Updated: May 3
Hi! It's Dustin the writing tutor and mindset coach and today I want to discuss The Writing Process.
Why do we need the writing process?
There are a lot of reasons but a few of them is that it helps you to gain deeper skills as a writer. It also helps you to develop subskills that will support you as a writer, a thinker, and support you as somebody who completes tasks as well. You'll produce higher quality writing and you'll also create a habit of breaking up big tasks into smaller ones.
Pre-writing is the first step and this involves gathering your ideas, so it might be brainstorming, listing, or mind maps and then organizing those ideas.
This is so important if, for instance, you think about an argumentative essay, imagine that you simply begin writing the essay immediately without thinking about possible objections to your argument. You're going to be ill-prepared for the skeptic who reads your essay and says, "Wait a second, you didn't consider these arguments!" or what if you get halfway through your essay then you change your mind as you begin to think more deeply about the topic, you realize that you actually agree with your opponent.
Gathering your ideas first really helps you avoid those situations mentioned above. It can also help you to select the best ideas from a list. So I recommend gathering and writing down more ideas than you think you will need, and then evaluating those ideas and deciding which ideas are best.
Drafting involves following your plan and if you plan well, your draft is going to reflect that. But don't be a perfectionist. Don't get bogged down with word choice because your goal here is simply to complete your plan. You can always go back and refine it later.
In revising, this is where you're going to change bigger areas of the writing such as the organization, clarity, tone, or voice. You want to do this first before you edit because you can imagine if you're adding more information or taking information away, you're going to waste time editing before you revise.
Editing comes next and this involves small picture changes. This is going to be error correction like punctuation, spelling, and grammar.
Then you want to finalize your writing. Polish it and work on those little details and add it to your portfolio. I recommend to all my students that they keep a portfolio, not only to share with others or perhaps use in an application, or for a job or to publish somewhere but also because it's very encouraging to see how you've improved. You can also track your improvement this way.
The last step is to share it. This might simply be submitting the writing or publishing it or making it public in some way.
Invest in yourself
A lot of people see this process as burdensome and it does take time. But in the long run, it is an investment and it saves you time and saves you grades. Because what you are doing when you are going through the writing process is you're teaching yourself to become a better writer. It is not simply that you are working on the one essay or the one piece of writing that you're producing, you're actually working on yourself. As you revise and edit, for instance, you're teaching yourself to choose perhaps more specific or more formal, more appropriate words--and this pays off over time.
The earlier you commit to this method and the earlier you commit to the process, the more it will pay off for you. For instance, imagine if you start this and really commit to the writing process in 4th grade, your skills are going to develop and you're going to keep building on top of those skills and before you know it, your first drafts are going to look like your final drafts once did and then you're going to improve those even further.
You keep your writing skills, for the most part, you keep them for life. And so it truly is an investment.