1. Invention or prewriting = the generation of ideas and approaches for doing the writing.2. Drafting = the generation of written text.3. Revising = the examination of the drafts with the goal of improvement
Some thoughts on the writing process
SOME THOUGHTS ON THE WRITING PROCESS
Ian P. McCarthy
• I reflect on my writing process so as to try and:
– overcome problems such as procrastination and
ineffective story telling
– write with increased speed and productivity.
– be a better writer.
• What follows is a review of some of the things I have learned
and ‘try’ to follow:
• Do you enjoy writing?
• I find writing a difficult and
• It is also physically painful.
• And it can very lonely.
• What great writing
experiences have you
had and why were
McCarthy, I. P., Lawrence, T. B., Wixted, B., & Gordon, B. R. (2010). A multidimensional conceptualization
of environmental velocity. Academy of Management Review, 35(4), 604-626.
• Great team work and
division of labour
• Lots of meetings
(physical and virtual)
• Forward momentum
Kietzmann, J. H., Hermkens, K., McCarthy, I. P., & Silvestre, B. S. (2011). Social media? Get serious!
Understanding the functional building blocks of social media. Business Horizons, 54(3), 241-251.
The "rhetorical situation" consists of the circumstances you
find yourself in when you want or need to communicate:
Audience - pathos
Writer - ethos
Subject - logos
• Your personal characteristics and
interests affect what you write
about and how you write about it:
• What factors can affect your
– your age and experience
– your field and expertise
• Why do you write?
a call to action
• Who is the audience?
• Do you have more then one audience?
• How does the purpose relate to the
Publishing papers requires:
• alignment with the journal’s focus
• satisfying the primary audience
• understanding why they will like your
• understanding why they will reject
• satisfying the secondary audience
• Writing a paper is like joining a conversation
PURPOSE AND THE ‘SEVEN QUESTIONS TEST
What is the phenomenon (the 'X') in your paper? Why is it interesting?
Why is it important?
What do we know about the phenomenon (e.g., prior research)?
What don’t we know about the phenomenon? (i.e., the
gaps/problems/puzzles). So what? Who cares?
What specific questions about the phenomenon do you investigate?
What do you do theoretically and methodologically and in your study to
address what we don’t know about the phenomenon? Why is it
appropriate /timely? Who cares?
What new/counter intuitive insights (theoretical and practical) does your
study generate? Why are these insights important and interesting?
What are the boundary conditions and limitations of your study? What
are the future research directions?
PRIMARY AUDIENCE – PAPER ON VELOCITY
William Q. Judge
SPACE AND TIME
• Where and when do you write best?
• Why this space and time?
• A space and a time help provide a
routine, which help make writing
become a habit.
• Don't just plan to write—write
• Turn spell checker off when drafting
• No tweeting, emails, internet, for
forty minute chunks
• Stretch between chunks, then stop
and reward myself after four chunks.
I need to wait 24 hours, at least, before editing my own work.
Read a hard copy.
Go slowly to prevent reading what isn’t there.
Read aloud. It is slower, and it helps you to understand the
flow of your writing.
• Know your typical errors so you can check for them. Produce a
check list of them.
• Have the guts to delete.
• Strive for coherence, logic, precision, succinctness and
SOME THINGS TO DO
• Think about how much time you spend on invention, drafting
• Produce heuristics for the rhetorical situation for each paper
• Think about your drafting technique.
• Select a great paper and analyze it in terms of audience,
writer and purpose. Why is it a great paper?
• Look for and be guided by exemplar papers.
JOHN STEINBECK (PARIS REVIEW, 1973)
• Abandon the idea that you are ever
going to finish. Lose track of the 400
pages and write just one page for each
day, it helps. Then when it gets finished,
you are always surprised.
• Write freely and as rapidly as possible
and throw the whole thing on paper.
Never correct or rewrite until the whole
thing is down. Rewrite in process is
usually found to be an excuse for not
going on. It also interferes with flow and
rhythm which can only come from a kind
of unconscious association with the
JOHN STEINBECK (PARIS REVIEW, 1973)
• Forget your generalized audience.
In the first place, the nameless,
faceless audience will scare you to
death and in the second place,
unlike the theater, it doesn’t exist.
In writing, your audience is one
single reader. I have found that
sometimes it helps to pick out one
person—a real person you know,
or an imagined person and write to
• When I follow my own advice, my writing is more
productive, better and less painful, than when I don’t.
• When someone tells you something's wrong or doesn't
work for them, they are almost always right (especially if
that someone is your audience or knows your audience)