Introduction to Pre-Writing (Stages In The Writing Process)

As a Christian writer, your core should not be what or to whom you are writing. The foundational principle is that you are writing as a form of worship to God and service to the men and women that God has called us to. You have to rely on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to ensure that your message is based on what He wants your readers to hear according to His will.  

Your writing should also not be for monetary gain. In as much as you will sell your books and make money out of it (some more than others), this should not be your motivation.

There are three stages in the writing process: 

1. Pre-writing

2. Drafting (actual writing)

3. Revising (editing)

STAGE ONE: PRE-WRITING

 The Bible says that before going to war or starting the construction of a house, you must count the cost. Prior planning provides you with a better probability to succeed. As a writer, you have to plan and prepare your writing in order to ensure you accomplish what’s required by the dates set.  To get you started, you need to think about several metrics. We will use a real example to help us nail it! 

CASE STUDY: Muthoni Omukhango’s book – Back On My Feet, The “How-To” Manual For Single Parents

1. The subject of the book/content.

The subject matter for the book is “help for single moms and dads”. The subject is not necessarily the title of the book. The subject matter is what you will be discussing in your book. It is the overall theme of your message. 

2. The purpose of the book’s message.

This is the ‘why’ for the book in the author’s heart and mind. The purpose of this book is to give helpful information and encouragement to men and women going through single parenthood due to various reasons including, fornication, adultery, divorce, death of a spouse, and rape. This purpose keeps you on check while drafting the pages of your book. 

3. Target audience (reader).

Who are you writing the book for/to? This will help shape your tone, voice, and levels of language difficulty. For this book, the tone is that of sympathy, encouragement, and up-lifting. Most of the single dads and moms are already at a ‘discouraged’ position, therefore the author’s tone cannot add to that discouragement. This applies to all audience (reader) categories – books meant for children should be written in a simple way; for women in a loving and emotions-provocative way; for men in a masculine way; for teenagers in an expressive way; for businessmen and leaders in a serious and corporate way; and so forth. Deciding the target audience (reader) at the start will enable you to have less back and forth exchanges with the editors later during the publishing process. 

4. Set a timetable for your writing. 

Human beings are creatures of habit. It may not be as easy when you are starting, however, when you get used to the routine, your body, mind, and spirit will cooperate every time (well, almost every time). I write better at night when there is no distraction. My timetable – after dinner, I will put the kids to bed and then sit for an hour or two every day consecutively for one month. So what’s the best time to write? The best time is the time you decide to set aside. However, once you make that decision, you must stick to the routine every time. So is it better to write every day for a few minutes or have one or two full days in the week? Having a few minutes everyday helps instil the discipline without breaking it. But as earlier indicated, the best routine is what YOU decide. The secret is in keeping up the discipline. 

5. Decide on a writing space

Many renown authors confirm that a writing space facilitates the words coming out right. They compare the importance of a writing space to an author with the importance of proper shoes to an athlete.

For some authors, natural lighting is an enabler so a desk near the window, on a balcony or outdoor bench will do the trick. For others, an enclosed space is what they need while for others, it’s the beach or nature. Whatever works for you, find the spot in your house, office, in a cafe… wherever it is that will be an enabler for you.

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