The writing process begins the minute you get a writing assignment—whether you are writing a book, an essay, or a single paragraph. It involves all the activities you do, from choosing a topic to turning in a final draft. The phases, or stages, of the writing process are prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing. Prewriting
Prewriting refers to all activities that help you explore a subject, generate ideas about it, choose a specific topic, establish a purpose, and analyze the audience for your paragraph or essay. Your mission at this stage is to stimulate your thinking before and during the act of writing. Every time you think of a new idea during the writing process, you are prewriting. Drafting
When you have lots of ideas to work with, you are ready to start drafting. Drafting involves writing down your thoughts, developing or expanding some ideas, organizing your thoughts to reflect your purpose, and writing a first version of your paragraph or essay. To start on your draft, you may want to spread out your class notes, journal entries, and other prewriting notes so that you can start to string your ideas together. This is the time to keep your thoughts flowing without worrying too much about grammar, punctuation, mechanics, or spelling. Revising
As you may suspect, the process of writing is not finished with your first draft. You should always revise your work to make it stronger and better. Revising involves rethinking your content and organization so that your writing says exactly what you want it to. (Editing, the last step, focuses on correcting grammar and spelling.) Your main goal in revising is to make sure that the purpose of your writing is clear to your audience and that your main ideas are supported with details and examples. In addition, you should check that your organization is logical. Editing
The final step in the writing process is editing. In this stage, you should read your paragraph or essay slowly and carefully to make sure no errors in grammar, punctuation, mechanics, or spelling have slipped into your draft. Such errors can distract your reader from the message you are trying to communicate or can cause communication to break down altogether. Editing gives you the chance to clean up your draft so that your writing is clear and precise. Writing as a Cycle
Even though we talk about the stages of writing, writing is actually a cyclical process, which means that at any point you may loop in and out of other stages. Once you start on a writing project, the stages of writing do not have to occur in any specific order.
Formal writing, the type of writing people use in college classes and business, involves a series of steps called the writing process. No two people write in the same way, so it is important for you to figure out exactly how your writing process works. Recognizing your own study habits and writing rituals is a major part of discovering your writing process. These rituals begin the minute you are given an assignment. What activities help you get ready to write? Some people exercise, others catch up on email, and still others clean their rooms before they study. What activities prepare you to write? Writing Journals
An important part of a writer’s personal writing ritual is keeping a writing journal, a daily log of your thinking. It is a place where you can record ideas, snatches of conversation, dreams, descriptions of people, pictures of places, and thoughts about objects—whatever catches your attention. Keeping a journal to respond to your reading and writing tasks will be very beneficial to your progress as a critical thinker. Writing in your journal can help you discover your thoughts and feelings about specific issues as well as let you think through important choices you have to make. Using a Computer
As you think about your own writing ritual, you should consider using a computer as a major part of your writing process rather than writing by hand. Writing directly on...
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