Many students are under the impression that once they are given a prompt for a writing assignment, they should just sit down and write. This is not the case at all! In fact, many professional writers use a system called the Writing Process. It goes something like this:
Step 1: Plan what you want to write. This may just be some general notes or be as structured as an outline. A thesis is usually developed in this step.
Step 2: Write a first draft of your piece. In this day and age this should take place on a computer – you’ll be glad you did later when you make revisions and you don’t have to completely rewrite your piece.
Step 3. Revising involves making changes you notice would make your piece better.
Step 4: Proofreading is not something you do alone. Typically you will proofread your own work, but then you will want to get some fresh eyes on it. We will work on strategies for proofreading in this class.
Steps 3 and 4 may be repeated endlessly. If you are a perfectionist, you will want to decide at some point that your work is “good enough” and turn in a final draft.
WHY AM I WRITING THIS?
Just as your purpose for reading affects how you read, your purpose for writing affects how you write. A quick note doesn’t typically require extensive use of the writing process, but for some other reasons you might write, use of the writing process is vital!
Understanding an author’s purpose for writing is vital to not only structuring your own work, but is also essential to comprehending any text that you might read. After all, every text is written by someone; keep in mind that all writers have reasons for writing what they write. Not all reasons are formal – sometimes a writer writes in order to respond or react informally to a text.
Writers typically write formally for one (or a combination) of three purposes:
Check your syllabus. What assignments are coming up to which you will apply the writing process? When will these be due?