How messy can writing be ?

I had never thought about the way I write but now that I think about it I feel like my process for writing is really messy. I feel that I have a really long process before even starting to actually write down anything. I think a lot, I get ideas, I stop thinking and I forget my ideas. So I start thinking again. Let me tell you that my process contains a lot of thinking for someone who is suppose to be writing.

Let’s say I have to write a research paper, well once I have my topic in mind I spend days just thinking about it. I mostly think at night and end up writing possible ideas and arguments in my mind. In my opinion, that’s already messy.  Let’s face it, some of these ideas do no make it to the next morning, and maybe they were good ideas but that something we will probably never know. I tend to want/try to write an outline as soon as I can and then I realize that I actually have to do research before that in order to know where I am going with this paper (I guess I should have figured that out from the “research paper” part but apparently I always see the research part as an option to look at later.) Once I start doing my research I like to pull everything I can find that seems important to my topic. As I am an international student from France, I like to get articles and scholarly papers not only from English authors, but French as well so that I get multiple points of view. Once I have all I need, I usually put together a really detailed outline. I need as much as I can think of in this outline. I start with a possible title or literally just the word “TITLE” just written in the middle of the page thinking that I’ll figure that part later. Then I usually put a part for the introduction and what might get in the intro but I usually come up with nothing as I usually write my introduction at the end. This is another blank space that I have to figure out later on. Then I have another blank space with the conclusion, it seems as if I really like to start by writing down the part of my paper that I won’t actually write. Once I have done that, I get into the core of the paper I usually have most of my outline written in my head because to put something on paper I need it to be fully written in my head first. My outline gets filled with titles of parts that will divide my paper: Part I, Part II, Part III. Then I add little titles under these for each argument that will be part of this argument (i, ii, iii, …) and then I put the ideas under each argument (a, b, c, …) and relate them to the different sources I have researched. Once I have a detailed outline I usually print it and let it sit on my desk and write on it every time I get a new idea or find a new source that I think I should use. Then, I go into another process of thinking about writing my paper and once I have it mostly written in my head I start writing. The actual process of writing after that is usually fast because I have my detailed outline and my paper in my head. When I start writing, it usually takes me hours to try and have the perfect first paragraph just to then give up and usually write a really bad first paragraph that I know will never make it into the actual paper. I usually write 75% of my paper at once and then I come back to it for the other 25%. I try to have my first version being really close to what I want for my paper and then have friends or people in my class read it for review to improve it and change what needs to be change. Then I rework it and write about 90% of it before reviewing it myself, and coming up with the finished product.

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