Begin With a List

I’ve been writing professionally since 1972, and one thing I’ve learned is that a piece turns out best if I allow it to follow its own path. I’ve often begun with an intention to focus on one topic and then find the work ends up veering in an alternate direction. If I allow the research and spirit to lead, the real story is a little, or a lot, different than I’d expected, but better for it.

Whether I’m writing an article, blog post, or book, I begin with a loose outline. It’s actually a list with subcategories. As I gather research, I insert it under the correct categories. This makes writing easier. When I have all or most of what I need I can write straight through.

Editing then follows. I rewrite over and over until I’m at a point where I feel the piece flows well, is clearly written, and holds the reader’s attention to the best of my ability. Young writers often complain about this part, but I honestly enjoy it. I’m excited every time I find a better word or phrase, every step that takes the piece to a more beautiful end.

*Are you interested in any of my books? You can find them here: Inspired Caregiving, The Alzheimer’s Spouse, Fatima at 100. Fatima Today, Navigating Alzheimer’s, Hans Christian Andersen Illuminated by The Message, Saint Theodora and Her Promise to God, Young in the Spirit, Grieving with Mary, Seven Principles of Sainthood, The Rosary Prayer by Prayer, Mentoring Heroes.

*Photo: Dahlias, Chicago Botanic Gardens, Glencoe, IL. 7/2021



  1. I complain a lot about the editing part too, lol. It’s my least liked part of the writing process, but what you gonna do, eh? Anyway, thanks for sharing your experience!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for commenting. Keep on writing!


  2. […] *See some of my writing tips in my post, Begin With a List.“ […]


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