Pre- Writing

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Yale Graduate School Writing Center

On-line Tutorial

Pre-Writing
(This resource was created by Richard Wing, Yale University, July 2009) Pre-writing is perhaps the most important part of the writing process as it lays a foundation for the writing that is to come. During this stage, writers establish the purpose of the work and the audience for whom it will be written as well as their argument and an outline for the piece. It is also a period during which preliminary research on the topic is conducted. Optimal pre-writing strategies eliminate confusion and minimize writer’s block while actually writing. Therefore, a mastery of pre-writing strategies is an invaluable investment that is a must for any serious, academic writer. That’s great, but what do I actually do before I write my piece? Before you actually start writing, you need to get a few things together. Think about it like building a house: you’re going to need a plan, building materials, some tools, and a few people to help you out.

A Plan and Building Materials
Before you actually do any writing, you should really have a plan. What goes into a plan? Step 1: The Purpose and The Audience Before you even begin to think about what you’re going to say, you need to think about why you’re bothering to say it at all. What is the purpose of this writing? Are you writing an argumentative essay, a research paper, or a creative piece? Defining your purpose early on is essential because it leads directly to formulating general goals for your written piece. For example: Why am I writing this guide?: I am writing this guide to provide a general overview of the pre-writing process and some tips for how to execute the steps involved. Knowing your purpose beforehand keeps your mind focused when making decisions about your research and thesis later on. In this case, since I’ve decided to speak in general terms, I will not elaborate on the specifics of science pre-writing or about techniques to use once “writing”...
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