don’t have to start from the introductory part if you’re not sure about it yet. You can always go back to it once you have more precise ideas about your text. The rough draft is all about getting your ideas onto the page in an organized way. They don’t have to be complete, but they do need to contribute to a coherent final draft.

Stage #8: Read it aloud

Writers are usually so absorbed in the text, that they find it hard to spot any mistakes. Reading your writing aloud helps you improve your focus. In this manner, you can identify the weakest parts of your article or the parts that just don’t sound as convincing as you want them to be. If you read it aloud and realize that it doesn’t sound right, go back and fix it, and if this still doesn’t work for you, it might be a good idea to take some lessons and improve your writing skills.

Stage #9: Mark the parts you want to improve

You don’t have to change anything at this stage. However, it’s crucial to mark everything that you think should be improved. You can use Grammarly or any other writing apps to make sure your sentences flow well and there aren’t grammatical errors. That way, you’ll save yourself a lot of time when editing the final version. Moreover, your subconscious mind might start thinking of better ways to express yourself, and you may get some fantastic ideas when you don’t expect them.

Stage #10: Take a break

People usually don’t count this as one of the stages of writing, but it should be. In ideal circumstances, you should take a break for a couple of days, and then revise what you’ve written before. If you don’t have that much time, taking a walk to distract yourself and clear your mind can be very helpful.

You can also use one of the many tools and apps which remind you to periodically take a break:

(Image Source)

Stage #11: Editing

Now it’s time to revise and edit the text you’ve written. Editing refers to multiple things: You have to check your spelling, orthography, syntax, but most importantly, you have to make sure your article is coherent and reads well from beginning to end.

Stage #12: SEO tools

If you’re writing a blog post or an article that will be published on a website, you probably know what Search Engine Optimization is. At this point, you should check details like whether your text has a good keyword density, or if it’s easy enough to read. You can use various SEO tools online for free.

Stage #13: Proofreading

Even though you may be a great proofreader when it comes to articles other people have written, it’s always better to have it checked by another pair of eyes. Of course, the ideal option would be to hire a professional editor or proofreader. However, if you can’t do that, you can ask someone you trust to read the text for you. Remember that no piece of writing is complete without a few proofreading passes, because grammar and spelling mistakes will ruin it all.

Stage #14: Editing the final version

Finally, it’s time to read the text one last time and to give it that final polish. Don’t be impulsive: if you don’t like something, try to reword it, but don’t cut out the whole phrase. Maybe you’ll regret it later. And remember, writers almost always think they can do it better. Don’t fall into that trap as you’ll never be completely satisfied with your work. After you have edited the final version, hopefully you will be ready for the next step, publishing.

Final Thoughts

We hope this article helped you resolve any doubts that you may have about the writing process. If you follow these stages of writing, the quality of your writing will significantly improve, and you may get some ideas you wouldn’t have otherwise.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us for an additional explanation.

The bottom line is that if you engage in writing development, you have a solid writing process, and you are constantly revising rough drafts to make them better and better, that final novel will turn out to be a work of art. Whether  you are a young child, a student, or long term professional, if you don’t follow the necessary stages of writing, your final work will be subpar.