Writing is not easy. It takes study and practice to develop the skill. For both native and non-native English speakers, writing is a process. A piece of writing is never “complete.” It is always possible to improve it.
Whether you are writing an academic paper, business letter, or blog post, it may help you to break the writing process into five steps:
Step One: Prewriting
Get ideas and organize them!
- Get Ideas: The first things you need are ideas. How do you get ideas? Read articles, watch TV, or do some brainstorming. You may have to do some research. Do not think too hard about what your essay will look like – you can figure this out later. Let the ideas flow!
- Organize: Quickly put your thoughts into some kind of order. You can use an outline, a diagram, or just make a list. D not write any sentences yet! Simply make decisions about what you are going to say first, second, etc.
The main idea is: do some thinking before you do your writing! This will make your writing stronger.
Step Two: Writing
Many students try to write a perfect sentence the moment they start. This is the wrong approach! Now that you have some ideas, write them down quickly! Just get your ideas on paper. DO NOT WORRY ABOUT MISTAKES! You’ll be able to fix them later.
Step Three: Revising
What is revising? Revising is where you make decisions about what you want to improve. Think of FOUR types of changes you may want to make:
- Adding: What else does the reader need to know?
- Rearranging: Is the information arranged in the most logical and effective order?
- Removing: Is there anything unnecessary in this writing?
- Replacing: Are there any words or details that could be replaced by clearer or stronger expressions?
Step Four: Editing
Editing is where you fix your mistakes. Look for:
- spelling and capitalization
- sentence structure
- subject/verb agreement
- word usage
Use a dictionary to check spelling, check your grammar, or get someone to help you. The point is: you must be careful when editing. Editing is a separate – and important – process, and this is why you do it after writing.
Step Five: Publishing
Make sure your document is formatted properly, your name is on the paper, and you follow all the rules for publishing your writing.
Whether you’re writing an academic essay, a blog, or a business letter, your writing will be stronger if you follow these steps.
What Do You Think?
Do you have problems writing in English? Are these ideas helpful? Do you have a different process you follow? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!