Writing is 85% prewriting, 1% writing, and 14% rewriting.
That’s not a lot of writing time, is it? Bear that in mind. The heavy lifting comes at the beginning and the end. I might argue that different styles/genres/types of writing might have the prewriting and rewriting percentages adjusted slightly, but the actual sitting down and churning out paragraphs of prose? That’s actually pretty negligible, which is why some folks are shocked they can actually manage to reach their goal in NaNoWriMo or similar challenges. You just have to get over the prewriting hurdle and then on the other end be willing to actually revise what you’ve written.
I was just listening to an interview on Marc Maron’s podcast where he talked to musician, writer, and performer Carrie Brownstein about how tough it was to write a book. They both joked that your house is never cleaner than when you’re supposed to be writing. And kidding aside, while some activities designed to procrastinate getting over writers’ block can actually be considered part of the prewriting phase, ultimately it really is procrastination. I think if most people realized that sometimes just showing up with fingers on the keyboard and going can be the best way to get over a hurdle.
After all, you’ll be rewriting anyway, right? Let go of that fear and just write.
2 responses to “Three Phases of Writing”
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My data comes primarily from composition theory, actually, so it’s definitely a YMMV sort of thing.