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The Writing Process

The writing process is something that no two people do the same way. There is no "right way" or "wrong way" to write. It can be a very messy and fluid process, and the following is only a representation of commonly used steps. Remember you can come to the Writing Center for assistance at any stage in this process. 

Steps of the Writing Process

process writing stages

Step 1: Prewriting

Think and Decide

Step 2: Research (if needed) 

Step 3: Drafting

Step 4: Revising

Make it Better

Step 5: Editing and Proofreading

Make it Correct

University of Lynchburg

The Writing Process

Creating a successful paper is a different process for everyone. Some writers require complete silence with no distractions, while others crave noise while they work. While no guide can help you find what situations will work best for you to write, there are steps in the writing process that promote a cleaner, better final draft. The general steps are: discovery\investigation, prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing.


The first step in writing a successful paper in college requires an active engagement with your sources. Simply reading a primary source for content is no longer sufficient. The question should no longer be “What happened?” but rather “Why did that happen? What does that say about the character(s)/plot?” Make notes of your thoughts and ideas as you read.

Once the writer has finished an active reading of the primary source, it may be necessary to obtain secondary sources to back up the thesis. If your research yields books, remember that it is not necessary to read the entire book. You can either look for a chapter title that you believe will have information pertinent to your paper, or look at the index for terms that you will be discussing. Peer-reviewed journals available online will be your most commonly used secondary resource. Use the online searches through the Knight-Capron Library, but remember that other search engines, such as Google Scholar, can yield results.

Prewriting is the step in which tools such as free writing, brainstorming, outlining, or clustering are used. In prewriting, no idea is too off topic or too strange. It is these sometimes dissociative ideas that can lead you to a paper topic that you never would have considered. Though the common perception is that there is nothing that hasn’t been written about before, if you allow yourself to think outside the box, you can find a way of looking at an old topic through new eyes.

It is also during prewriting that the writer needs to make a decision about audience. Asking questions like: “Who is going to read my paper?”, “What is the purpose of this paper?”, and “Why are they going to read my paper?” will help you set your audience. The simple answer to these questions is “My professor” and “Because they assigned it.” they are not the true answers. It could be that your paper needs to be geared towards elementary level students or participants in a seminar or peers at a conference. The language and tone for either of those audiences would be very different.

Drafting is the beginning of “writing” your paper. It is important to remember that in drafting you should already have a thesis idea to guide your writing. Without a thesis, your writing will be prone to drift, making it harder to frame after the fact. In drafting, the writer should use materials created in the prewriting stage and any notes taken in discovery and investigation to frame and build body paragraphs. Many writers will tackle their body paragraphs first instead of beginning with an introduction (especially if you are not sure of the exact direction of your paper). Beginning with body paragraphs will allow you to work through your ideas without feeling restricted by a specific thesis, but be prepared to delete paragraphs that don’t fit. Afterwards, create an opening paragraph (with an appropriate revised thesis) that reflects the body of your essay.

There are two different scopes of revision: global and local. Global revision involves looking for issues like cohesion and the overall progression of your paper. If your paper has paragraphs that do not flow into each other, but change topic abruptly only to return to a previous thought later, your paper has poor cohesion. If your topics change from paragraph to paragraph, it is necessary to either consider altering the order of your paragraph and/or revising your writing either by adding to existing paragraphs or creating new ones that explain your change in topic. A paper that includes smooth transitions is significantly easier to read and understand. It is preferable to keep all like thoughts together and to arrange your paragraphs in such a way that your argument builds, rather than laying everything out with equal weight. Though the blueprint for your paper is in the thesis, your main point, the end result of your argument should not come early in the paper, but at the end. Allow the early paragraphs serve as examples and information to build to your conclusions.

Local issues involve looking for clarity in sentences, ensuring coherence with your ideas. The greatest asset to avoiding and fixing local issues is to use varied sentence structure and to avoid using the same words repeatedly. Repeating the same sentence structure can make your paper feel mechanical and make an interesting topic feel boring.

The final stage in writing a paper requires a review of what you have written. In this last read of your paper, you should look for any grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors that have slipped through the cracks during the revising stage, or that were introduced in your revisions. Reading your paper aloud, or asking a friend to read your paper to you is a good way to catch errors. Often if you read your own paper, especially out loud, you can catch errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Though this step seems minor within the process of writing, it is an easy way to prevent the loss of points over simple mistakes.

Formatting, Inner-text citation, and Works Cited

The formatting required for your paper will change depending on the field of your topic. Generally, the sciences and business and economics use APA or CSE formatting. English, and other humanities will use MLA, and History uses Chicago. The appearance of inner-text citations, and Works cited page will all be affected by these different formats. Consult your syllabus or ask your professor to learn what format you should use. Guides for APA, Chicago, and MLA are available online .

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Resources for Writers: The Writing Process

Writing is a process that involves at least four distinct steps: prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing. It is known as a recursive process. While you are revising, you might have to return to the prewriting step to develop and expand your ideas.

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The Writing Process | 5 Steps with Examples & Tips

Published on April 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on December 7, 2022.

The writing process steps

Good academic writing requires effective planning, drafting, and revision.

The writing process looks different for everyone, but there are five basic steps that will help you structure your time when writing any kind of text.

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process writing stages

Table of contents

Step 1: prewriting, step 2: planning and outlining, step 3: writing a first draft, step 4: redrafting and revising, step 5: editing and proofreading, frequently asked questions about the writing process.

Before you start writing, you need to decide exactly what you’ll write about and do the necessary research.

Coming up with a topic

If you have to come up with your own topic for an assignment, think of what you’ve covered in class— is there a particular area that intrigued, interested, or even confused you? Topics that left you with additional questions are perfect, as these are questions you can explore in your writing.

The scope depends on what type of text you’re writing—for example, an essay or a research paper will be less in-depth than a dissertation topic . Don’t pick anything too ambitious to cover within the word count, or too limited for you to find much to say.

Narrow down your idea to a specific argument or question. For example, an appropriate topic for an essay might be narrowed down like this:

Doing the research

Once you know your topic, it’s time to search for relevant sources and gather the information you need. This process varies according to your field of study and the scope of the assignment. It might involve:

From a writing perspective, the important thing is to take plenty of notes while you do the research. Keep track of the titles, authors, publication dates, and relevant quotations from your sources; the data you gathered; and your initial analysis or interpretation of the questions you’re addressing.

Especially in academic writing , it’s important to use a logical structure to convey information effectively. It’s far better to plan this out in advance than to try to work out your structure once you’ve already begun writing.

Creating an essay outline is a useful way to plan out your structure before you start writing. This should help you work out the main ideas you want to focus on and how you’ll organize them. The outline doesn’t have to be final—it’s okay if your structure changes throughout the writing process.

Use bullet points or numbering to make your structure clear at a glance. Even for a short text that won’t use headings, it’s useful to summarize what you’ll discuss in each paragraph.

An outline for a literary analysis essay might look something like this:

Once you have a clear idea of your structure, it’s time to produce a full first draft.

This process can be quite non-linear. For example, it’s reasonable to begin writing with the main body of the text, saving the introduction for later once you have a clearer idea of the text you’re introducing.

To give structure to your writing, use your outline as a framework. Make sure that each paragraph has a clear central focus that relates to your overall argument.

Hover over the parts of the example, from a literary analysis essay on Mansfield Park , to see how a paragraph is constructed.

The character of Mrs. Norris provides another example of the performance of morals in Mansfield Park . Early in the novel, she is described in scathing terms as one who knows “how to dictate liberality to others: but her love of money was equal to her love of directing” (p. 7). This hypocrisy does not interfere with her self-conceit as “the most liberal-minded sister and aunt in the world” (p. 7). Mrs. Norris is strongly concerned with appearing charitable, but unwilling to make any personal sacrifices to accomplish this. Instead, she stage-manages the charitable actions of others, never acknowledging that her schemes do not put her own time or money on the line. In this way, Austen again shows us a character whose morally upright behavior is fundamentally a performance—for whom the goal of doing good is less important than the goal of seeming good.

When you move onto a different topic, start a new paragraph. Use appropriate transition words and phrases to show the connections between your ideas.

The goal at this stage is to get a draft completed, not to make everything perfect as you go along. Once you have a full draft in front of you, you’ll have a clearer idea of where improvement is needed.

Give yourself a first draft deadline that leaves you a reasonable length of time to revise, edit, and proofread before the final deadline. For a longer text like a dissertation, you and your supervisor might agree on deadlines for individual chapters.

Now it’s time to look critically at your first draft and find potential areas for improvement. Redrafting means substantially adding or removing content, while revising involves making changes to structure and reformulating arguments.

Evaluating the first draft

It can be difficult to look objectively at your own writing. Your perspective might be positively or negatively biased—especially if you try to assess your work shortly after finishing it.

It’s best to leave your work alone for at least a day or two after completing the first draft. Come back after a break to evaluate it with fresh eyes; you’ll spot things you wouldn’t have otherwise.

When evaluating your writing at this stage, you’re mainly looking for larger issues such as changes to your arguments or structure. Starting with bigger concerns saves you time—there’s no point perfecting the grammar of something you end up cutting out anyway.

Right now, you’re looking for:

For example, in our paper on Mansfield Park , we might realize the argument would be stronger with more direct consideration of the protagonist Fanny Price, and decide to try to find space for this in paragraph IV.

For some assignments, you’ll receive feedback on your first draft from a supervisor or peer. Be sure to pay close attention to what they tell you, as their advice will usually give you a clearer sense of which aspects of your text need improvement.

Redrafting and revising

Once you’ve decided where changes are needed, make the big changes first, as these are likely to have knock-on effects on the rest. Depending on what your text needs, this step might involve:

You can go back and forth between writing, redrafting and revising several times until you have a final draft that you’re happy with.

Think about what changes you can realistically accomplish in the time you have. If you are running low on time, you don’t want to leave your text in a messy state halfway through redrafting, so make sure to prioritize the most important changes.

Editing focuses on local concerns like clarity and sentence structure. Proofreading involves reading the text closely to remove typos and ensure stylistic consistency.

Editing for grammar and clarity

When editing, you want to ensure your text is clear, concise, and grammatically correct. You’re looking out for:

In your initial draft, it’s common to end up with a lot of sentences that are poorly formulated. Look critically at where your meaning could be conveyed in a more effective way or in fewer words, and watch out for common sentence structure mistakes like run-on sentences and sentence fragments:

Proofreading for small mistakes and typos

When proofreading, first look out for typos in your text:

Use your word processor’s built-in spell check, but don’t expect to find 100% of issues in this way. Read through your text line by line, watching out for problem areas highlighted by the software but also for any other issues it might have missed.

For example, in the following phrase we notice several errors:

Proofreading for stylistic consistency

There are several issues in academic writing where you can choose between multiple different standards. For example:

Unless you’re given specific guidance on these issues, it’s your choice which standards you follow. The important thing is to consistently follow one standard for each issue. For example, don’t use a mixture of American and British spellings in your paper.

Additionally, you will probably be provided with specific guidelines for issues related to format (how your text is presented on the page) and citations (how you acknowledge your sources). Always follow these instructions carefully.

Revising, proofreading, and editing are different stages of the writing process .

Whether you’re publishing a blog, submitting a research paper , or even just writing an important email, there are a few techniques you can use to make sure it’s error-free:

If you want to be confident that an important text is error-free, it might be worth choosing a professional proofreading service instead.

If you’ve gone over the word limit set for your assignment, shorten your sentences and cut repetition and redundancy during the editing process. If you use a lot of long quotes , consider shortening them to just the essentials.

If you need to remove a lot of words, you may have to cut certain passages. Remember that everything in the text should be there to support your argument; look for any information that’s not essential to your point and remove it.

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The Writing Process

Video: The Academic Writing Process

What is the writing process?

process writing stages

However, t he writing process is more than a set of steps to follow in the right order. Some have broken down the act of writing into steps and tried to suggest a sequence to follow, but the act of writing doesn't follow a straight line. For instance, you may come to your real thesis as you write your conclusion (causing you to backtrack almost to the beginning in the writing process sequence).  Writing is recursive ; it doubles back upon itself and leaps ahead. If you correct a spelling error as you write your first draft, you have done a proofreading act (a later stage) while you are drafting (an early to middle stage). There are generally five recognized stages in the writing process:

1. Prewriting – in this stage, you plan what you are going to write. You choose your topic, identify your audience and purpose, brainstorm ideas, and organize your information.

2. Drafting – in this stage, you start with a working thesis and then write your ideas in sentences and paragraphs. You follow your prewriting plan to create a first draft of your essay.

3. Revising – This stage involves making changes that will improve your writing. You focus on large-scale elements of the essay, such as, overall organization or logical flow of support, effective thesis statement, interesting introduction and concluding paragraphs, well-developed body paragraphs with clear topic sentences, appropriate tone and style for intended audience and purpose, etc.

4. Editing and Proofreading – this is the stage of your essay where you polish your essay. You focus on smaller-scale yet important essay elements, such as, clarity in sentence structure, appropriate word choice, correct spelling and grammar, and accurate document format.

5. Publishing – in this final stage, you choose a way to present your work to an audience (often this is indicated by your instructor).

As already stated, these steps do NOT need to be completed in this exact order; frequently, in the writing process, you go back and forth between the different stages. A true visual representation of this process may be more circular than linear. It may look something like this example:

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wordcloud of the writing process

The Writing Process

Writing is a process that can be divided into three stages: Pre-writing, drafting and the final revising stage which includes editing and proofreading. In the first stage you research your topic and make preparatory work before you enter the drafting stage. After you have written your text it is important that you take time to revise and correct it before submitting the final result.

Writing is often described as a linear process, moving from the first stage to the last stage in an orderly fashion. However, the writing process often requires moving back and forth between steps and is often more complex than the linear model represents. If you are working on a larger project you may have to break down the work into smaller parts to make it manageable; therefore you can be at different stages of the writing process in different parts of your project. You may also have to make changes in sections that you thought were finished as the contents are affected by what you write in other sections. Furthermore, new questions may arise along the way that will make it necessary to return to an earlier stage of the process, for example to do further research.


In the pre-writing stage you plan and prepare your writing. This is also the stage where you research your topic and look for relevant sources.

Early in the pre-writing stage you should give thought to the subject and purpose of your assignment. If you are assigned a broad subject by your instructor you will need to narrow it down and focus on a smaller subject area, preferably something that interests you. In order to write effectively you also need to know the purpose of why you are writing.  Each type of writing has a unique set of guidelines and knowing your purpose for writing will help you produce a text of high quality and relevance.  In order for you to know the purpose of your writing you will need to interpret the task. See more information below about this.

Doing thorough preparatory work is important for your writing and will save you a lot of time in the long run. It will help you keep your focus during the writing process. As your project progresses you may have to make some changes to your initial plan.

At the beginning of the writing process it is important to take time to create a timetable for writing in order to ensure that you will have a finished product when the assignment is due. When planning your time, take into account that the revising phase may take as much time as the initial writing, or perhaps even longer. This is in many ways similar to planning your studies in general.

Tips on how to organize your studies

Interpreting the task

Before you begin writing it is important to understand what is required of you . Interpreting the task is an essential part of the writing process as it will influence the quality and relevance of your writing. The guidelines for the assignment should give you information about the required length and format of your text, as well as some information about genre and structure.

Perhaps the expected genre of your text is not stated directly in the guidelines but can be deduced from the instruction words. These are words that indicate what type of text you are supposed to write. They could be words such as “analyze” or “discuss”.

Definitions of the most common instruction words

The guidelines should also include information about which referencing system to use. Furthermore, they often contain information about how the assignment will be assessed and graded. If you lack information of what is expected of you, you should consult the course teacher. 

Choosing a topic

You will have to choose a topic to write about, if one has not already been assigned. To choose a topic and get started with the writing process you can use invention techniques . Mind mapping or clustering and brainstorming are examples of invention techniques.

Tips on how to use different invention techniques  

It is likely that the topic that has been assigned or the one that you initially come up with is too broad or general to serve as the focus of the paper.

In the introduction to your paper you will need to make a claim that sets your position in an academic argument, a so-called thesis statement . Or, if the genre or discipline you are writing within calls for it, you may instead formulate one or more research questions that your text will try to answer. Both thesis statements and research questions serve to narrow down the topic and focus of the paper.

During the writing process you are likely to discover aspects that you were not aware of at the beginning, or the focus of your paper might become more refined or shift slightly. You can go back and rephrase the definition of your topic as well as the thesis statement or research questions as the writing progresses.

What is a thesis statement?

In a thesis statement you define the main idea of the paper and make a claim or state your position in an academic argument. A thesis statement is presented in the introduction and tells the reader what to expect of the rest of the paper. If it is not possible to formulate a thesis statement at the beginning of the writing process you may instead write down one or more questions that you would like to answer. Once you know what your findings are or where you stand in an academic argument, you may go back and define the thesis statement.

Example of a thesis statement:

Reading aloud to pre-school children stimulates their development of reading skills and increases their vocabulary as well as contributes to the development of general cognitive skills.

Further information about thesis statements and some examples

  What is a research question?

A good research question is debatable which means that the answer requires an academic argument. That is, research questions should not be simple yes or no questions, or questions that can be answered with a list of facts. Instead, to answer your research questions, you need to present a claim during the course of your paper, and support it with evidence. Be aware that your research questions should not be too big to be answered within the framework of the assignment. Your research question/questions should be presented to the reader in the introduction.

Example of a research question:

How does reading aloud to pre-school children affect the development of their reading abilities?

Watch this short video from Lund University about research questions and thesis statements:

Researching and reading

During the pre-writing phase you also research your topic and look for relevant sources. Often finding relevant literature is part of the final assessment of the assignment, as is the correct use of citations and references in the text.

The library search pages contain tips on how to search for literature.

You may have to return to the search or reading process as your project progresses and new aspects or problems become apparent.

When you read and take notes it is important to keep track of references. Always write down your sources when you take notes and mark out if you write down any quotations. This will make it easier to handle your references during the writing process and also help you avoid plagiarism.

More information about reading strategies and note-taking skills.

Even though the outer framework of the structure might be given, you still need to decide how and in what order you should present your material and your argument. Outlining is when you create a plan that presents your material in a logical order.

Watch a video to gain an understanding of why it is important to present your points in a logical order:

Tips for creating an outline:

Considering your material in this manner will also give you the opportunity to evaluate whether all your points are relevant and should be included in your finished text. If something does not seem to fit in your line of argument, consider whether it belongs in the text at all.

Once you have created an outline it is time to start writing. Remember that you do not have to write a perfect first draft. Instead of focusing on producing a flawless text at this stage, try to concentrate on writing down your main ideas.  You do not need to edit or proofread yet. Instead, try to let your thinking and writing flow as freely as possible. Furthermore, you do not have to write the text from start to finish. It is okay to begin with the sections that you feel the most confident with.

You will probably have to rework your draft several times before you have a complete text. Preferably you should allow time between drafts (1 to 2 days, if you have the time) as it will give you a new perspective on your text.

Giving and receiving feedback

In many university courses giving and receiving feedback is part of the writing process. In some courses it is also part of the final assessment. But above all, giving and receiving feedback is a learning experience and the process will help you become a better reader and writer.

Tips for giving feedback:

Tips for receiving feedback

Revising, editing and proofreading

This is the stage in the writing process where you make sure that your text is coherent and written accurately. Your final product should be a text that has been thoroughly worked through and that meets the academic standards of writing. Make sure that you allow enough time to revise, edit and proofread your assignment before submission.

Points to use when revising your text

Read through your text and revise it according to the following points (note that not all points apply to all texts):

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process writing stages

The Ultimate 5-Step Writing Process for All Writers

Updated on: 5 January 2023

Writing can be intimidating, even if you are an experienced writer.  But a process – by breaking it down to simpler steps – can help you write faster and better. After all the way you write affects how well you write. 

And a proper writing process can make all the difference. 

The goal of this guide is to help you learn how to properly write, whether you are writing a research paper or a blog post for your website. 

Read on to 

Let’s dive right in.  

What is the Writing Process? 

Let’s start from the very beginning – by clarifying what it is first. 

The writing process refers to the steps someone takes to compose text. That said, every individual writer follows his or her own writing process and it usually comes naturally to them. 

But there are basic writing process steps that are universally referred to and followed. Understanding them will help you develop your very own writing process more easily.

Still not convinced why you need to follow a process? Following a proper writing process is actually important for a few good reasons 

Many different processes for writing

If you have already searched the term writing process on the web, you may have come across several different types of it. Some claiming to have 3 steps, 4 steps or even 7 steps. Here’s what we found; 

Different Writing Processes

If you look closely, you’ll see that they refer to more or less the same steps. The 3-step process is a generalization of the other process types, while the 7-step process breaks down the sub-steps in the others.

In the 6-step process, marketing and reflecting refer to bringing what you’ve written in front of your audience and assessing the feedback to understand what you could have done better.

The 7-step writing process here is used mostly in schools where teachers guide the children by showing them how to write by planning and drafting a model piece in front of the class. Then they can incorporate the input of the children with a shared piece, which can then be evaluated, revised and edited (with the help of the teacher) before publishing. 

The 5 Step Writing Process 

For the sake of keeping it simple and effective, we’ll stick to a 5-step writing process that anyone can refer to and use for better results. 

The Writing Process

Step 1: Prewriting

Many tend to overlook this step completely.

They jump right into writing without taking the time to plan and organize their thoughts. And they end up with a low-quality piece that took a lot more time than they hoped. 

Taking time to complete this step is important because it helps with gathering and preparing everything you need for the subsequent writing steps. 

In this stage, spend time brainstorming and conducting research to understand your topic better and gather relevant information.

Rely on authoritative sources from experts in the subject area and list them down so you can refer to them when writing your piece later to increase its credibility. 

It’s also a best practice to identify your target audience. Understanding your target reader and what they want well will help you narrow down your focus.

Some prewriting strategies you can use here are,

Mind Map for Brainstorming

Blog Post Outline

Step 2: Drafting 

Now that you have researched the topic and have an outline ready, apply them to create a rough draft. Remember that this is only the first draft, meaning it will be revised and edited in the later steps. 

It’s important that you only focus on getting the ideas roughly into sentences without worrying too much about spelling, grammar or vocabulary here. 

If you spend time perfecting every sentence and paragraph that you write in the drafting stage, you’ll be more stressed and the quality of the final outcome will be lower. 

Instead, work through the outline you’ve prepared earlier as you write. Write complete sentences and paragraphs, and almost as in freewriting don’t stop yourself to look back and edit.

However, try moderately to use proper grammar and put together words in a way that makes sense when you revise. 

By the end of this step, you should have written everything you needed to say about the topic. 

Step 3: Revising 

This is a critical part of the writing process. It’s during this phase that you will revisit the draft and improve it by modifying and rearranging the content. To make it more appealing to the target audience you can add, rewrite or delete sentences or paragraphs. 

And as you reread your draft, you will detect areas that need to be improved to reinforce your argument better. It may require you to do a little more thinking, and even in some cases more research, to find the information you need to logically prove your point. 

You don’t have to do this step alone. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can help provide new insight that you might have missed; you can ask for help from your colleagues or peers during this stage. 

You can revise your draft as many times as you want. However, it’s better to wait at least a few hours if not a day to revise you draft again after the first attempt. 

Step 4: Editing 

Editing requires you to fix grammar mistakes, spelling or punctuation errors, repetition, and style. This is why you should wait to edit until you are done with revising your piece; for there’s no point in editing something you will later delete or rewrite.

You can make this another chance to ensure that your article delivers what your title promises. It’s better to get someone else to read your piece in this step as well, for they may find errors that you might have gotten too tired to notice after sifting through it for dozens of times. 

Step 5: Publishing

Then comes sharing your piece with your audience.

If you are adding it to a website or blog you may have to optimize it for SEO purposes and add visuals. In which case you may also have to consider marketing your piece, which you can do through social media, email newsletters, etc.  

Any Tips or Advice? 

You may have already developed your own signature writing process, maybe with a few additional steps to what we have covered here. We’d love to hear how you go about it, or any other tips that our readers may find useful. 

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. 

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Very informative indeed

This is awesome, a summarized guide to aspiring writers

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The 5 Step Writing Process Every Writer Should Know

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Learn the 5 Step Writing Process to help you become a better writer: planning, writing, revising, editing and finally publishing your work.

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the 5 step writing process steps

When it comes to the writing process, there are 5 steps that you need to know as a writer. It’s not as simple as just slapping down some words onto a page – there is a method that just straight up works.

In today’s post we are going to break down the 5 steps of the writing process so you can learn how to write more efficiently and share your words with the world.

the 5 step writing process

Introduction to the 5 Steps of Writing

Everything is a process, from how you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to assembling a low-earth orbit space telescope.

The key thing, as any project manager or business analyst will tell you, is to define the core parts of the process and establish what is called the Critical Path – the series of steps that must be completed, one before the other, and the order in which they have to proceed.

When it comes to writing, the same order of operations has to be followed, from the shortest flash fiction to the longest epic saga, to produce a fully realized text.

The five steps of the writing process are Planning, Writing the first draft, Revising, Editing and Proofreading, and Publishing.

Let’s make this a nice and neat bulleted list for those of you who just want your fast facts about the 5 step writing process:

process writing stages

Each of these steps can be broken down into several parts, which we will cover in the paragraphs that follow.

Now, some of you may be thinking “Bill, this is nonsense. My process is organic; just goes with the flow, man.” And that’s fine. This article isn’t for you. You can go and be James Joyce putting out seven words a day and then wonder what order they’re supposed to go in.

The rest of us will go be writers and command our work in a manner that actually, you know – WORKS.

If you’re serious about finding a writing process that will make you a more efficient writer and help you turn out your best work, keep reading.

Strap in. This is going to be a long ride.

prewriting and planning

Step 1: Planning and Prewriting

You know the saying: “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” If I had a nickel for every time I heard my father say this phrase, I could have gotten through grad school without the loans.

As obvious as it is, it is still very true. It is one of those lessons that transcends disciplines, and is as easily applicable in the arts as it is the sciences. When we talk about planning for the written word, there are a few things it usually implies.

Here are some things you need to do in order to make sure you are maximizing the planning step of the writing process:

Preparation of Self and Space

You have to be ready mentally to dive into your writing, which means you need to plan a space and a schedule during which you will pursue your craft.

This can be anywhere or any time that you choose, but, for the best results, it needs to be consistent. Same place, same time, and for the same amount of time every day.

Free yourself from as many distractions as possible – that means no TV droning on in the background; no exceptions. No news, no game shows, no dramas, no nothing.

You need some kind of noise? Music is a great friend for that. Depending on what I am working on, I have a few playlists I work with.

When I am writing for my own nefarious purposes (read: working on my fantasy/sci-fi/horror fiction), I usually stick with a lot of metal music – Metallica, Amon Amarth, Sabaton, Blind Guardian, Lacuna Coil, and Pantera are a few favorites.

If I’m working on something more on the noir end of the spectrum, I’ll play some B.B. King or John Lee Hooker.

As I’m working on this article, I am listening to some Classic Rock favorites (AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones).

Music helps me to set the mood for writing and guides my brain into the right groove. And since I typically know what I will be writing about, I can tailor that experience to improve my focus.

You could also do a million times worse than shutting off the internet to your computer (if that is how you are doing your writing) and leaving your cellphone in a drawer on the other side of the room. The rest of the world can wait.

You didn’t come into this space to play Candy Crush or surf social media. You’re here to work, Writer. The games and drama of people on the internet will be there when you’re done; I promise.

If you struggle with distraction while writing, see our post on 12 Tips for Distraction Free Writing for some ideas on how to get your work done in half the time.

Also, make sure your writing space is comfortable. Seriously, get an ergonomic office chair for writers – it’s worth the splurge!

Gabrylly Ergonomic Mesh Office Chair, High Back Desk Chair - Adjustable Headrest with Flip-Up Arms, Tilt Function, Lumbar Support and PU Wheels, Swivel Computer Task Chair, Grey

Gabrylly Ergonomic Mesh Office Chair, High Back Desk Chair - Adjustable Headrest with Flip-Up Arms, Tilt Function, Lumbar Support and PU Wheels, Swivel Computer Task Chair, Grey

Preparation of material.

So. What are you going to write about? Do you know? Do you have an idea of where it is going and how long it will take to get there? Do you have a list of settings? Chapter summaries? Character profiles? Relevant research?

Oh, did you think we weren’t working?

A lot of what goes into good writing is preparing for what you are about to write.

Yes, there are writers out there that don’t necessarily need a legal pad full of notes to write a story, and you may not either, depending on what story you are going to tell.

But if you are going to write a tale of high seas adventure and can’t tell port (left) from starboard (right) or fore (front) from aft (rear) or what does it actually mean to be amidships (the middle of a ship, either laterally or longitudinally), your results are going to be less than stellar.

When it comes to characters and settings, it’s okay to go into this process with just a general idea of what the main characters are like. Of course, this isn’t a bad time to ask yourself some important character development questions either.

During this phase of the 5 step writing process, you’ll discover other less central characters and more facts about your protagonist /antagonist/ deuteragonists and the world they inhabit as you tell their stories.

You don’t need to know everything – that would be boring – but you need to take some time to figure out what you need to know.

For example – I like to occasionally write detective stories. I have never personally been a detective.

I studied law and evidentiary standards and trial procedure in undergrad while working the pre-law track of my English degree. There were bits and pieces I knew, and some gaps that I had erroneously filled with television police procedural nonsense (another reason to shoot your set – it’s making you think you know things you don’t know!), and the rest I filled in with research.

I picked through crime scene manuals, forensic science books, books on criminal profiling and common investigative techniques, and pored over books of case law concerning the kinds of crimes my detective was going to be investigating.

I actually have a large journal with over a hundred pages of notes and observations, drawings of the fictional crime scenes, and so on for a story I was working on some time ago. ( Learn how to create and use a writers notebook here !}

And this is where the caveat is introduced – don’t spend so much time researching that you forget to write the story.

Knowing what you need to know will get you where you need to be. You don’t have to become a detective to write compelling fiction in that genre. And what if you write it and it’s wrong? We’ll get to that later in the writing process.

Step 2: Writing the First Draft

step 2 of the writing process

Our second step of the writing process is what all of us as writers love: actually writing.

Putting words to paper is one of the most satisfying feelings I have ever experienced. Seeing all that lovely white space disappear behind rows and rows of text; feeling a story progress through the layers of development into a fully fledged narrative; watching my characters learn and grow as they surmount challenges or face the heartache of failure.

This is where the magic happens; it’s where the story begins to reveal itself. And like everything else, there are some guidelines to follow. Here are some things to remember when writing in Step 2 of the writing process:

Stay Focused

The story is in charge. You need to let the story dictate what you are going to do.

And as I have said before, try to keep to a schedule that works for you.

Some of you are morning people. I am not. I do my best work in the evening after my daughter has gone to bed. My wife will unwind in the living room with a movie or one of her favorite television shows, and I will take my laptop to the next room over to put myself in the zone.

I don’t shut the door, but you should keep your space as closed to the outside world as possible. That can mean putting on some really good headphones to listen to music or just cancel out external noises, but you need to eliminate as many distractions as possible.

Your goal when you start writing is to produce a complete First Draft of your story, and to that end you should do your level best to get straight through it.

Of course, distractions don’t just come from outside the writing environment. Sometimes they come from inside as well.

Don’t Edit While You Write

You will be tempted to reread your entire work up to that point and revel in its greatness. Don’t, because…

You will be tempted to tweak a passage that you now find lacks the force you thought it had. Don’t, because…

You will be tempted to rethink an entire plot line and potentially scrap an entire chapter of work. Don’t, because…

You will start to question the worthiness of how you have presented the story and then the story itself.

As we talk about in our article on How to Write 2,500 Words a Day , you don’t ever want to go back and start editing or tweaking in this stage of the writing process.

Here is what you need to remember : The First Draft is not the whole story. It is not where the creative process ends. It is important, though, because it is the first step in making your written work what you want it to be.

It doesn’t need to be done perfect; it just needs to be done.

With regard to us as writers, it is very easy to get sucked into the world of “what ifs” and lose our pathway to the end of the story.

Like the dwarves in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, we get lost in Mirkwood, unable to envision an end to our perilous journey; unable even to remember why we were on this journey in the first place. Keep above the trees, my friend, and keep yourself pointed at the goal.

the 5 steps of writing process

Stay Organized

One way to help keep your eye on the prize is to be sure to keep notes concerning your characters and settings, and also to make little synopses of chapters as you go.

The temptation to reread your own material is going to be very real, so if something happens where you break your schedule and you need a refresher of where you were last, you can refer back to your notes and journal entries to find your bearings.

Personally, I use Microsoft OneNote to keep track of my notes and journal entries while writing. It’s free, which is my favorite price for everything, and it lets you create a structure for your notes that makes sense.

Keeping separate sections for settings, character details, chapter synopses, and personal thoughts at the end of each writing session (which I will wholly ignore once put down until we get to the next step in the process) will give you a quickly searchable reference guide to your own work later on.

Any similar tool will work, or, in lieu of a digital work space, a good five subject notebook will help to keep you organized. I like the idea of working longhand, and often do, but my handwriting is at its worst when my brain is at its fastest, and so for me it makes sense to keep it digital.

Step 3: Revision

step 3 revision

So, you have officially completed the first draft of your manuscript. Congratulations! Great job! It is time to celebrate! Once you are done it’s time to take that completed work and…wait.

At this stage in the writing process, you need to wait .

Depending on the size of the manuscript you’ve produced, which will depend on what you are writing about and the format, you will want to sit on that bit of glory for a minute before you dig into the next phase.

How long? A day to three weeks would be ideal, with the shorter works (essays, flash fiction, etc) requiring the least amount of time to wait. Your Great American Novels require the longer period.

What you do during this waiting period is up to you – some may prefer to dig in and start on another work, others might take some time to read a few pieces in your market.

But what you are not allowed to do is anything related to the manuscript you just finished, including writing about the piece or reading any of your notes. Stuff it in a drawer and pretend it doesn’t exist.

You see, the third stage of the writing process is the revision process. It’s at this time where we will start working with the story again and going through any possible holes in the plot.

You cannot possibly do this well when the work is still fresh in your mind. You need to give it some space so you can clear your head and approach it with an unbiased mind.

The key here is to give the piece enough time to ferment that when you finally return to it, you do so with fresh eyes and a kind of separation from the piece.

The revision process of writing requires you to be objective, and that isn’t always possible when it comes to your darling text.

This is your baby, after all, and, like with children, it will be hard for you to see it in a light other than positive (or extremely negative) without first putting a wedge of objectivity between you and it.

Once the waiting period is over, you’re ready to really get into revising. Here’s some things to remember:

Read Straight Through Your Work Without Making Changes First

Yes. You read that right as well.

Once your prescribed cool-down time has been reached, it is time to crack the sarcophagus on that manuscript and take a gander.

As best as you are able, get through the whole thing in one sitting. Take notes (on a separate document, referencing page and paragraph numbers).

By now, you should be distanced well enough from the work to be able to put it under the microscope and extract those things that don’t belong, but also hook onto those things that really shine and think of ways to enhance them.

Like with writing your first draft, it is important to power through it. Don’t make the changes yet, just get a good idea of what needs done.

Kill Your Darlings

Once you’ve read through, it is time for the hard part. Taking stuff out.

When you write your first draft, you are telling the story to yourself. When you go through to make revisions, your job is to remove all the things that are not the story.

Places where you tell instead of show , or where you maybe are showing off a little too much with you research, or a sentence/paragraph/dialog/chapter that makes no sense in relation to the rest of the work, need to be removed.

You are going to run across some stunning prose in your journey of revision, not all of which belongs to the story. And that is where it gets difficult.

Your initial feeling might be to shoe-horn it in somehow, or just to leave it because “It’s just so good!” You have to fight this urge. The story doesn’t exist as a means for you to show off. The story is in charge – don’t forget that!

Add What’s Necessary

You are also going to come across some parts of your work that might need some additional build-out – more description, sharpening details, putting in something you realized you forgot on the first draft that is vital to the story.

It is also a chance to highlight some of the naturally occurring symbolism in your narrative (don’t go forcing symbolism, though; it never works the way you want it to) and add a little flourish here and there.

Remove Inconsistencies, Redundancies, and Unnecessaries

There is a good little equation to remember when revising:

This is the basic formula we’re looking for. If the first draft of your text is 50,000 words, you should strive to reduce that to 45,000 through the process of revision.

That does not mean removing chunks of narrative indiscriminately. On the contrary.

As I mentioned earlier, our job during revision is to remove everything that is not the story, and that means removing things that don’t fit or otherwise don’t need to be there.

While Revising, there are three basic things to look for:


this is the biggest problem and the reason why you should take notes as you write concerning your settings and characters.

If a room in chapter one has a curio cabinet full of geological trinkets, but is full of Beanie Babies in chapter seven, that is an inconsistency that the reader is going to notice.

If a change like that is going to happen, there needs to be a reason, and it needs to further the story. Otherwise, cut it out.

The same is true if you read your protagonist acting in a way that is completely out of character for them – or any character doing so.

A lot of the connection you have with the reader depends on suspension of disbelief – which is not going to happen if your morally rigid main character does something suddenly of ambiguous moral distinction.


Did your character tell the same piece of back story twice? Did you repeat something else in a specific scene? Do you have two bars in the same town with the same name? Change it or get rid of it. Duplication makes your story less interesting.


This is anything else that is not the story or in service to the story. Get rid of it. Even if the prose is brilliant, or it showcases your amazing research, or it was fun to write.

Don’t Go Alone

This is also the time when you can start introducing your work to other readers. In fact, I would encourage it. Find a colleague or two you can trust to be honest in their assessment and let them read your work.

Seek their feedback and, if it makes sense, implement it. You ostensibly wrote your manuscript with the intent to share it with others – test your readership and see what comes back your way.

The only rule is this – you aren’t allowed to ask about it until after they are done reading. Don’t be so needy. Give them some space.

If possible, join a writer’s group . They are going to be far more objective and unbiased that family members or friends.

Step 4: Editing and Proofreading Your Final Draft

step 4: editing

The third step of the writing process is editing and proofreading.

“Bill, isn’t proofreading and editing the same thing as revising?”

First, revising is the process by which a writer examines their work as a whole object – the completed narrative. You will go through several passes of revision before you come to this final step in the process of creating your completed work.

Only once you are totally satisfied with the story as a whole being, that is when you need to make one last pass through your work to tighten every screw.

Proofreading is the third step of the writing process where we start worrying about things like grammar, spelling and punctuation. Your story should be solid at this point – now we’re just making sure it is legible.

Here is the difference between revising and editing , just to be clear we’re on the same page.

Here are some tips for the proofreading and editing stage of the process:

Proofreading is the phase of the process where you go over your work with a fine-toothed comb. You are no longer reading to make sure things make sense. You’ve done enough of that.

This is the mechanical inspection of your work to make sure that you’re using the proper versions of you’re/your/yore, or/oar/ore, their/there/they’re, etc.

Because this part of the process requires you to stop thinking in terms of the story, you need to take measures to slow your pace significantly to avoid reading for pleasures and missing some error.

If the piece is short enough, this isn’t a problem. If you’ve written a novel or novella, however, then it becomes more difficult.

When I have done revision and proofreading for other people’s manuscripts, I will do a single quick read-through of the entire work to get a feel for the writer’s voice. Then I do the editing by reading the work backwards to keep my brain from engaging with the story on too intimate a basis. This trick can work for you as well.

Have Your Toolkit Handy

It takes a special kind of person to remember all the grammatical and linguistic rules for any language, English or otherwise. That said, it is a good idea to have some resources available to help with this process: a dictionary, a thesaurus, and a style manual.

Your Dictionary

[Paperback Oxford English Dictionary] [By: oxford university press] [January, 2012]

[Paperback Oxford English Dictionary] [By: oxford university press] [January, 2012]

A dictionary is an obvious choice, and my recommendation is the Oxford English Dictionary (the American desk reference, not this 20 volume set that I would love to own if I had the space and the budget).

The Oxford English Dictionary, Volume 1-20, (20 Volume Set)

The Oxford English Dictionary, Volume 1-20, (20 Volume Set)

You need to know how to spell words and what they mean so that you are using them properly.

If you describe someone as solipsistic, but don’t know that it can mean someone who is very self-centered, or the philosophical concept that only the self can be known, then you could either use it out of context or just plain incorrectly.

Yes, spellcheck is a thing, but it’s not always accurate. Software developers will ensure that the most commonly used words are in the database, but it’s up to you to fill in the blank spots.

A thesaurus is another excellent tool to have, and once more I turn to Oxford with their Writer’s Thesaurus , which gives example sentences for words and synonyms, plus assistance on picking the right word for a given situation.

Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus

Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus

The reason you need a thesaurus during the proofreading phase is to eliminate a few more of those redundancies we mentioned earlier.

Nothing is more distracting when reading than a writer who uses the same word over and over again. If you find yourself doing this, take a gander at the thesaurus and use an alternate word.

A Style Manual

A style manual is just a reference for the rules of grammar. In my eye, there can be none better than Strunk and White’s Elements of Style .

The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition

The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition

I was introduced to this little book (and it is small) in 10th grade and dismissed it until I started taking writing seriously in my early 20s.

It is by far the most succinct, comprehensive references on English grammar ever to be set down.

I have read through style manuals of many kinds – MLA, AP, Chicago, APA – and had to use all of them. But I always come back to Elements in the end, and save the others for how to cite my references.

These tools will serve you very well in the proofreading stage of the writing process. Don’t be tempted to solely rely on your word processing software to catch every mistake.

Consider an Editor at This Stage

An editor is someone who can help you with the proofreading process. It is very easy for us to overlook our mistakes in our writing. Having a professional set of eyes on your work may make all the difference in whether your manuscript is accepted .

Step 4: Publishing Your Work

step 5 - publishing

Congratulations! You have finished planning, writing, rewriting, and editing your work. You are ready for the final stage of the writing process, which is publishing your work.

Your test readers have given you rave reviews and lots of constructive criticism. Being the wise author that you are, you have taken this to heart and used their feedback to make your work even better. So how do you get your work in front of other people?

There are two main types of publishing to consider, which are traditional publishing and self publishing. For detailed information on how to publish your work, check out our post on How to Publish a Book that outlines everything you need to do step by step in detail.

When publishing, you need to think about what you wrote and where it will best meet your target audience. If you are publishing on your own blog, it’s as simple as just hitting the “Publish” button once the work is ready to release in the wild.

Of course, most of us want to reach a wider scope of an audience than just our blog readers. This is where we have to consider the pros and cons between traditional publishing and self publishing.

Traditional Publishing

The standard way is to shop your manuscript around to publishers that service your genre. Get a copy of Writer’s Marketplace and sift through the columns of publishers and literary agents to find your best matches.

The current versions of Marketplace will usually give some insight into whether or not a publisher is willing to work with new authors (assuming this is your first time around the publishing track), as well as how they accept entries.

If you are set in getting your work seen in print or you want to publish with established websites that have an entire editorial staff, you are going to need to consider the traditional publishing route.

Note that the major publishing houses will not take any type of unsolicited manuscript and require you work directly with an agent who submits your work on your behalf.

When you submit your manuscript , never send the whole thing. Follow the directions the publisher specifies!

Usually this means you will send only a few sample chapters, typically the first three. If they like your work, they’ll ask to read the whole thing.

If they make an offer, be sure to have a good look at anything requiring your signature.

Small journals may only make you sign a release to allow them to publish the work, and throw in a rider that allows you to keep overall publishing rights.

Bigger publishing houses, dealing with bigger texts will likely have much more complicated contracts requiring you to hire some kind of representation, be it a literary agent or a lawyer.

I would recommend the former if you are going to shop around a big manuscript as they will have a better understanding of the market and the publishers themselves.

Self Publishing

Of course, self publishing is a very popular option nowadays as well. You get none of the hassle of working with a professional publisher, but also none of the marketing and coverage that they provide.

There are many advantages to self publishing if you already have an audience and platform. If you have a site like this one where you are getting hundreds of thousands of visitors a month, you probably don’t have to rely too much on any marketing a traditional publisher might provide.

Amazon will let you publish your work electronically, should you choose, and there are a host of hard-bound self-publishing firms out there now as well.

Just remember, what you save in hassle, you lose in selling assistance, access to larger markets and marketing, and you have to foot the bill yourself.

One thing that is very important is you do not confuse self publishing with vanity publishers. Vanity publishers are very predatory in nature and often prey on very mediocre at best authors who simply just want to see their name in print. The costs can be outrageous with them, so do your homework!

Depending on your goal for your work, self publishing can be a great way to get started, and if your work sells well on Amazon under the self-publishing banner, it could still get picked up for wider distribution by another, larger publisher. The sky is the limit!

I hope this article on the 5 steps of the writing process is helpful for you. I know this is a lot to take in all at once but it will be worth it when you slow down and have a method to keep you on track and get your work read by others.

Do you have any questions or comments about the 5 step writing process? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Bill comes from a mishmash of writing experiences, having covered topics ranging from defining thematic periodicity of heroic medieval literature to technical manuals on troubleshooting mobile smart device operating systems. He holds graduate degrees in literature and business administration, is an avid fan of table-top and post-to-play online role playing games, serves as a mentor on the D&D DMs Only Facebook group, and dabbles in writing fantasy fiction and passable poetry when he isn’t busy either with work or being a husband and father.

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The Stages of Writing

English Writing Any writing 101 course teaches that writing is an activity that takes time and cannot be treated as a one-step affair. They also know that readers expect much more than just correct grammar ; they expect interesting, clearly written, and well organized content. The basic rule of writing says that you need to think about what you are going to write BEFORE you write and go over your writing a few times BEFORE sending it out or publishing it. This is because the act of writing is a complicated task, which involves many thought processes all going on at once. In order to produce written material more efficiently, these processes can be broken down into stages. These are defined differently by various approaches, with anywhere between 4 and 10 stages. We suggest the following six stages: 1.    planning 2.    drafting 3.    revising 4.    editing 5.    proofreading 6.    presenting

1. The Planning Stage

It is very difficult and even futile to try and think about WHAT you want to write and HOW you want to phrase it in the same time. In planning, you try to foresee what you want your final text to look like, using the following points: •    Define your writing topic and content area. Narrow your topic down to a specific angle that will be developed in your text. Make sure you are aware of any specific content or technical requirements you may have from teachers. Research and analyze information sources if needed. •    Calculate the time needed to complete your writing task. Remember that even a 1,500 word college essay may take a few days to properly complete, so do not postpone writing assignments to the last minute! •    Brainstorm and jot down any ideas, thoughts, arguments, words, and phrases you think are relevant to your text. •    Organize your preliminary arguments into an outline following a logical order that would suit the general essay structure of opening, body, and ending. Put ideas in sub-groups that will later develop into paragraphs.

2. The Drafting Stage

When writing the first draft of your text, focus on content only and FORGET about language and mechanical aspects such as grammar, spelling, and punctuation. You must write freely and try to find the best way to communicate your ideas. Do not get stuck checking spelling and other nitty-gritty at this point! That will stop your writing flow! Remember the following points: •    The opening paragraph (introduction) should present the text’s topic. Refrain from using the first person when doing this (No: “In this essay I will present…”) and prefer a stronger opening technique to entice the reader to keep reading. For example, pose a provocative question; give a testimonial or illustrative story, or present interesting facts on the phenomenon under discussion. •    The body (discussion) paragraphs should each present one idea or aspect of the general topic and begin with a topic sentence that will orient the reader to what follows within the paragraph. •    Provide enough supporting sentences for the topic sentence, using examples, explanations, facts, opinions, and quotes. Consider the expected text length and go into detail accordingly. •    Use connecting words (conjunctions and discourse markers, such as and, or, but, so, because, however, moreover, for example etc.) to logically unite arguments, sentences and paragraphs. •    The ending (conclusion) should present summative remarks and repeat the text’s key idea or thesis in other words. Try to finish with a strong statement that will have your reader asking for more… •    Orient yourself to the appropriate register called for by your audience and purpose of writing. Keep it simple when writing to young children; consider delving into polemics when aiming for university professors… •    Try to diversify the words and phrases you use as much as possible, using synonyms, descriptive and figurative language, while considering the expected writing style of your text. •    If time permits, read your draft very generally and redraft, making immediate global changes you feel are urgent. Don’t be too harsh on yourself and do not focus on fine nuances in meaning at this point.

3. The Revising Stage

No text should be sent out or published without going over it at least once! Twice is even better. You must reread even the shortest business email to prevent any embarrassing mistakes (such as sending the wrong email to the wrong person, to start with). Revising means evaluating your text’s content and making sure you actually wrote what you intended in the planning stage. You may be surprised to hear that revising should take as much time as drafting! Go through the following checklist when revising: On a global level (text-paragraph), ask yourself: •    Did I actually write on the required topic and used relevant arguments and examples, or digressed inadvertently? •    Is each piece of information relevant to the paragraph it is in? Should I delete certain parts or move them somewhere else in the text? In other words, is your text cohesive and unified around one theme? •    Does each paragraph and sentence logically follow and relate to what’s written before it? Is there enough or too much support to each topic sentence? Change accordingly. On a local level (sentence-word) ask yourself: •    Did I use suitable connectors to present the logical relations between text segments (cause-effect, general-detail, compare-contrast, chronological order etc.) in order to make the text coherent? •    Did I technically tie ideas together with relevant word choices, apt pronoun reference, and techniques such as parallelism and emphasis? •    Did I diversify sentence types and lengths (from simple to complex, short and concise to long and elaborate)? Consider uniting two consecutive short sentences or dividing a long compound-complex sentence into two shorter ones. •    Did I refrain from no-no’s such as run-ons, fragments, dangling modifiers, wordiness, or inappropriate register? Did I avoid sexist language? •    Did I refrain from repeating the same ideas and words and used a rich and varied vocabulary? Did I use adjectives and adverbs for text enrichment? Did I mainly use my own words? •    Do not attempt showing-off with a fancy word you do not know how to use properly.

4. The Editing Stage

Editing is sometimes considered part of revising, but refers to judging your text for language and technicalities rather than content. This is the time for all you grammar lovers and nitty-gritty enthusiasts to meticulously scan the text for language accuracy. •    Your sentences should adhere to proper word order rules, each containing a subject and a predicate. Use a variety of verb tenses correctly and appropriately (simple, progressive, perfect, and perfect-progressive tenses). •    Be careful with subject-verb agreement issues. •    Use a variety of language constructions to make your writing more precise and educated (comparative structures, relative clauses, conditional sentences, not too much of the passive voice etc.) •    Use a dictionary or spell checker when not sure about spelling. Reread your text again for problematic homonyms (there-their-they’re). •    Use a variety of punctuation marks accurately and consult a style guide when hesitating between a comma, colon, or semi-colon. •    Edit for text mechanics: capitalization, numbering, italics, and abbreviations.

5. The Proofreading Stage

Proofreading comprises that one extra step you need after revising and editing in order to locate any small mistakes you missed out on until now. Be it some urgent last minute content change or some spelling and punctuation that escaped your attention – this is the time to brush away those invisible blemishes before writing or printing out the final copy. Tip: For a second proofread, try and pinpoint mistakes reading the text backwards. You’ll be surprised at what you can find this way.

6. The Presentation Stage

After the text itself is ready, it is time to work on some finishing touches with aesthetics polishing your text to perfection. •    If you are handwriting your text, use a ruler to create margins on both sides of the page. Remember to double-space if required by a teacher. Write neatly and legibly! •    When using a computer, be consistent with font usage, spacing, and heading levels. Always be on the look out for more tiny errors for last-minute on-screen corrections. •    In academic papers, adhere to the strict citation conventions, dictated by your style manual. •    Consider using indentation for every paragraph as well as larger spacing between paragraphs. The writing process may seem long and tiresome, but it is a guaranteed path to success. The more you use it, the sooner you will realize how you couldn’t do without it. This "writing 101" review article has given you the basics. You can access more useful pages through our English Lessons Portal.

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