The writing process includes everything you do to make your writing not only neat and correct but also interesting. The writing process can be separated into three stages: prewriting, writing, and postwriting. In this chapter you will learn more about these stages of the writing process. Then, in the chapters that follow, you will use what you have learned in a variety of writing forms, including stories, letters, and reports.
Prewriting is the stage of getting ideas. Energy builds up when you try to think of a story idea or an essay topic. Students often describe finding an idea as an explosion occurring, releasing energy. Kaboom! An idea!
Creative ideas may come to you when you aren’t thinking about a writing assignment at all. Or you may be using prewriting methods already, without realizing it. Do you talk about writing ideas with friends or family members? Do you visualize an idea and then write it down? Do you get inspiration from books, movies, music, or art? All of these are prewriting methods.
You can often speed up the process of finding good writing ideas by using prewriting techniques such as clustering, brainstorming, and free writing. In this guide you will learn about and practice each of these prewriting techniques.
Writing is the stage of forming ideas into sentences and paragraphs. When you find a writing idea, you’ll have the urge to write fast and furiously, and you should. As you write, new ideas will come to you. Writing is a solitary activity, and often hard work, but there are surprises in store when you finish. Many writers read their completed rough drafts in amazement and say, “I didn’t know I knew that!” Through writing, you may discover hidden thoughts and develop your thinking.
Postivriting involves making changes in your writing and sharing it. Classmates and teachers can help at this point by reading your writing and telling you which parts are more interesting and which are less interesting to them. You then make changes by revising (improving the content and organization of your writing) and by proofreading (correcting errors in spelling, mechanics, grammar, and usage). After your writing has been revised and proofread, it is ready to share with a wider audience.