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5.1: Writing as a Process

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    No writer can generate a perfect draft on the first attempt. Most employ a writing process, in which they begin with prewriting and invention, then outlining, composing, revising and editing. Though the aforementioned might suggest a linear process, it is usually recursive. For instance, you might end up going back to the prewriting phase and do some brainstorming even while writing the actual draft. The general rule of thumb is to invest some time brainstorming and writing a rough outline before writing the essay. Also, save editing for last. Sometimes it may be too difficult to juggle developing your ideas along with attending to grammar so save editing for the very last step.



    The iceberg diagram gives a visual image of the writing process. Above the water line is the final product your instructor sees, and below the water line are all the less visible yet important steps that went into building a good essay. Unfortunately, many writers “wreck” themselves by just focusing on the final product rather than the process. This can give you writer's block. Also, following a process, rather than last-minute writing, will help you to produce your strongest and best essays.


    The prewriting stage is when you begin generating ideas on your topic without focusing too much on organization and correctness. Prewriting allows you to begin creatively and to truly explore the scope and potential of your topic. Also, breaking the writing process down into stages makes it less stressful and more manageable and gives you time to figure out exactly what you want to develop and explore in your paper.

    Here are some successful prewriting strategies:

    • Freewriting
    • Brainstorming
    • Journalist Questions
    • Listing
    • Clustering/Mapping

    In this chapter, we will look at the WHAT, WHY and HOW of each of these prewriting strategies.

    This page titled 5.1: Writing as a Process is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Skyline English Department.

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