The Writing Process

Graham K. Rogers

Originally posted: 2 May 2004
Revised: 6 May 2004

Writing is not easy. It is not magic. It does not fall, like some miracle, from the sky. I wish it did.

The pages that follow build to a complete process of writing an article for the Bangkok Post, Database, from the basic ideas to the printed article itself.

Planning the writing is essential. In the case of the article(s) written to explain the use of Thai with Macintosh OSX, I decided to use a branching diagram as there are many interlinked processes: I can make sure that I have all processes covered and, where necessary, exclude. The diagram made me realise that there was too much data for one column, so I was able (at this earliest stage) to take the approach that there would be two columns to cover the processes.

There are two views of the diagram. The first is included here:

For a larger view of the image, click on the diagram itself (or here)

With the diagram finished, I was able to see where I would need additional information -- for example, where to check the processes by running them again on a computer -- and then I wrote a first draft, with a pen and paper. This draft shows the thinking processes that one goes through while writing and after: there are additions and alterations marked on all three sheets (click on a thumbnail for a full sized copy of the page):

Once this had been completed, I re-read a couple of times, made some editing marks and had a think about what the text needed, and about what additional information I might need.

I was then ready to transfer the writing to a computer. I just use a simple text editor. Any formatting is left until the last stage, just before printing. What I produced may be viewed in two forms: the simple typed pages (including any typing errors and notes I typed at the bottom of the page); and the typed pages with editing marks.

At this stage, I am ready to check that the information contained is correct, to include any outside information that is needed, and to edit. I also need to rewrite a couple of times. On the way, I have to be aware that the space in the Bangkok Post, Database is limited, so I have to trim to about 800 words. In this case it was easy as I had already made the decision to turn this into two columns.

When this is done, I will send the finalised text file to the Editor and his staff (and if you look carefully, you will see that there is at least one error), with any images I think may be useful. I may send six or more, but there is only usually room for one or two. That is where having my own website is useful as I can then re-form the pages, including whatever the newspaper staff have cut, and use any or all of the images I prepared.

At this stage, we are waiting for the article to be printed; I will then put links to that page and to the web-formatted version here.

Click here to contact me if you need.

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