The Writing Process
In school, we’re often taught that writing begins with brainstorming, followed by drafting, revising and editing, and then turning our work into our teacher to receive a grade. In the real world though, writing is more complex than that. Sometimes the process starts with brainstorming, but sometimes, an idea jumps into our head fully formed, so we start drafting immediately to record it. We might even move to the brainstorming, or prewriting, phase after that to discover more details, or further flesh out our ideas.
Revising and editing should be two separate steps. Revising is adding or removing words, sentences, and paragraphs, or reorganizing them, to ensure that your writing fulfills your purpose, is logically organized, flows well for the reader, and clearly conveys your meaning. Editing is all about style and grammar, and should be the last step before you publish. Too many students get so caught up in editing, or negatively judging their writing based on grammar, punctuation, and spelling that they can’t focus on getting the ideas out of their heads on onto paper or the computer. I tell my students, “Just get your ideas out. We can worry about editing later!”
Publishing is the final step in the writing process. This step can include sharing your writing with a table partner, sharing with the class or your teacher, posting your work to a class blog, or your own blog, submitting your work to a writing contest or literary anthology, reading your work to your parents, grandparents, or siblings, performing your writing on stage at a talent show or poetry slam, and more.
Below are some additional tips to help you through each phase of this process: