How to develop practical strategies for overcoming writing obstacles

Whenever I get comfortable with one model of the writing process, I run into a problem that a particular model cannot solve. If I were a scientist, that dilemma might lead to a new paradigm. Instead, I use my revising skills, sometimes forcing myself to come up with a new description for how writing works.

My first model was simple, something I learned from writing coach Donald Murray: pre-writing, writing, re-writing. Later on, Murray gave me: Idea, Collect, Focus, Order, Draft, Revise.

In my book “Writing Tools,” it grew into:  Explore, Collect, Focus, Select, Order, Draft, Revise.

In my latest book, “Help! For Writers,” I came up with something quite different: Getting Started; Getting Your Act Together; Finding Focus; Looking for Language; Building a Draft; Assessing Your Progress; Making It Better.

This version has helped me identify the most common obstacles writers face, and the best strategies for overcoming them. During this week’s writing chat, I talked about these obstacles and strategies — and offered tips to help you better understand your own writing process. You can

In addition to replaying the chat below, you can download Poynter’s Help! for Writers app, which offers a complete outline of the process, problems, and solutions that writers juggle.

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