Why It Matters: 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 Outcomes

  • 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