In our online and on site creative writing workshops, Robbin and I receive a lot of feedback regarding the places “observation” and “mulling over” hold within the writing process. We find that most writers don’t give themselves enough credit for engaging in these phases when they should. Our original blog post, “The Essential Nine Phases of a Writer’s Process,” depicted these particular phases as the ones most writers fail to rightfully acknowledge when thinking about their unique writing practices. Both phases are readily overlooked and are frequently not considered when writers question whether or not they are doing enough writing. There is more to writing than actual writing, yes?
Most writers need to give themselves more credit for participating in aspects of the writing process that serve as precursors to actual writing. No doubt about it, the phases of observation and mulling things over need to be pushed into the spotlight. These phases in particular emphasize the value of noticing the day-to-day details of life and appreciating the value of any time spent reflecting and quietly thinking about life and the writing in general. Both phases are important and necessary to any writer’s practice and creative process.
Over the course of this year, we have become even more convinced based on our own observations and the shared insights from writers we work with that more credit absolutely needs to be given to these phases. When any writer acknowledges the observation and mulling over phases as relevant to their personal writing practices, they are also recognizing that their writing practice is broader and more involved than previously realized. This realization is undoubtedly freeing. It also builds creative confidence by increasing affirmative writing behaviors.
Striking a healthy balance between observing the world and thinking about it (we are fond of the words ‘mulling over’) AND the actual act of writing is key. Writers write. That’s what we do. So, it is crucial to ensure that a healthy part of any writing practice is balanced and devoted to not only generating first draft work, but also to working those earlier pieces into something this is presentable, publishable, and is ready to be shared with the world as defined by the writer. Again, balance is key.
So writers, give yourself more credit for all the time, energy, and effort you put into your writing. You are probably doing more than you realize and that’s awesome. Writing is hard work, so keep at it. And check out or revisit our our series of posts on the “Essential Nine Phases of a Writer’s Process” along the way.
May the Muses be with you.