Maybe you learned the writing process in school. I didn't. I wrote. I revised or rewrote. I turned stuff in and my teacher made weird marks in the margin. Sometimes I understood them. Mostly I wasn't sure how they made me a better writer. Anyhow...
The writing process makes divides the task into distinct functions so we can focus our minds and our work more efficiently. Each step in the writing process builds on the other, creating a logical flow through and ending with a strong piece that's ready for publication. When teams use the same writing process, quality and efficiency are increased at scale.
This isn't rocket science, but I don't see enough professional writers and content pros using a writing process. If you're one of those folks, maybe a look at the writing process The Word Factory team uses internally and that I use with my coaching clients.
The Word Factory Writing Process
- Pre-writing — Collecting thoughts before starting to write, including client requirements, sales and marketing input and our own ideas. Pre-writing is the first step to concise and effective content because it weeds out less important and less relevant information before we even start writing. When we gather this critical information in one place, we have a road map for content development.
- Pre-Approval — Getting agreement on the pre-write to codify the single source of truth on direction.
- Drafting — Writing quickly to capture ideas in a rough version of the copy. The emphasis is on speed, not quality – this will not be your best work. The goal is a working text that captures the ideas and drives to the purpose.
- Revising — Applying tactics and strategies that improve the text. This is where the craft comes in, making the writing clearer, more effective and relevant, and focused on the reader.
- Editing — Correcting spelling, punctuation, usage and grammar (SPUG) errors.
- Reviewing — Soliciting and implementing actionable feedback from stakeholders in the context of the approved pre-write. Use only the revisions that serve the reader and the purpose – or that you must for political or job security reasons.
- Final Approval — Securing the green light for go-live from stakeholders and proofreaders.
- Publishing — Making the content available to the intended audiences
The process is designed to spiral onto itself as necessary:
- The writer completes steps 1 through 5 or 3 through 5.
- The editor completes steps 4 and 5 and returns to the writer for further revisions or sends on the review.
- After review, the editor or writer completes steps 4 and 5 and then submits for final approval.