How to conquer the writing process, as told by Taylor Swift
he phrase “writing process” often fosters many eye rolls and the feeling of dread among writers. The journey from pre-writing to publishing can seem like an uphill battle with no end in sight. Thus, it goes without saying that the writing process has a rough #reputation.
Pop icon Taylor swift can also sympathize with a bad reputation, or at least that’s what her new music says. On November 10 of this year, T-Swifts highly anticipated album will drop, exciting millions of fans around the world.
In the spirit of Taylor’s new album, here’s six tips to conquer the writing process, complete with some throwback lyrics from the artist herself.
- Overcoming writers block: “I’ve got a blank space, baby”
There it is. The dreaded blank page. The cursor blinks, and the anxiety of starting from scratch begins to set in. Ideas encompass your every thought, but the quest to create the perfect formation of words is debilitating.
The best way to overcome the paralyzing effect of writer’s block, is to free your mind from lockdown. An article titled, “How to Overcome Writer’s Block: 14 Tips that Work,” author Jeff Goins advises going for a walk, baking some cookies, or calling an old friend to get the juices flowing. Do whatever you must do to relax, and the words will come.
- Prewriting: “Jump, then fall”
Even after overcoming writers block, starting from nothing can still seem overwhelming. However, Swift says it best when she advises, “jump then fall.”
In order to tackle the writing task at hand, Stephanie Wong Ken, author of the article, “How to Free write,” offers wisdom about how to tackle a fresh piece of writing. The best piece of advice she includes, is to take a deep breath, then jump into prewriting. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it doesn’t have to be organized, just write, and begin to fall into your story.
To help gather your thoughts, use bullet points, make lists, or even write out sentences that come to mind.
Just like diving into a cold pool of water, the best way to start the writing process is to go in headfirst. It may seem scary to begin with, however once you emerge to the surface, the direction of your paper will become clearer and clearer.
- Drafting: “The story of us”
The first draft is always a diamond in the rough, however it is up to the writer to figure out how to make it shine. The best way to do this is to tell a story that sticks.
Sticky stories are those that are relatable and that captivate an audience’s attention. Swift epitomizes this writing technique.
“You connect with an audience by showing them you’re just like them. That’s what brings them back,” said pop culture expert and BYU professor, Scott Church, “Taylor Swift connects with her audiences because she writes about basic emotions that are associated with everyday relationships. She is more authentic and less manufactured.”
Taylor Swift connects with her audiences because she writes about basic emotions that are associated with everyday relationships. She is more authentic and less manufactured.
Swift has engaged millions of fans around the world and has kept them coming back for more through her relatable lyrics. She is singing about your love story, your heartbreak, and your best friends.
To keep your readers reading, find what makes your story stick to the audience you are trying to reach. Chances are if the story is meaningful to you, it will be meaningful to one of your readers as well.
- Revising: “Why you gotta be so mean?”
After completing what seems to be the perfect first draft, get ready for the twist of fate that comes next.
Cue the revision process, where the story you wrote “looks a lot like a tragedy now.”
Revision can be the hardest step in the writing process, as your beloved first draft is picked a part with red ink and an iron fist. However, the people editing your paper are not trying to be mean.
Yes, there are haters out there that are gonna hate on your writing, but peer revisers are not those people. Revisers are put in place to offer fresh insights and outside perspectives. With their help, your piece can reach its fullest potential.
The best thing to remember about this step in the writing process, is to not take anything personally. “Shake it off,” and take the criticism in stride.
- Editing: “Are we out of the woods yet?”
Finally, after many re-writes, a beautiful piece of writing has emerged. However, you are not out of the woods quite yet. Editing is the final step of the writing process.
Editing is like the final wardrobe and makeup check before your writing goes out to shine on stage. All the hard work has been done, except for the last bit of polishing. It is essential to go through any piece of writing with a fine-toothed comb to proofread, and to look for any errors in spelling, words usage, grammar, or punctuation.
One misspelled word or writing the wrong kind of “there” can instantly taint your credibility as a writer. No one wants a bad reputation for lazy editing, so be sure to be meticulous in this final stage of the writing process.
- Publishing: “You are the best thing that’s ever been mine”
In the words of Swift, “do you remember when you were sittin’ there” with writer’s block?
You put your palm to your forehead for the tenth time?
Well, you wrote a story out of cautious writers cumbered thoughts.
Now, the finished product is the best piece of writing that’s ever been yours.
After the writing process is complete, and your story is ready for publication, don’t forget to pat yourself on the back. A publishable piece is a job well done.
Written by Brittain Steiner