Outcome: Prewriting

Analyze prewriting activities

The activities associated with prewriting might seem like they have little in common with formal, academic writing. Prewriting is, by its nature, loose and free-flowing. It’s the most open-ended part of the writing process, open to creativity and experimentation. Because of that, some people might see it as silly: a step worth skipping to get to the more “serious” work of real writing.

Avoid that temptation. Prewriting IS fun, so take the time to enjoy that part. It allows you to fall in love with your topic, to find a way into the project that seems worthy of exploring in depth.

It is also very productive time. Raw content generated during prewriting can eliminate hours of hard labor further into the writing process. It’s truly an investment that you’ll thank yourself for later on.

This section explores kinds of prewriting activities and the purpose behind each, so that you can select which is appropriate for each new writing task you undertake.
Graphic titled Prewrite. Bullet list: Free writing, Listing, Clustering, Questioning, Dialoguing. All is in a purple circle bordered by gray arrows.

Learning goals

In this chapter, you will

  • explore various prewriting strategies
  • learn about the rhetorical situation
  • consider thesis statements, working thesis statements, and how to evaluate a thesis statement