TRACE and the Paper Nations team have spent many years exploring how writers and creatives improve and develop their craft –and their varying needs as they do so. Writers are all unique individuals, with different dreams, abilities, and temperaments. And yet, we discovered that writers often experience and return to similar phases in their journey such as: exploration, idea generation, reflection, and engagement with the wider community. In short, although each journey is unique, there are some similar habits and patterns.

In 2018, Professor Bambo Soyinka distilled this knowledge into a cycle which charts the habits that many people return to when experiencing their own creative journey.

The cycle takes the form of a solar system. It is non-linear, non-prescriptive, and is adaptable to each creative’s needs – because every creative life cycle is different.

We have not created a definitive progression route or an age and stage model. There is no A-B instruction, no “if you’ve done X then the next thing you should do is Y”. The WDC is about developing writing habits that are fluid and that can sustain over a lifetime.
Professor Bambo Soyinka,
adapted from the Writing In Education Magazine, Issue 76.

Our Writer Development Cycle is our first application of the solar system. It is intended as a tool through which writing educators can anticipate their students’ needs and design courses which reflect and are able to adapt to their needs.

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