Why Excellence In Writing Isn’t All About the Finished Product

I love good writing. If you’re here, you probably feel the same. So it’s understandable if you’re sceptical about my title, and are wondering what there could be to writing other than a polished result. Well—at the risk of coming over all metaphysical—there’s a lot more. For one thing, there’s process.

Back when I worked as a writing mentor in a university, I saw a lot of great product. Ironically, the students who produced the best writing were the ones who most often sought help, and believe me: those people were stressed. Enough hair was lost at that college, be it by tension-induced moulting or ripping it out at the roots, to stuff a dozen sofas.

On close examination, these miserable souls had a lot in common with their less able colleagues. Mostly they delivered good work, but after they’d done it they had no idea how they’d managed the feat. So each assignment, with tight deadline looming, was a fresh hell. The writers were on their own with only crude guidelines like, “A conclusion should never contain new material”, to help.

I’m writing this blog to stop you suffering the way they did. Even if you’re not at university, the chances are you’ll have to do quite a bit of writing, be that reports, minutes, emails or job applications. When you’ve got a good awareness of your writing process, writing anything is much less painful. And the quality of your output becomes more consistent.

Am I going to claim you’ll eventually come to love writing? Nah. I’m not a life coach. But what I am going to do is make a series of blog posts lifting the lid on my own process, and in doing so I’ll probably help you understand your own. Along the way I’ll publicise fixes and writing hacks which have worked for me, and in turn I’ll encourage you to share your gripes and tips.

So let’s go, writers. The workshop is open.

Lynn is the founder and quality-maven-in-chief of Lexis Writing, a collective of expert writers creating high quality content and copy for businesses in the UK and beyond.

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