top of page

Embrace the chaos of writing

Words by Seren Livie

Every time I start a new writing project I say to myself, this time’s going to be different. I’m going to get organised, plan ahead, and write in a way that is orderly and logical. It usually takes less than an hour for this all to fall apart.

It will start innocently enough; I’ll get stuck writing my introduction and promise to come back to it later, or skip over a sentence so I can keep writing continuously. Before you know it I’m surrounded by papers containing completely unconnected chunks of the same work, filled with gaps and highlighted sections telling future me to come up with a better word than 'nice'.

Writing can be a chaotic mess fuelled by caffeine and stress, but this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your writing is to embrace this chaos and own it. You just have to make sure you’re embracing it in a way that doesn’t leave you with a load of unusable nonsense.

Here are the best ways to embrace the chaos of your writing while not going too overboard.

Outline your piece

While some people can just sit down and write freely, improvising as they go and letting their writing flow out of them, most of us will have to do some sort of planning.

This planning doesn’t have to be massively detailed or precise; it can be as simple as coming up with a title or basic points laying out the beginning, middle and end. Try to start with a title to focus your piece, and then do a basic plan laying out those three basic elements.

Planning is all about helping to focus your piece so it doesn’t end up meandering off into the wild. Focus on big ideas over intricate details, bullet points over long sentences. It will help you manage any chaos you might create later on, and let you see the bigger picture of your piece without getting too lost in the mess.

...but don’t be married to your plan