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My Writing Process Essay

My Writing Process

The writing process is a step by step process that requires different stages of development in order to construct an essay or paper. Every writer has a different and unique writing process. Personally, I believe that there is no single approach to producing an essay, rather multiple ways in which a writer may arrive at the final product. My writing process breaks down into four main steps; pre-writing, writing, revising/editing and then rewriting. Throughout my years of writing in high school I have never considered myself to be a strong writer.

The writing process can be very frustrating for me, because even after I have done my brainstorming and organizing, once I begin writing I will instantly start crossing out what I wrote and changing my sentences. This sometimes can make the writing process seem long and tedious, and is often very frustrating, however, by exploring and practicing the different steps of the writing process that work best for me I will able to produce well written essays that clearly communicate my intended message to my reader.

In this essay I will examine my writing process, in hopes of becoming a more skilled writer and communicator, and will further develop my ability to create thoughtful and well-constructed essays. Because I believe that writing is a skill that is utilized throughout a person’s life, it is essential to know how to prepare, organize and edit as it is useful in a myriad of situations. When beginning to write an essay, I know preparation is essential. My initial task is picking a topic, unless it is given.

After determining a topic, I then generate a thesis statement, which should not only support the topic but prepare the reader for the contents of the essay. I then begin my next step which is usually brainstorming and doing research to expand my knowledge on the subject given, or chosen topic. When I brainstorm, I get a piece of paper and pen to write down any ideas that come to mind. I then develop the jumbled mass of thoughts into a list of more complete ideas and points that I wish to address.

The last part of the pre-writing stage for me is to outline. Outlining helps me to structure the paper and determine how I want all of my information to lay out. My outline will show where and what main points I want to include in each of my paragraphs. I am now ready to begin creating my rough draft; this is the most difficult process for me, as I have always experienced difficulty simply beginning to write the essay. I make organization my ultimate goal during this step, because once my ideas, focuses and points are organized, I am able to freely write.

I make sure I have all of my pre-writes at hand, as they are my guide for writing my rough draft. I think that creating the rough draft is the most essential step when producing an essay, as it contains the outline of the topic being explored and it gives way to the thinking process. I will write as much information as I can without correcting anything. When I have all the information I want written down, I then check what I have and start to add necessary information, and erase information that isn’t consistent or accurate regarding my thesis.

Another important aspect of writing an essay is the conclusion, just as every essay has a clear beginning, it should also have a clear ending. The conclusion should make the essay sound finished. The more time that I put into giving my rough draft a strong foundation, the easier it will be for me to add my finishing touches to the final essay. Revising and editing my essays are the most crucial step and I spend most of my time during this process, I never think what I have written can’t be improved.

I tend to go over and over my words and change them as many times as is needed. I have been told that to “revise” is to look again at what is written and see how it can be improved. Usually, I will start to revise as soon as I begin my rough draft. I do this because I find myself constantly rearranging my words and sentences as I work out my ideas. I have also been taught that the best time to revise is a day or two after having written the rough draft so there is distance from the work and it is easier to spot errors, and make changes.

One thing I have learned that the revision step involves much more than just correcting errors in my grammar, spelling and punctuation. The last thing I make sure I do while revising is to read my work aloud so I am able to hear if something needs to be changed in my writing that I am unable to see. Once I have finished revising, I turn my attention to editing and proofreading my essay. I examine my sentences to make sure they are clear, concise and free of mistakes. I double check for run on sentences and wordy sentences which are a weakness in my writing.

I will also check each word in my essay and make sure they are appropriate with what I’m trying to say, check for spelling errors and making sure my punctuation is correct. A lesson I have learned from writing is everybody makes mistakes, and the worst mistake is forgetting to proofread. After I have completed the revising and editing process, I have my final draft ready. I ensure that it is in the correct MLA format and any citations are correct. I always take the time to read over my paper one or two more times before turning in my final copy.

It could mean the difference of a letter grade! Now that I have examined my writing process I am able to pin point the things I need to work on in order it improve my writing skills. I can see the importance of the writing process and the step by step process I will continue to follow and critique in order to make myself a great writer. The four stages of my writing process are framework for me to improve, write well and hopefully make it easier. Writing is the primary basis, upon which my work and learning are judged, it expresses who I am as a person and makes my thinking visible.

University/College: University of Arkansas System

Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

Date: 29 September 2016


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The writing process: Writing a first draft

Date published November 25, 2014 by Shane Bryson. Date updated: January 20, 2015

The first draft you write should not also be the last draft you write. Instead of aiming for polish in the first draft, many writers aim to develop the paper into something that can be polished later on.

Table of contents

Your goals are to turn your rough ideas into workable arguments, add detail to those arguments, and get a sense of what the final product will actually look like. When you finish the first draft, you will know which sections and paragraphs work and which might need to be changed. This possibility of change is one reason not to aim for perfect writing in the first draft: no need to waste your efforts polishing something you might later cut out or revise.

Order of first draft priorities

Order your priorities in writing your first draft as follows: forward momentum, clear organization, clear expression, clear citation, and finally, elegance, grammar, mechanics, and formatting.

  1. Forward momentum. Remember, the goal here is to produce a full workable draft, not a perfect one. Editing lightly as you write is fine, but the more that honing sentences slows you down, the less you will be thinking creatively and putting your ideas to paper coherently. So don’t edit heavily. Write your ideas now; perfect them later. If you’re unsatisfied with a sentence or argument, highlight it or flag it in some other way, and revisit it later.
  2. Clear organization. Nearly as important as getting your ideas into your document is ordering your ideas clearly so that you can retrace your logic when you begin to work on the second draft, minimizing the work you have to do there. Pay some attention to the logical ordering of paragraphs and sentences, but remember, much of this work should have been done in your outline to save you puzzling through organizational issues when you write the first draft. Also remember, though, that the organization does not have to be perfect, just logical, and when you begin your second draft you may decide to reorganize.
  3. Clear expression. Expressing your ideas clearly by, for example, creating smooth transitions and straightforward sentences is important to a degree. Again, giving your sentences clear expression saves you work later, but remember, sentences can be polished later. In your first draft, it’s only necessary that you will know what you meant by a certain expression.
  4. Clear citation. Students often make work for themselves by not noting sources when writing drafts. You don’t need to put in well-formatted citations yet, but you will save yourself much hassle later if in your first draft you note the essential information (names, years, page numbers) for each source you use. Forward-looking writers note citation information as they write.
  5. Elegance, grammar, mechanics, and formatting. Yes, elegance is your last priority when writing your first draft. At this point, flawless expression just is not very important. Do make sure that your writing is comprehensible, but that’s all you need to do. For most writers, forming ideal sentences takes much time and consideration. Worry about these time-consuming tasks when you begin to focus on editing. The same goes for formatting. And remember, there’s no point in perfecting a sentence before you are sure that it’s content is necessary and usefully explained.

Tips for writing a first draft

If you’ve taken the time to write an outline, you may think of writing the first draft as expanding on the outline you’ve prepared. Simply put, in your first draft you turn your rough outline into good, robust paragraphs.

Keep in mind the following while you work on your first draft:

  • Start with the sections you want to. Some writers do not begin writing their essays at the introduction, or even the early body paragraphs. Start writing your essay where it seems most natural for you to do so. Some writers might prefer to start with the easiest section to write, while others prefer to get the most difficult section out of the way first. Think about what material you need to clarify for yourself, and consider beginning there.
  • Keep your argument flexible. You may realize as you begin to write that some of your arguments don’t work as well as you thought they would. Don’t give up on them too easily, but be prepared to change or abandon arguments or sections if you need to. If you’re stuck on one section, move on to another and come back to the one that’s giving you trouble.
  • Allow for conscientious expansion. Your first draft may incorporate ideas that you’d not yet thought of in the outline. In fact, probably you will find some new ideas as you write. Note these additions, and allow them to find a place in the paper, so long as you’re confident they will fit.
  • Keep your outline nearby. To track your progress and stay on topic, continually refer to your outline while you write. Make notes, additions, and subtractions on it to reflect what you’re doing in the draft, and what you have in mind for the sections of your paper.
  • If you are stuck, stop writing and start thinking. If you find yourself unable to continue to write, stop trying to write. Go back to an earlier stage in your writing process to generate more ideas, conduct more research, and work on your outline.
  • Don’t delete content. If you begin to dislike the paper, do not scrap it in fit of rage. Put it in a different document if it makes you feel better, but keep what you have, even if you don’t plan on using it. You may find that it contains or inspires new ideas that you can use later.
  • Write one manageable section at a time. Some writers choose to complete a full first draft before continuing work on their second draft, and this is especially effective for shorter papers or sections of papers. In long essays (about 20+ pages), though, some writers find it useful to write first drafts and second drafts for one section before moving on to another. In long papers, having a very clear idea of the organization of one section can help you write other sections.
Is this article helpful?

Shane Bryson

Shane finished his master’s degree in English literature in 2013 and has been working as a writing tutor and editor since 2009. He began proofreading and editing essays with Scribbr in early summer, 2014.

Academic Writing

The six steps of the writing process

Read about the writing process. These are the steps you will practice in this course.

When we write, we do more than just put words together to make sentences. Good writers go through several steps to produce a piece of writing.

STEP ONE: Choose a topic. Before you write, your teacher gives you a specific assignment or some ideas of what to write about. If not, choose your topic yourself.

STEP TWO: Gather ideas. When you have a topic, think about what you will write about that topic.

STEP THREE: Organise. Decide which of the ideas you want to use and where you want to use them. Choose which idea to talk about first, which to talk about next, and which to talk about last.

STEP FOUR: Write. Write your paragraph or essay from start to finish. Use your notes about your ideas and organisation.

STEP FIVE: Review structure and content. Check what you have written. Read your writing silently to yourself or aloud, perhaps to a friend. Look for places where you can add more information, and check to see if you have any unnecessary information. Ask a groupmate to exchange texts with you. Your classmate reads your text, and you read his or hers. Getting a reader’s opinion is a good way to know if your writing is clear and effective. Learning to give opinions about other people’s writing helps you to improve your own. You may want to go on to step six now and revise the structure and content of your text before you proofread it.

STEP SIX: Revise structure and content. Use your ideas from step five to rewrite your text, making improvements to the structure and content. You might need to explain something more clearly, or add more details. You may even need to change your organisation so that your text is more logical. Together, steps five and six can be called editing.

Proofread. Read your text again. This time, check your spelling and grammar and think about the words you have chosen to use.

Make final corrections. Check that you have corrected the errors you discovered in steps

five and six and make any other changes you want to make. Now your text is finished!

Steps five and six can be repeated many times.

Taken from "Academic Writing" by Macmillan Publishing

Writing process essay

Process writing can be classified into two types according to its purpose.

Writing a Process Essay

There are two types of process writing.

One type explains how to do something.

The other type explains how something works.

2. How to do something

This type process writing is designed to tell someone how to do something. The reader should be able to follow the directions your essay and successfully do what you are explaining.

How to do something

How to find a new boy or girl friend.

How to get a better hotel room

How to repair your computer

How to plant a garden

3. How Something Works.

The purpose of this type of process essay is to inform the reader. The reader is not going to do the process explained in the essay, but the reader will understand the process when he or she finishes reading the essay.

How Something Works.

How your car engine works

How a plant traps the sun’s energy

How a new federal law is created

How jurors are selected

4. The Introduction

The introduction to a process essay may tell the reader about a problem. The thesis statement, which is usually the last sentence of the introduction, tells the reader how to solve the problem. In the example introduction, the writer presents a child with a behavioral problem; then the writer presents a solution to the child’s behavioral problem. The writer uses a psychologist name Dr. Mo to present the solution to Reza’s son’s problem. Do you think Dr. Mo, Reza, and little Ali are real people?

One way to start your process essay is to present a problem in the introductory paragraph; then present your thesis as the solution to the problem you presented.

Yesterday, when Reza tried to get his three year old son Ali to eat, little Ali threw his dinner on the floor. After Reza put some more food on Ali’s plate, Ali threw it on the floor again. Frustrated, Reza called called Dr. Mo, his son’s psychologist. Dr. Mo recommended these three steps to overcoming infant temper tantrums.

5. The Body

When describing a process, it is important to make a plan so you don’t skip any important steps. It is also important to list all the materials that the reader needs to have in order to follow the steps. It is important to be very familiar with the process you are writing about. Think the process through very carefully and make sure you have included all the necessary steps and that they are in the correct order.

The body paragraphs of a process essay are the steps.

Each step is presented in the topic sentence of its paragraph. Example: The first step in overcoming infant temper tantrums is understanding why the child is misbehaving. Usually the answer is he or she wants attention.

If you need materials, you should say what these are in the first supporting paragraph.

Example: Before you start working on your computer, make sure you have the necessary tools. First, you will need a set of small screwdrivers. Second, you should have a grounding clip. This is used to …..

6. The Conclusion

The conclusion may be similar to the introduction. It will remind the reader of both the problem and the solution. The conclusion sometimes warns the reader about the dangers involved in following the steps incorrectly or offer suggestions about overcoming certain difficulties.

The concluding paragraph will remind the readers of what they can do next time they have the problem you mentioned in the introduction. The conclusion may also offer some advice or warnings about the process.

Example: The next time your three year old behaves badly at the dinner table, just follow Dr. Mo’s three easy steps. However, be careful not to repeat them to many times because…….

7. Transitions

Since process essays follow time order, they use time order transitions. Be careful to use the correct punctuation with each transition. Use these transitions to help mark the steps in your process essay so they are easy to follow.

The first step is

Before doing the next step, …..

The next to the last thing you need to do is…

Reflective Essay: The Writing Process

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Writing Process Essays

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Writing Process Essays leads your students step by step through creating a how-to essay. Instructions, activities, examples, videos, interactives, and downloads help students gain new writing strategies and skills. You can also present this unit right from your interactive whiteboard.

First students read about process writing and watch an introductory video (see below). Then they read a sample process paragraph and essay and write in response to them. Afterward, they start to write their own process essays:

  • Prewriting activities help students select a topic, find a focus, and gather details to support the focus.
  • Writing activities help students write a beginning that grabs the reader’s interest and introduces the topic, middle paragraphs that lay out the materials and steps the reader should follow, and an ending paragraph that wraps up the essay.
  • Revising activities help students elaborate details, add headings, and create an interesting title.
  • Editing activities help students form command sentences and select the right word. Videos help to explain some of the finer points of editing.
  • Publishing and reflecting activities help students create a clean final copy of their work and lock down their new learning.

Teacher Support:

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Standards Correlations:

The Common Core State Standards provide a way to evaluate your students’ performance.

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Online Writing Lab

Thesis Statements

A thesis statement is one of the most important elements of any successful essay. A thesis statement controls the subject matter of the essay and states something significant to the reader. It is the one statement that summarizes the main point of the essay and states why the essay is important and worth reading. An essay that lacks a strong thesis will be inadequate and often lacking in focus.

The following are qualities of a well-crafted thesis statement:

  • A thesis statement should identify a specific purpose, a specific way to accomplish the purpose, and oftentimes a specific audience (depending on the type of essay).
  • A thesis statement should assert something about the essay.
  • A thesis statement should be easily identifiable by a reader and should be clear and not ambiguous.
  • A thesis statement generally comes toward the end of the introduction.

Examples of thesis statements:

“In order to succeed in the classroom, college students need to utilize the resources available to them throughout their academic careers.” Notice how this thesis statement includes a specific audience (college students), a specific purpose (success in the classroom) and the specific way this can be accomplished (utilizing available resources).

“The United States government needs to implement a nationalized healthcare system to lower the cost of healthcare and improve the overall health of all citizens.” Notice how, much like the above example, this thesis statement also has a specific purpose (lowering the cost of healthcare and improving health) and a specific way to do so (implementing national healthcare). What this thesis does not address, because of the nature of the essay and topic, is a specific audience. A thesis statement for an argument essay does not always address a specific audience since it is written to broader audience with the attempt to persuade others to a specific viewpoint.

Just as the contents of the essay may change during the writing process, so, too, may the thesis statement. It is important to create a thesis statement before writing the paper, but this type of thesis is generally referred to as a working thesis and may change along with the contents of the essay. It is important that a writer uses the thesis to direct the creation of the essay, but it is also important that the writer is open to changing the thesis as necessary.

A reader should be able to easily identify the thesis in any essay. If someone reads your essay and cannot identify where the thesis statement is located, take this as a sign that the thesis is not clear and/or is not as specific or strong as it can be. Make sure that the thesis stands out and can be easily interpreted.

For more information on writing an effective thesis statement, please see the thesis statement exercise.

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