Creative Process (writing)

At our last level 3 student led hangout (5th Feb), the topic of the essay plan (A3 for CS) came up – how did people approach it, was it easy to define a central argument, did the format asked for in the assignment make sense?

Since then and as my own essay writing has progressed, I’ve thought more about the essay plan – I found it a problematic concept with this work and have discovered why.

The essay plan asks for a linear format, from being to end. As if the route is already known. However, I see the essay as a creative process that will take shape as I write and think about the connections in my writing and my research. I’m not even sure what the conclusion will be as I write. When I reach the end, I am likely to need to re-run the loop and refine. As my sketch above illustrates, slotting a traditional essay plan into this context would be tricky.

In this context, my preference is to flag some general ideas and reference materials I consider important to the process. So, a mind map approach works well for me, but a linear plan (like I might use in a business report, even if iteratively) does not.

Mason Curry, a writer on the creative process, describes his own process as more like a crisis than a process ( It seems that I’m not alone in my preference for a free-form muddle with loose boundaries when it comes to creative writing.

2 thoughts on “Creative Process (writing)”

  1. I recently watched a Youtube video where a chemistry prof was explaining how to write an essay to his students. His advice – just write, don’t worry about the order, grammar etc. Just get the words down and sort everything out in the 2nd/3rd edit. I’m busy with my crit review at the moment and have followed his advice and do have to say that just getting the words down and not worrying about academic speak, order and so is quite liberating. Now at the stage of having to sort it all out and finding that harder than expected. But definitely the way to go.

  2. Yes – I agree. Some of the OCA L3 material seems to push in a rather unhelpful direction – though I believe improvements in CS course are being considered.

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