On Writing: The 1-2-3

Writing Process

As a writer, I generally start writing and stop when I think I’m finished. If you’re reading this and nodding your head sadly, then you have my apologies for that method.

When I write technical documents, I often add in some structural clues to help guide the reader and this has the side effect of forcing me to organise the document better. With very technical documents, I’ll look at an outline before writing, or review the outline as I write to make sure that it reads well, but is comprehensive.

The fundamental building block of a document, though, is a message.

What Just Happened?

In the previous paragraph I said:

  • I write with one method
  • There are more structured ways of writing
  • But it’s all about delivering messages

The 1-2-3

A message inside some writing should decomposable into a 1-2-3 story.

  • Introduce an idea
  • Elaborate on the idea
  • Reach a conclusion

Using The 1-2-3

If something is not coming across clearly, then the 1-2-3 can really help. You can try to extract the raw ideas from the thing you’re writing and map them out as short phrases in a bullet list. If you can’t, then perhaps your message isn’t clear, or is blurring multiple things. Maybe you haven’t decided what you want to say. There’s the problem.

Once you have mapped it out, then writing the words that join up the pieces is generally a lot easier.

In Summary

I presented a question of writing process, explained a mechanism I use when writing or when helping other writers, and tried to show how you can use it.


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