4 Introduction to Writing Process

Why is it necessary to think of writing as a process?

As students, we’re used to thinking of “essay” as a noun. It’s often seen as an obligation, a task, a chore. 

Man rock climbingBut the origin of the word “essay” is actually as a verb, meaning “to attempt.”  Thought of in this way, writing an essay can be seen as an open, inviting exercise. It’s a way of exploring a new concept. It’s using writing as thinking.

A mountain climber wouldn’t attempt a new technically-challenging climb without a lot of planning and preparation ahead of time. Essayists also need planning and preparation for new technical challenges.

The writing process supports the exploratory, open-ended nature of essay writing. It gives you guidance towards a final product, while still allowing you room to explore along the way.

Graphic labeled "The Writing Process." A line of brightly colored circles are connected by gray arrows wrapping around them. From left to right, they read: Topic, Prewrite, Evidence, Organize, Draft, Revise, Proofread.

We’ll spend this module exploring each stage of the writing process, showing how stages overlap and intersect to lead you towards writing success.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to

  • Identify topic selection activities
  • Identify prewriting activities
  • Identify activities to find evidence in support of a claim
  • Identify essay organizational techniques
  • Identify drafting activities
  • Identify revision activities
  • Identify proofreading activities


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