GWIE | Gradute Writing Institue for Excellence

The Writing Process

 
 

 

 

  • The Writing Process


  • The process of writing involves a variety of stages, all of which are inter-related, inter- dependent, and, when combined, result in the culmination of a product: your paper. On this web page, several on-line sources overview the writing process in general, while others discuss each of the various discrete stages thereof.


  • Overview


  • I Purdue OWL’s Overview of the Writing Process

  • II University of Kentucky’s Overview of the Writing Process

  • III MIT’s Comparative Media Studies/Writing Page’s Discussion on the Writing Process


  • Pre-Writing (“Invention,” according to Classical Rhetoric) involves writing before we write!

  • Pre-Writing

  • In other words, before formally commencing the first “rough” draft of our research paper, we will have done quite a bit of writing already— in the form of notes, annotations, and paraphrases, etc., all of which is informed by our ideas as well as the ideas and information of others (i.e., our sources). According to John R. Hayes and Linda S. Flower, “prewriting (they call it planning) includes three subprocesses: 1) generating, 2) organizing, and 3) goal-setting” (as cited in Erika Lindemann’s A Rhetoric for Writing Teachers, 2001, 4th ed., p. 26). So if we’ve done an adequate job of pre-writing, we may have generated and organized quite a bit of content, all of which can be included in the first draft of our paper itself, content based upon the various goals and objectives we’ve already set for ourselves.


  • Drafting

  • Drafting Page

  • Drafting occurs only after we’ve generated and organized our ideas. It commences with formulating these ideas into cohesive sentences and paragraphs, organizing both so that they inter-relate with each other towards over-all coherency. Thus, drafting is written composition, which is directly related to reading comprehension, further demonstrating the dialogic relationship between reading and writing.


  • Re-Writing/Revising

  • Revising Page

  • Re-Writing, according to Erika Lindemann (2001), involves “reseeing, rethinking, and reshaping [our composition], resolving a tension between what we intended to say and what [we actually wrote]” (p. 29). Thus, re-writing/revising involves polishing and perfecting the ideas and information we’re presenting to the reader, often doing so via elaboration, including the use of examples and explanation, both of which can help clarify our thinking. Clarity also occurs when we revise for concision, saying more with less. For many, re-writing/revising includes proofreading and editing, but for our purposes, we will treat these two inter-related tasks separately.


  • Proofreading & Editing

  • Proofreading Page

  • Proofreading and Editing involve first finding, then fixing, errors in our composition. Thus, proofreading and editing represent two aspects of the same penultimate stage of the writing process, for we aren’t prepared to publish until we’ve thoroughly proofread and edited our paper— locally (grammar, punctuation, mechanics, & usage, etc.), globally (organization, etc.), and stylistically (citations & references, etc.).


  • Publishing

  • Publishing is the final or ultimate stage of the writing process, occurring whether we turn our paper in to a professor, submit it as an article for publication in a peer-reviewed or juried journal, or present it at an academic conference. Of course, when doing so, we may be asked to revise it even further, thus demonstrating that the writing process is, at least theoretically, indefinite.