from About.com Grammar and Composition
Four basic steps that most successful writers follow in one way or another:
- Discovering (also known as Invention): finding a topic and coming up with something to say about it. A few of the discovery strategies that can help us to get started arefreewriting, probing, and brainstorming.
- Drafting: putting ideas down in some rough form. A first draft is generally messy and repetitive and full of mistakes–and that’s just fine. The purpose of a rough draft is to capture ideas and supporting details, not compose a perfect paragraph or essay on the first attempt.
- Revising: changing and rewriting a draft to make it better. In this step, we respond to the needs of our readers by rearranging ideas and reshaping sentences to make clearer connections.
- Editing and Proofreading: carefully examining a paper to see that it contains no errors of grammar, spelling, or punctuation.
The four stages overlap, and at times we may have to back up and repeat a stage, but that doesn’t mean we have to focus on all four stages at the same time. In fact, trying to do too much at one time is likely to create frustration, not make the writing go faster or easier.
Writing Suggestion: Describe Your Writing Process
In a paragraph or two, describe your own writing process–the steps that you ordinarily follow when composing a paper. How do you get started? Do you write several drafts or just one? If you revise, what sort of things do you look for and what sort of changes do you tend to make? How do you edit and proofread, and what types of errors do you most often find? Save this description when you’re done, and then look at it again in a month or so to see what changes you have made in the way you write.