The Writing Process The writing process involves several steps, meant to enhance both your thinking and argumentation and your voice and style. You’ll be doing a lot of writing in this class, and much of it will be process­oriented­­that means, it will focus on the pre­writing or idea­generating stage as distinct from the drafting stage as distinct from the revising stage as distinct from the editing phase. The idea, in process­based approaches to writing, is that the piece is never “finished,” and the process of generating ideas is iterative. This means that as you write and draft and revise, you are also learning about your ideas and getting to know them more fully. We get our ideas in part from writing; they don’t spring from our heads fully­formed, like Athena from the head of Zeus. Image: Attic black­figured amphora, third quarter of the 6th century BC. Side A: birth of weaponed Athena who emerged from Zeus' head (detail). Fould Collection. Musée du Louvre. ● ● ● ● ● Prewriting: Analyzing your audience, determining your purpose in writing, limiting the scope of what you will cover, and generating potential content. Pre­writing can look like notes, freewriting, brainstorming or cluster maps, and so on. If research is involved, it will also include finding and reading sources, annotating them, and thinking about how they intersect with or help construct your ideas. Drafting: Making a case and structuring your evidence for that case. Now, your work is beginning to look like a “response essay” or a “blog post” or a “research essay” and so on. Feedback: From your instructor, a peer, or a tutor, you get a sense of someone else’s perspective­­this is important because it helps you develop an awareness of your audience, and it also attunes you to other people. You will become a better writer as you learn how to read and respond to others’ drafts, and how to evaluate peer responses so they can best help you refine your ideas. Revising: Putting yourself in the place of the reader, rethinking your approach, and making changes that will improve your case. Note that this is not proofreading! This is re­seeing your argument with the benefit of new and refined ideas! Sometimes, we might call this “global revision.” Polishing: Editing and proofreading to eliminate errors and improve the coherence and readability of your presentation. For the visually­inclined, here’s a diagram showing the relationships between these steps ⇨ Image: The writing process. From Coffin, C., Curry, M. J., Goodman, S., Hewings, A., Lillis, T. M., & Swann, J. Teaching Academic Writing: A Toolkit for Higher Education. London and New York: Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group. 2003. 37.