When it comes to learning or teaching to write, there is no ‘right way’, and it is presumed that one has the liberty to do it in a way he or she is comfortable with. Nevertheless, writing is always considered a complex process, and in academic scenario, competent writing is often reasoned and accepted as the most important language skill to be attained. The writing process explained here is a simplified one, with steps commonly followed by every teacher.
Various Steps of the Writing Process
Step 1: Prewriting
Writing is a process that starts with your decision to write, and includes everything from setting a goal for writing and generating ideas to organizing, writing a draft, revising and editing or proofreading. Prewriting helps students generate enough ideas to help them develop a strategy to write the initial draft. During the prewriting stage you can follow the essential methods such as:
Setting the Goal: If you want your writing to be effective, it should distinguish you from others. Setting the goal of writing academic papers such as a thesis, a project report and an essay, using the goal helps you guide through the other processes of writing. How do you set a goal? Most successful and effective writers clarify their goal by answering to the question, “What do you want to accomplish by writing this report, essay or thesis?” This will help you formulate a goal statement, which in turn helps measure your writing and its objective.
Collecting Information and Generating Ideas: Writing assignments asks for gathering information, and it includes research by doing everything from reading books, journals and newspapers to talking to lecturers or teachers, making observations and conducting surveys. In other words, you need to have enough information from both primary and secondary sources, where the former includes details that you gather first-hand through meetings or surveys and the latter includes the information gathered by somebody and made available to your though books and journals. They help you take notes and generate ideas.
You can help yourself generate as many ideas as possible by talking to your friends, classmates or associates.
Mind Maps: They are also called concept maps, and are used by good writers as a visual aid to outline information. There are different types of mind maps to help you with the thought-development process. All you have to do is to have a main idea and then, connect it with branches that show related ideas. You can use a flow map, circle map, brace map, tree map and bubble map.
Step 2: Organizing
All those prewriting tasks you undertake for the writing process are likely to be in words and phrases and brief notes. Otherwise, they may be long drafts with a lot of ideas, but they may be with no focus or shape. Organizing the ideas include selecting related ideas and grouping them, and then, expanding and ordering them to develop your thinking.
Step 3: Writing a Draft
The third step allows the student to put the organized ideas into complete thoughts. In the process, he or she has to structure the text by writing sentences and paragraphs. To start writing is the toughest part in the writing process. Your writing proficiency to a great extent depends on following any of the different types of writing styles.
With the writing style you choose, you can have an impact on the reader. The reader engagement depends on your syntax, word choice, overall tone, mood, wordiness, and sentence structure. When all these bring changes to your writing style, you can never forego the intent of writing for you need to convince the reader, marker or teacher that your thoughts are based on what you understand about the subject.
Some common types of writing styles include:
Common Types of Writing Styles:
- Narrative Writing Style –This way of writing is suitable for telling a story by connecting ideas or events.
- Descriptive Writing Style – Where you have to give a concise and detailed description of things such as people, places or events, you need to write in a descriptive format.
- Expository Writing Style – With an expository writing style, you can expose or explain a concept as in essays, journal articles, and so on.
- Persuasive Writing Style – Most writings are persuasive that they help convince the readers to believe and take an action. Some popular examples include brochures, proposals, cover letters and advertisements
Having the above points in mind, you can frame the main argument to have a topic statement to begin writing. The introductory paragraph not only states the topic but also explains the purpose and suggests ways of the development of the topic. With this, you can draw the reader’s attention.
Next, you need to give detailed reasons and explanations for the argument by organizing the points of view from the rough draft. Each paragraph should have a topic statement and you need to expand your ideas using various literary devices such as diction, euphemism, metaphor, epigraph, allusion, imagery, personification and foreshadowing.
Step 4: Revising
Revising is all about going back and reapplying what you have done earlier in the writing process. This includes rethinking and changing or recasting the paragraphs or sentences. You may have to remove or add some sentences for completeness. Revising and editing some paragraphs for coherence through verbal connections such as using transitional words, repeating keywords, and retaining a single focus is essential.
Step 5: Editing and Proofreading
Among the five stages of the writing process, editing and proofreading carries a lot of significance for it helps check the writing for punctuation, capitalization, spelling and grammatical errors. With editing, you can revise your sentences to reinforce the message, avoid noun clusters, pretentious expressions, as well as redundant expressions. Other than checking for the correct style format, this stage also looks at the appropriate fonts like Times New Roman, font size, page numbers, inconsistencies and formatting issues.
You need to check for appropriate quotation marks in case you have borrowed any ideas from an external source during the writing process. If not, it would end in plagiarism and would lead to academic dishonesty.