The Writing Process in the Workplace

Students are often surprised to learn how much time professional writers devote to pre-writing and editing. In fact, a study conducted by a Toronto consulting firm found that writers in the workplace spend 40% of their time pre-writing or planning, 30% of their time revising and only 20% of their time writing[1]. In contrast, some studies have found that students only spend 3-5% of their composition time revising.

In the workplace, you will vary your writing process depending on several factors, including:

  • The importance of the writing task.
  • Your deadline.
  • The deliverable.
  • Your own writing process.
  • The culture of your workplace.
  • How much collaboration is required.

A Note on Collaboration

Much of the writing that you’ll be doing in the workplace will involve collaborating with others. To do so effectively, you will have to respect other people’s writing processes and listen carefully to your collaborators.

Different cultures also have different collaboration practices. For example, if your project impacts Indigenous People, you would want to involve many different people from the impacted community, especially Elders. If you’re not Indigenous, you might begin the project by taking time to listen, ask questions, and build trust.

When done well, collaboration will make your work stronger. This quote from settler scholar Sophie McCall shows that collaboration doesn’t just have to be about ensuring that everyone agrees:


“Collaboration does not have to aim for a seamless platform of agreement; indeed, collaboration can embrace differences and acknowledge conflict. We came to think of our process as one of working across differences of experience, profession, background and interest.” – Sophie McCall on working with Metis artist Gabrielle L’Hirondelle (as quoted in Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guide for Writing by And About Indigenous Peoples by Gregory Younging.



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Business Writing For Everyone Copyright © 2021 by Arley Cruthers is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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