Note: This post is one of a bunch I’ll be writing on the writing process itself. These posts will feature systems I’ve picked up or developed myself to research, structure, and edit my writing.
Another system I got from Ryan Holiday. It’s called “1 sentence, 1 paragraph, 1 page.” It’s a very simple system that works amazingly well to help give you direction with your writing, allowing you to see the bigger picture for what you’re writing (or reading).
The basic idea is this: let’s say you’re writing a long work – a novel or non-fiction book. Before you start writing, summarize what you want to say into one sentence. Then summarize it into one paragraph. Then summarize into one page (5 paragraph essay, like in school).
You can use these three things (sentence, paragraph, page) to help guide you while you’re writing. If at any point you have to change direction, then do the process again. Don’t just make things up as you go along – try to give your writing a clear end goal with strong supporting details or arguments.
You can also do this same process after you’ve read a book (for research). Try summarizing the book into one sentence, one paragraph, and one page. And keep a collection of these pages in a folder. You can use these pages for research, going back to them as you write.