The writing process is just what it sounds like: the process a writer follows in order to move from the initial ideas about a piece of writing to a finished product that has been revised and edited to the writer’s satisfaction.
Often, the writing process is described as linear, meaning that the writer moves systematically through the steps of gathering ideas, starting to put words on paper or on screen in an organized way, adding/moving/changing/deleting ideas, proofreading, and sharing with a wider audience. (These steps are usually labeled prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing.) But some writers don’t use the linear
process at all; instead, they move freely among the stages of prewriting, drafting, revising, and proofreading until a final product is created.
What is important is to find a process that works for you. Writers might ask themselves the following questions:
- What are my ideas? How do I want to share them?
- Who is my audience? Have I said everything I want to say to them? Have I written too much? Not enough? Have I stayed with my topic and ideas?
- Is there a better way to say what I want to say? Could the piece be organized differently?
- Is something missing?
- Does the piece need polishing? Are their errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation that will prevent others from understanding my message?
- Do I feel like I’ve done my very best work? Where can I share my writing? Who would appreciate my ideas?
The following resources may help you as you find the writing process that works for you:
- “Isabel Allende Loves the Writing Process” (An article from the Council Chronicle)
- What We Know About Writing (An overview from NCTE)
- Poetry Writing Process (A ReadWriteThink lesson)
- The Writing Process (A ReadWriteThink lesson)
- “The Writing Process Rejected” (An article by Orlean R. Anderson from the National Writing Project)