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Ai, ethics & human agency, collaboration, information literacy, writing process, the ultimate blueprint: a research-driven deep dive into the 13 steps of the writing process.

  • © 2023 by Joseph M. Moxley - University of South Florida

This article provides a comprehensive, research-based introduction to the major steps , or strategies , that writers work through as they endeavor to communicate with audiences . Since the 1960s, the writing process has been defined to be a series of steps , stages, or strategies. Most simply, the writing process is conceptualized as four major steps: prewriting , drafting , revising , editing . That model works really well for many occasions. Yet sometimes you'll face really challenging writing tasks that will force you to engage in additional steps, including, prewriting , inventing , drafting , collaborating , researching , planning , organizing , designing , rereading , revising , editing , proofreading , sharing or publishing . Expand your composing repertoire -- your ability to respond with authority , clarity , and persuasiveness -- by learning about the dispositions and strategies of successful, professional writers.

four stages of essay writing

Like water cascading to the sea, flow feels inevitable, natural, purposeful. Yet achieving flow is a state of mind that can be difficult to achieve. It requires full commitment to the believing gam e (as opposed to the doubting game ).

What are the Steps of the Writing Process?

Since the 1960s, it has been popular to describe the writing process as a series of steps or stages . For simple projects, the writing process is typically defined as four major steps:

  • drafting  

This simplified approach to writing is quite appropriate for many exigencies–many calls to write . Often, e.g., we might read an email quickly, write a response, and then send it: write, revise, send.

However, in the real world, for more demanding projects — especially in high-stakes workplace writing or academic writing at the high school and college level — the writing process involve additional  steps,  or  strategies , such as 

  • collaboration
  • researching
  • proofreading
  • sharing or publishing.  

Related Concepts: Mindset ; Self Regulation

Summary – Writing Process Steps

The summary below outlines the major steps writers work through as they endeavor to develop an idea for an audience .

1. Prewriting

Prewriting refers to all the work a writer does on a writing project before they actually begin writing .

Acts of prewriting include

  • Prior to writing a first draft, analyze the context for the work. For instance, in school settings students may analyze how much of their grade will be determined by a particular assignment. They may question how many and what sources are required and what the grading criteria will be used for critiquing the work.
  • To further their understanding of the assignment, writers will question who the audience is for their work, what their purpose is for writing, what style of writing their audience expects them to employ, and what rhetorical stance is appropriate for them to develop given the rhetorical situation they are addressing. (See the document planner heuristic for more on this)
  • consider employing rhetorical appeals ( ethos , pathos , and logos ), rhetorical devices , and rhetorical modes they want to develop once they begin writing
  • reflect on the voice , tone , and persona they want to develop
  • Following rhetorical analysis and rhetorical reasoning , writers decide on the persona ; point of view ; tone , voice and style of writing they hope to develop, such as an academic writing prose style or a professional writing prose style
  • making a plan, an outline, for what to do next.

2. Invention

Invention is traditionally defined as an initial stage of the writing process when writers are more focused on discovery and creative play. During the early stages of a project, writers brainstorm; they explore various topics and perspectives before committing to a specific direction for their discourse .

In practice, invention can be an ongoing concern throughout the writing process. People who are focused on solving problems and developing original ideas, arguments , artifacts, products, services, applications, and  texts are open to acts of invention at any time during the writing process.

Writers have many different ways to engage in acts of invention, including

  • What is the exigency, the call to write ?
  • What are the ongoing scholarly debates in the peer-review literature?
  • What is the problem ?
  • What do they read? watch? say? What do they know about the topic? Why do they believe what they do? What are their beliefs, values, and expectations ?
  • What rhetorical appeals — ethos (credibility) , pathos (emotion) , and logos (logic) — should I explore to develop the best response to this exigency , this call to write?
  • What does peer-reviewed research say about the subject?
  • What are the current debates about the subject?
  • Embrace multiple viewpoints and consider various approaches to encourage the generation of original ideas.
  • How can I experiment with different media , genres , writing styles , personas , voices , tone
  • Experiment with new research methods
  • Write whatever ideas occur to you. Focus on generating ideas as opposed to writing grammatically correct sentences. Get your thoughts down as fully and quickly as you can without critiquing them.
  • Use heuristics to inspire discovery and creative thinking: Burke’s Pentad ; Document Planner , Journalistic Questions , The Business Model Canvas
  • Embrace the uncertainty that comes with creative exploration.
  • Listen to your intuition — your felt sense — when composing
  • Experiment with different writing styles , genres , writing tools, and rhetorical stances
  • Play the believing game early in the writing process

3. Researching

Research refers to systematic investigations that investigators carry out to discover new  knowledge , test knowledge claims , solve  problems , or develop new texts , products, apps, and services.

During the research stage of the writing process, writers may engage in

  • Engage in customer discovery interviews and  survey research  in order to better understand the  problem space . Use  surveys , interviews, focus groups, etc., to understand the stakeholder’s s (e.g., clients, suppliers, partners) problems and needs
  • What can you recall from your memory about the subject?
  • What can you learn from informal observation?
  • What can you learn from strategic searching of the archive on the topic that interests you?
  • Who are the thought leaders?
  • What were the major turns to the conversation ?
  • What are the current debates on the topic ?
  • Mixed research methods , qualitative research methods , quantitative research methods , usability and user experience research ?
  • What citation style is required by the audience and discourse community you’re addressing? APA | MLA .

4. Collaboration

Collaboration  refers to the act of working with others to exchange ideas, solve problems, investigate subjects ,  coauthor   texts , and develop products and services.

Collaboration can play a major role in the writing process, especially when authors coauthor documents with peers and teams , or critique the works of others .

Acts of collaboration include

  • Paying close attention to what others are saying, acknowledging their input, and asking clarifying questions to ensure understanding.
  • Expressing ideas, thoughts, and opinions in a concise and understandable manner, both verbally and in writing.
  • Being receptive to new ideas and perspectives, and considering alternative approaches to problem-solving.
  • Adapting to changes in project goals, timelines, or team dynamics, and being willing to modify plans when needed.
  • Distributing tasks and responsibilities fairly among team members, and holding oneself accountable for assigned work.
  • valuing and appreciating the unique backgrounds, skills, and perspectives of all team members, and leveraging this diversity to enhance collaboration.
  • Addressing disagreements or conflicts constructively and diplomatically, working towards mutually beneficial solutions.
  • Providing constructive feedback to help others improve their work, and being open to receiving feedback to refine one’s own ideas and contributions.
  • Understanding and responding to the emotions, needs, and concerns of team members, and fostering a supportive and inclusive environment .
  • Acknowledging and appreciating the achievements of the team and individual members, and using successes as a foundation for continued collaboration and growth.

5. Planning

Planning refers to

  • the process of planning how to organize a document
  • the process of managing your writing processes

6. Organizing

Following rhetorical analysis , following prewriting , writers question how they should organize their texts. For instance, should they adopt the organizational strategies of academic discourse or workplace-writing discourse ?

Writing-Process Plans

  • What is your Purpose? – Aims of Discourse
  • What steps, or strategies, need to be completed next?
  • set a schedule to complete goals

Planning Exercises

  • Document Planner
  • Team Charter

7. Designing

Designing refers to efforts on the part of the writer

  • to leverage the power of visual language to convey meaning
  • to create a visually appealing text

During the designing stage of the writing process, writers explore how they can use the  elements of design  and  visual language to signify , clarify , and simplify the message.

Examples of the designing step of the writing process:

  • Establishing a clear hierarchy of visual elements, such as headings, subheadings, and bullet points, to guide the reader’s attention and facilitate understanding.
  • Selecting appropriate fonts, sizes, and styles to ensure readability and convey the intended tone and emphasis.
  • Organizing text and visual elements on the page or screen in a manner that is visually appealing, easy to navigate, and supports the intended message.
  • Using color schemes and contrasts effectively to create a visually engaging experience, while also ensuring readability and accessibility for all readers.
  • Incorporating images, illustrations, charts, graphs, and videos to support and enrich the written content, and to convey complex ideas in a more accessible format.
  • Designing content that is easily accessible to a wide range of readers, including those with visual impairments, by adhering to accessibility guidelines and best practices.
  • Maintaining a consistent style and design throughout the text, which includes the use of visuals, formatting, and typography, to create a cohesive and professional appearance.
  • Integrating interactive elements, such as hyperlinks, buttons, and multimedia, to encourage reader engagement and foster deeper understanding of the content.

8. Drafting

Drafting refers to the act of writing a preliminary version of a document — a sloppy first draft. Writers engage in exploratory writing early in the writing process. During drafting, writers focus on freewriting: they write in short bursts of writing without stopping and without concern for grammatical correctness or stylistic matters.

When composing, writers move back and forth between drafting new material, revising drafts, and other steps in the writing process.

9. Rereading

Rereading refers to the process of carefully reviewing a written text. When writers reread texts, they look in between each word, phrase, sentence, paragraph. They look for gaps in content, reasoning, organization, design, diction, style–and more.

When engaged in the physical act of writing — during moments of composing — writers will often pause from drafting to reread what they wrote or to reread some other text they are referencing.

10. Revising

Revision  — the process of revisiting, rethinking, and refining written work to improve its  content ,  clarity  and overall effectiveness — is such an important part of  the writing process  that experienced writers often say  “writing is revision” or “all writing is revision.”  

For many writers, revision processes are deeply intertwined with writing, invention, and reasoning strategies:

  • “Writing and rewriting are a constant search for what one is saying.” — John Updike
  • “How do I know what I think until I see what I say.” — E.M. Forster

Acts of revision include

  • Pivoting: trashing earlier work and moving in a new direction
  • Identifying Rhetorical Problems
  • Identifying Structural Problems
  • Identifying Language Problems
  • Identifying Critical & Analytical Thinking Problems

11. Editing

Editing  refers to the act of  critically reviewing  a  text  with the goal of identifying and rectifying sentence and word-level problems.

When  editing , writers tend to focus on  local concerns  as opposed to  global concerns . For instance, they may look for

  • problems weaving sources into your argument or analysis
  • problems establishing  the authority of sources
  • problems using the required  citation style
  • mechanical errors  ( capitalization ,  punctuation ,  spelling )
  • sentence errors ,  sentence structure errors
  • problems with  diction ,  brevity ,  clarity ,  flow ,  inclusivity , register, and  simplicity

12. Proofreading

Proofreading refers to last time you’ll look at a document before sharing or publishing the work with its intended audience(s). At this point in the writing process, it’s too late to add in some new evidence you’ve found to support your position. Now you don’t want to add any new content. Instead, your goal during proofreading is to do a final check on word-level errors, problems with diction , punctuation , or syntax.

13. Sharing or Publishing

Sharing refers to the last step in the writing process: the moment when the writer delivers the message — the text — to the target audience .

Writers may think it makes sense to wait to share their work later in the process, after the project is fairly complete. However, that’s not always the case. Sometimes you can save yourself a lot of trouble by bringing in collaborators and critics earlier in the writing process.

Doherty, M. (2016, September 4). 10 things you need to know about banyan trees. Under the Banyan.

Emig, J. (1967). On teaching composition: Some hypotheses as definitions. Research in The Teaching of English, 1(2), 127-135. Retrieved from

Emig, J. (1971). The composing processes of twelfth graders (Research Report No. 13). Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.

Emig, J. (1983). The web of meaning: Essays on writing, teaching, learning and thinking. Upper Montclair, NJ: Boynton/Cook Publishers, Inc.

Ghiselin, B. (Ed.). (1985). The Creative Process: Reflections on the Invention in the Arts and Sciences . University of California Press.

Hayes, J. R., & Flower, L. (1980). Identifying the Organization of Writing Processes. In L. W. Gregg, & E. R. Steinberg (Eds.), Cognitive Processes in Writing: An Interdisciplinary Approach (pp. 3-30). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.  

Hayes, J. R. (2012). Modeling and remodeling writing. Written Communication, 29(3), 369-388. https://doi: 10.1177/0741088312451260

Hayes, J. R., & Flower, L. S. (1986). Writing research and the writer. American Psychologist, 41(10), 1106-1113.

Leijten, Van Waes, L., Schriver, K., & Hayes, J. R. (2014). Writing in the workplace: Constructing documents using multiple digital sources. Journal of Writing Research, 5(3), 285–337.

Lundstrom, K., Babcock, R. D., & McAlister, K. (2023). Collaboration in writing: Examining the role of experience in successful team writing projects. Journal of Writing Research, 15(1), 89-115.

National Research Council. (2012). Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century . Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

North, S. M. (1987). The making of knowledge in composition: Portrait of an emerging field. Boynton/Cook Publishers.

Murray, Donald M. (1980). Writing as process: How writing finds its own meaning. In Timothy R. Donovan & Ben McClelland (Eds.), Eight approaches to teaching composition (pp. 3–20). National Council of Teachers of English.

Murray, Donald M. (1972). “Teach Writing as a Process Not Product.” The Leaflet, 11-14

Perry, S. K. (1996).  When time stops: How creative writers experience entry into the flow state  (Order No. 9805789). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses A&I; ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (304288035).

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Rohman, D. G., & Wlecke, A. O. (1975). Pre-writing: The construction and application of models for concept formation in writing (Cooperative Research Project No. 2174). U.S. Office of Education, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

Sommers, N. (1980). Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers. College Composition and Communication, 31(4), 378-388. doi: 10.2307/356600

Brevity - Say More with Less

Brevity - Say More with Less

Clarity (in Speech and Writing)

Clarity (in Speech and Writing)

Coherence - How to Achieve Coherence in Writing

Coherence - How to Achieve Coherence in Writing


Flow - How to Create Flow in Writing

Inclusivity - Inclusive Language

Inclusivity - Inclusive Language


The Elements of Style - The DNA of Powerful Writing


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The Writing Process

The writing process is something that no two people do the same way. There is no "right way" or "wrong way" to write. It can be a very messy and fluid process, and the following is only a representation of commonly used steps. Remember you can come to the Writing Center for assistance at any stage in this process. 

Steps of the Writing Process

four stages of essay writing

Step 1: Prewriting

Think and Decide

  • Make sure you understand your assignment. See  Research Papers  or  Essays
  • Decide on a topic to write about. See   Prewriting Strategies  and  Narrow your Topic
  • Consider who will read your work. See  Audience and Voice
  • Brainstorm ideas about the subject and how those ideas can be organized. Make an outline. See  Outlines

Step 2: Research (if needed) 

  • List places where you can find information.
  • Do your research. See the many KU Libraries resources and helpful guides
  • Evaluate your sources. See  Evaluating Sources  and  Primary vs. Secondary Sources
  • Make an outline to help organize your research. See  Outlines

Step 3: Drafting

  • Write sentences and paragraphs even if they are not perfect.
  • Create a thesis statement with your main idea. See  Thesis Statements
  • Put the information you researched into your essay accurately without plagiarizing. Remember to include both in-text citations and a bibliographic page. See  Incorporating References and Paraphrase and Summary  
  • Read what you have written and judge if it says what you mean. Write some more.
  • Read it again.
  • Write some more.
  • Write until you have said everything you want to say about the topic.

Step 4: Revising

Make it Better

  • Read what you have written again. See  Revising Content  and  Revising Organization
  • Rearrange words, sentences, or paragraphs into a clear and logical order. 
  • Take out or add parts.
  • Do more research if you think you should.
  • Replace overused or unclear words.
  • Read your writing aloud to be sure it flows smoothly. Add transitions.

Step 5: Editing and Proofreading

Make it Correct

  • Be sure all sentences are complete. See  Editing and Proofreading
  • Correct spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.
  • Change words that are not used correctly or are unclear.
  • APA Formatting
  • Chicago Style Formatting
  • MLA Formatting  
  • Have someone else check your work.
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Resources for Writers: The Writing Process

Writing is a process that involves at least four distinct steps: prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing. It is known as a recursive process. While you are revising, you might have to return to the prewriting step to develop and expand your ideas.

  • Prewriting is anything you do before you write a draft of your document. It includes thinking, taking notes, talking to others, brainstorming, outlining, and gathering information (e.g., interviewing people, researching in the library, assessing data).
  • Although prewriting is the first activity you engage in, generating ideas is an activity that occurs throughout the writing process.
  • Drafting occurs when you put your ideas into sentences and paragraphs. Here you concentrate upon explaining and supporting your ideas fully. Here you also begin to connect your ideas. Regardless of how much thinking and planning you do, the process of putting your ideas in words changes them; often the very words you select evoke additional ideas or implications.
  • Don’t pay attention to such things as spelling at this stage.
  • This draft tends to be writer-centered: it is you telling yourself what you know and think about the topic.
  • Revision is the key to effective documents. Here you think more deeply about your readers’ needs and expectations. The document becomes reader-centered. How much support will each idea need to convince your readers? Which terms should be defined for these particular readers? Is your organization effective? Do readers need to know X before they can understand Y?
  • At this stage you also refine your prose, making each sentence as concise and accurate as possible. Make connections between ideas explicit and clear.
  • Check for such things as grammar, mechanics, and spelling. The last thing you should do before printing your document is to spell check it.
  • Don’t edit your writing until the other steps in the writing process are complete.

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The Writing Process

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The Writing Process

Whether writing a paper for school or a document for work, high-stakes writing requires careful thought and execution. The steps involved in this form of writing constitute a writing process. Even though everyone ultimately has his/her/their own process for getting ideas down on paper and turning those ideas into a finished product, there are identifiable steps involved in the process of writing that can be defined, developed, and discussed. These steps include:

  • Getting Started (from deciphering a writing task assignment to getting your initial thoughts on a topic on paper)
  • Drafting (from organizing your ideas, to strategies for refining drafts to dealing with writer’s block)
  • Organization and Structure
  • Gathering and Using Feedback (from responding to comments to using comments constructively)
  • Revising, Editing, Proofreading

Common Types of Writing Assignments (Southwestern University) Your best resource for questions about assignments is your professor. However, here are a few links that discuss some common types of assignments. Please remember that these are just guides and that each assignment is different.

If I Were a Carpenter: The Tools of the Writer (Roy Peter Clark, Senior Scholar at The Poynter Institute and director of the National Writers’ Workshop) Includes 20 of the best writing tips that Clark has learned from reporters, editors, authors, teachers, and coaches.

Stages of the Writing Process (MIT Writing and Communication Center) Writing is a process that involves at least four distinct steps: prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing. It is known as a recursive process. While you are revising, you might have to return to the prewriting step to develop and expand your ideas.

Starting The Writing Process (Purdue OWL) The highly regarded OWL (Online Writing Lab) at Purdue University offers a large collection of online guides on writing that are updated regularly and cover a myriad of topics. This is a link to their page on the writing process.

Strategies for Essay Writing (Harvard College Writing Center) The links below provide concise advice on some fundamental elements of academic writing.

  • How to Read an Assignment
  • How to Do a Close Reading
  • Essay Structure
  • Developing a Thesis
  • Topic Sentences and Signposting
  • Transitioning
  • How to Write a Comparative Analysis
  • Conclusions

Tips and Tools Handouts (UNC Chapel Hill, The Writing Center) A comprehensive collection of handouts that deal with various aspects of the writing process including: writing the paper; citation, style, and sentence level concerns; specific writing assignments or contexts; and writing for specific fields.


Before you begin writing, there are a few steps you can take to help you prepare yourself for the task at hand. The first step in any writing task is to understand what you need to write . In a classroom setting, this means understanding the assignment. In a professional setting, this means studying the publication: its audience, writer’s guidelines, and editorial reviewers. And in a business setting, it means identifying and understanding the needs of your customers.

Once you have an idea of what you need to write and why, you can begin brainstorming and generating ideas on what you want to write. Below are resources on prewriting, also known as invention, in the writing process.

Brainstorming Strategies for Student Writing (Cardinal Stritch University) Posted on YouTube: Oct. 20 2013 | length: 10:42 This tutorial provides “5 Brainstorming Methods for Writing Better College Papers.”

Developing an Outline (Purdue OWL) This guide demonstrates how to develop an outline for a first draft.

Getting Started (Pace University, The Writing Center) (Podcast) Posted on iTunes U: May 6 2009 | length: 1:45 / Access: iTunes U “Not sure how to begin your paper? Stuck on a topic? Not sure where to begin? Listen to this short podcast about how to get yourself started quickly and easily!” “Getting Started” is item 19 on the list of resources.

How Do I Make Sure I Understand an Assignment? (University of Michigan) “While some writing assignments are straightforward, others may need careful deciphering to make sure you are following the guidelines. Looking carefully at the instructions provided for any writing assignment to be certain that you understand the guidelines not only prevents missteps but can also help you develop strategies for conquering the task ahead.”

Introduction to Prewriting (Purdue OWL) This guide introduces the writer to strategies and techniques for developing an idea for a writing assignment through a series of questions.

Prewriting Questions (Purdue OWL) “This section explains the prewriting (invention) stage of the composing process. It includes processes, strategies, and questions to help you begin to write..”

  • More Prewriting Questions

Starting the Writing Process (Purdue OWL) This guide addresses how to begin thinking about a writing project.

The Perils of Writer’s Block: A Poem (Pace University, The Writing Center) (Podcast) Posted on iTunes U: April 10 2009 | length: :40 / Access: iTunes U “We all hate writer’s block and this fun poem will give you an opportunity to rant and rave with our very own consultants!” “The Perils of Writer’s Block” is item 20 on the list of resources.

Understanding an Assignment (MIT Writing and Communication Center) When you get a writing task, the first step is to make sure you understand what you are being asked to do. This guide explains how to understand a writing assignment.

Understanding Assignments (UNC Chapel Hill, The Writing Center) “The first step in any successful college writing venture is reading the assignment. While this sounds like a simple task, it can be a tough one. This handout will help you unravel your assignment and begin to craft an effective response. Much of the following advice will involve translating typical assignment terms and practices into meaningful clues to the type of writing your instructor expects.”

Understanding Writing Assignments (Purdue OWL) “This resource describes some steps you can take to better understand the requirements of your writing assignments. This resource works for either in-class, teacher-led discussion or for personal use.”

Write a Great Essay Using The Topoi (Associate Professor of Writing Mark Marino, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences) Posted on YouTube: Oct. 27, 2008 | length: 10:22 This video demonstrates how to brainstorm a topic using the prewriting strategy called “Topoi.”

Writer’s Block (Purdue OWL) This guide discusses the causes and provides ideas and suggestions for dealing with writer’s block.

  • More Writer’s Block Strategies

Writing Anxiety (UNC Chapel Hill, The Writing Center) “This handout discusses the situational nature of writer’s block and other writing anxiety and suggests things you can try to feel more confident and optimistic about yourself as a writer.”


Prior to writing and during the drafting stage, you should be thinking about the central claim – also known as the thesis or argument – of your paper. Developing a single statement that clearly articulates the main argument of your paper is a key component to writing a strong paper. As you delve further into research and exploration, your argument may change slightly or drastically; thus, you should continually reread and revise your central claim so that it provides a true representation of your paper. Many people like to think of a central claim as a roadmap of the paper, as it offers your readers a guide for where the paper is headed. Usually a central claim is written at the end of an introduction, though it may be present anywhere in your paper.

Argument (UNC Chapel Hill, The Writing Center) “This handout will define what an argument is and explain why you need one in most of your academic essays.”

Developing a Thesis (Harvard College Writing Center) “A good thesis has two parts. It should tell what you plan to argue, and it should “telegraph” how you plan to argue—that is, what particular support for your claim is going where in your essay.” This resource provides steps for writing a thesis statement along with caveats and examples.

Developing a Thesis Statement (Univ. of Wisconsin – Madison, The Writing Center) Offers a step-by-step approach to developing a thesis statement, from defining a topic to drafting a statement and finalizing it.

How to Write a Thesis Statement (Indiana University Writing Tutorial Services) Covers what a thesis statement is, why your paper needs one, and how to write/assess a thesis statement based on the following:

  • How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is Assigned
  • How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is not Assigned
  • How to Tell a Strong Thesis Statement from a Weak One

The Thesis Statement: A Roadmap for Your Essay (Modesto Junior College) A PowerPoint presentation (approximately 20 slides) that uses many examples to help you understand what a thesis statement looks like and where you might add it to your paper.

Now you’re ready to put your ideas together and produce a first draft. This early and rough draft will lead you to your second, third, and fourth drafts as you continue to conduct more research and refine your ideas.

Pre-writing Activities and Drafting Your Essay (Purdue OWL) “This handout covers major topics relating to writing about fiction. This covers prewriting, close reading, thesis development, drafting and common pitfalls to avoid.”

Composing Processes: Drafting, Designing and Revising (Writing@CSU) “These guides provide advice on composing processes such as developing a thesis statement, creating a first draft, designing documents, revising, editing, proofreading, and carrying out peer review. Use these guides to help yourself write an effective document.”

The Structure of an Essay Draft (Univ. of Arizona) Tips for drafting your introduction, body, and conclusion. (Handout based on Hacker’s A Writer’s Reference )


Sometimes writers have difficulties beginning and ending their papers. However, many effective introductions share similar elements – a hook, context, your argument, etc. – depending on the type of paper being composed. Likewise, many introductions and conclusions attempt to convey the “so what” factor, or why your reader should care about the subject. If you get stuck when writing the introduction, you might try moving onto your body paragraphs and then writing the introduction after the rest of your draft is complete. The websites listed below also provide a number of useful strategies and tips.

Conclusions (UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center) “This handout will explain the functions of conclusions, offer strategies for writing effective ones, help you evaluate conclusions you’ve drafted, and suggest approaches to avoid.”

Conclusion Strategies (MIT Writing and Communication Center; Click here for a full list of their online resources for writers) Examples of strategies to use in writing an introduction for a college essay.

Ending the Essay: Conclusions (Harvard College Writing Center) Offers strategies on how to provide readers with closure at the end of your essay or leave them thinking critically about the larger implications. It also provides some suggestions on ways not to end an essay.

Introductions (UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center) “This handout will explain the functions of introductions, offer strategies for writing effective ones, help you check your drafted introductions and provide you with examples of introductions to be avoided.”

Introductions, Body Paragraphs, and Conclusions for an Argument Paper (Purdue OWL) This guide addresses how to develop the key parts of a paper: the introduction, the body and the conclusion. There is a similar guide for writing exploratory papers.

Introductions, Body Paragraphs, and Conclusions for Exploratory Papers (Purdue OWL) This guide addresses how to develop the key parts of a paper: the introduction, the body and the conclusion. There is a similar guide for writing argument papers.

Introduction Strategies (MIT Online Writing and Communication Center; Click here for a full list of their Writing and Communication Center Resources) Examples of strategies to use in writing an introduction for a college essay.

Writing Introductions (Franklin and Marshall College Writing Center) A handout that breaks the introductory paragraph into manageable units – the opening sentence, middle sentences, and thesis statement. It also includes a sample effective introductory paragraph and ineffective introductory paragraph.

Writing Strong Conclusions (Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania, Kathleen Jones White Writing Center) Presents “five basic methods for concluding your paper in a way that will leave your reader intrigued and impressed”: anecdote, basic summary, startling summary, famous ideas, and hinting at related issues.


The organization of your paper should always be intentional. Whether you choose to structure your ideas chronologically, thematically, or in some other way, you should be thinking about the most effective way to present your argument to readers. You should also be able to clearly see how ideas are interwoven. Within each individual paragraph and between multiple paragraphs, you should seamlessly transition between concepts so your readers never lose track of your thought process.

Essay Structure (Harvard College Writing Center) This source reviews the logic behind essay writing explaining how “successfully structuring an essay means attending to a reader’s logic.”

On Paragraphs  (Purdue OWL) “Learning to write good paragraphs will help you as a writer stay on track during your drafting and revision stages.”

Organizing an Exploratory Essay (Purdue OWL) “This resource will help you with exploratory/inquiry essay assignments.”

Organizing Your Analysis (Purdue OWL) “This resource covers how to write a rhetorical analysis essay of primarily visual texts with a focus on demonstrating the author’s understanding of the rhetorical situation and design principles.”

Organizing Your Argument (Purdue OWL) Explains the Toulmin Method of logic/argumentation and offers an example.

Transitions (The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) “This handout will introduce you to some useful transitional expressions and help you employ them effectively.”

Strategies for Organizing as You Write (Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas; Click here for a full list of their handouts) (PDF) Describes different ways to organize your writing including creating headings, color coding, and outlining.


Because writing is meant to be read, one of the best ways to improve your writing is to have others read your work. In academic circles, this is called peer review. In business, it is just called review. Your instructor might also give you feedback with the opportunity to revise. Gathering this feedback and using it constructively is a vital step in producing a quality piece of writing.

Challenges of Good Writing Part 3: Asking for Feedback (Arizona State University at iTunes U–ASU Challenges of Good Writing – Asking for Feedback) Posted on iTunes U: March 11, 2009 | length: 13:45 Dr. Jeanne Simpson, Director of the ASU Writing Centers, interviews professors from a variety of disciplines regarding exemplary writing in their fields These professors share their thoughts, challenges, and frustrations about the writing process. “Challenges of Good Writing” is item 8 on the list of resources in iTunes.

Getting Feedback (UNC Chapel Hill, Writing Center) “Sometimes you’d like feedback from someone else about your writing, but you may not be sure how to get it. This handout describes when, where, how and from whom you might receive effective responses as you develop as a writer.”

Peer Reviewing (University of Maryland Global Campus) From “The Writing Process” in the Online Guide to Writing and Research This page presents a series of checklists to direct the person reviewing your writing to particular areas and provide more focused feedback.


When you submit a paper to a teacher for a grade, a journal for possible publication, or a customer or colleague in a business setting, you want your writing to be the best it can be in presenting your ideas. If your paper is riddled with pesky typos, misspelled words, or grammatical and punctuation errors, the reader will only focus on the errors. You need to edit and proofread your work closely so your reader focuses on the quality of your ideas.

Editing and Proofreading (UNC Chapel Hill, Writing Center) A handout on the differences between editing and proofreading with tips and strategies for revising and editing your own writing.

Proofreading Your Paper (Purdue OWL) Strategies for reviewing your finished writing to catch grammar and punctuation errors.

Questions to Ask Yourself as you Revise Your Essay (Writing@CSU) Questions to guide the essay revision process.

Reverse Outlining: An Exercise for Taking Notes and Revising Your Work (Purdue OWL) This guide provides a specific strategy of revising your paper by making an outline of a paper after it has been written to see what works and what is missing.

Revisions (Pace University, Writing Center) (Podcast) Posted on iTunes U: April 10 2009 | length: 2:04 “This short podcast will show you effective ways to look at your finished paper and improve it on your own. Revision is item 17 on the list of resources in iTunes.”

Strategies for Revision (Duke University; posted by USF Writing Commons) Posted on YouTube: June 19 2014 length: 8:22 This video clip provides specific strategies and helpful guidance on the best ways to revise an essay.


Multimodal writing is the practice of using different modalities (audio, visual, spatial, and more) to help create meaning. Multimodality is common in academic and workplace writing. Use the resource below to help guide you on how to incorporate multimodality in your writing.

Digital Writing 101 (Amy Goodloe) A blog created by former University of Colorado-Boulder professor comprised of a variety of how-to guides for digital projects, including video, digital images, and digital storytelling, and more. It also contains sample student projects that use various media.


You may not always have time to go through the steps writing a well-developed essay usually requires. This section provides background information and strategies you can use for completing the GRE Analytical Writing section or other timed essay tests.

For the GRE:

Overview of the GRE Analytical Writing Measure (ETS) An introduction to the Analytical Writing portion of the GRE that includes tips on how to prepare, information on scoring, and sample tasks. The GRE Analytical Writing prompts will ask you to analyze an issue and analyze an argument . In order to prepare for the test, you may want to review the topic pool for issue tasks and topic pool for argument tasks that have been published by the GRE.

For any timed essay:

Timed Essay/Essay Exam (Duke University, Writing Studio) “At some point during your college career, you will likely encounter a timed essay. Known collectively as timed essays, essay exams, or in-class essays, these essays require you to demonstrate disciplinary knowledge by producing a writing sample within a limited time period. Timed essays are popular because they allow teachers to grade students holistically in a very brief amount of time. This handout offers a few ways to prepare for timed essays and provides advice for how to answer a timed essay question effectively.”

Writing Essays for Exams (Purdue OWL) “While most OWL resources recommend a longer writing process (start early, revise often, conduct thorough research, etc.), sometimes you just have to write quickly in test situations. However, these exam essays can be no less important pieces of writing than research papers because they can influence final grades for courses, and/or they can mean the difference between getting into an academic program (GED, SAT, GRE). To that end, this resource will help you prepare and write essays for exams.”

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The 4 Steps in the Writing Process

four stages of essay writing

~ There Is No Magic Pencil ~

When I was in school, the boy who sat next to me said he believed my pencil was magic. From the moment my pencil hit the paper, the words would flow. Meanwhile, he would stare at the page for what seemed like eternity before finally writing his own piece.

He may have thought my pencil was magic, but in retrospect, he was the more advanced writer. The time he spent staring while I hastily scrawled, erased, and rewrote, was time he spent reflecting on the story he wanted to tell. He didn’t make it up as he went along — he carefully crafted it in his mind before ever committing a single word to print. The result? His erasers remained intact and my work rambled, often off topic.


A great essay, blog post, novel, or even a tweet doesn’t just happen . There is no magic pencil. Like any process, writing has multiple steps: Prewriting, Drafting, Revising, and Editing. It takes practice, and every time you do it, it starts with an idea.

Prewriting, as the name implies, happens BEFORE you write and it’s the step I skipped in school. Prewriting is when brainstorming and outlining happens.

All writers need to brainstorm, talk to others, and take inspiration from the world around them. Whether it be music, a political statement, a photograph, a childhood story or memory, even a blade of grass, the world around us can provide the spark needed to write.  Brainstorming allows writers to think and observe before putting pen to page.

Once writers find that inspiration, the next step is to create an outline. Outlines are important for reasons beyond the fact that every English teacher says so — outlines act as a roadmap for what you are about to write.

Drafting is the “first pass” or “brain dump” of everything developed during prewriting. Don’t worry about spelling and grammar while in this drafting stage, but instead focus on turning ideas into sentences and paragraphs. The outline created in the prewriting stage, if followed, can help create a clear path for the writing.  This stage might take only a few minutes or several hours, but it’s important to get as much written as possible in this initial draft.

The revision stage is often incorrectly used synonymously with editing. Large changes happen in this stage. Entire sections may be added or deleted, the focus of the piece may change, and supporting evidence may be elaborated on or even added or removed completely. In the simplest of implementations, it’s like when you reread a text message right before you send it, and then quickly delete half of it.

Although editing is involved, revising includes much more than just fixing the spelling mistakes. This stage is often a good opportunity for writers to get a second opinion on their work.  Having someone else look at your work allows you to see if you’re taken a reader’s needs into consideration with your piece. Does it make sense to him? Does it answer her questions? Perhaps he has a suggestion for a more compelling introduction.

Once all the heavy lifting is done in the revision stage, and the piece has the foundation to make it structurally sound, it’s time to edit. Word by word, sentence by sentence, spelling and grammar should be reviewed. Spellcheck doesn’t catch everything (their/there/they’re) so it’s important to know your own weaknesses with editing. It takes practice to become a good editor, and it’s often very difficult to edit your own work. It’s ok to seek out a grammar guardian to assist you in the editing process. Some writers even keep a list of their most troublesome words or phrases.


It’s not that simple.  Most people don’t dart through all four steps once quickly and then they are done. For large, academic pieces, novels, and reports, a writer may cycle through all the steps more than once. If more people review the work, more ideas are shared and the piece may undergo more than one major revision.

First time writers, or those less comfortable with it, may require additional time to complete their work. But one thing is certain, the more time that is spent up front, in the prewriting and drafting stages, the easier revisions and editing become.

I’ve retired my not-so-magical pencil, preferring digital these days, and I still love to write. But looking back at my second-grade short story, I’m glad I’ve refined my process…and I’m glad I have a team of awesome writers to redline my work and brainstorm ideas.


Step 1 – Prewriting: What is Prewriting and How Is It Done?

Step 2 – Drafting: 5 Tips for Writing a First Draft

Step 3 – Revisions: 4 Tips for Revising Your Writing

Step 4 – Editing: A Checklist to Add Polish

Extended Response Rubric: What You Need to Know to Pass the Essay

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Essay Writing: A complete guide for students and teachers

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Essay writing is an essential skill for every student. Whether writing a particular academic essay (such as persuasive, narrative, descriptive, or expository) or a timed exam essay, the key to getting good at writing is to write. Creating opportunities for our students to engage in extended writing activities will go a long way to helping them improve their skills as scribes.

But, putting the hours in alone will not be enough to attain the highest levels in essay writing. Practice must be meaningful. Once students have a broad overview of how to structure the various types of essays, they are ready to narrow in on the minor details that will enable them to fine-tune their work as a lean vehicle of their thoughts and ideas.

Visual Writing

In this article, we will drill down to some aspects that will assist students in taking their essay writing skills up a notch. Many ideas and activities can be integrated into broader lesson plans based on essay writing. Often, though, they will work effectively in isolation – just as athletes isolate physical movements to drill that are relevant to their sport. When these movements become second nature, they can be repeated naturally in the context of the game or in our case, the writing of the essay.


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Planning an essay

essay writing | how to prepare for an essay | Essay Writing: A complete guide for students and teachers |

The Boys Scouts’ motto is famously ‘Be Prepared’. It’s a solid motto that can be applied to most aspects of life; essay writing is no different. Given the purpose of an essay is generally to present a logical and reasoned argument, investing time in organising arguments, ideas, and structure would seem to be time well spent.

Given that essays can take a wide range of forms and that we all have our own individual approaches to writing, it stands to reason that there will be no single best approach to the planning stage of essay writing. That said, there are several helpful hints and techniques we can share with our students to help them wrestle their ideas into a writable form. Let’s take a look at a few of the best of these:


Whether students are tackling an assignment that you have set for them in class or responding to an essay prompt in an exam situation, they should get into the habit of analyzing the nature of the task. To do this, they should unravel the question’s meaning or prompt. Students can practice this in class by responding to various essay titles, questions, and prompts, thereby gaining valuable experience breaking these down.

Have students work in groups to underline and dissect the keywords and phrases and discuss what exactly is being asked of them in the task. Are they being asked to discuss, describe, persuade, or explain? Understanding the exact nature of the task is crucial before going any further in the planning process, never mind the writing process .


Once students have understood what the essay task asks them, they should consider what they know about the topic and, often, how they feel about it. When teaching essay writing, we so often emphasize that it is about expressing our opinions on things, but for our younger students what they think about something isn’t always obvious, even to themselves.

Brainstorming and mind-mapping what they know about a topic offers them an opportunity to uncover not just what they already know about a topic, but also gives them a chance to reveal to themselves what they think about the topic. This will help guide them in structuring their research and, later, the essay they will write . When writing an essay in an exam context, this may be the only ‘research’ the student can undertake before the writing, so practicing this will be even more important.


The previous step above should reveal to students the general direction their research will take. With the ubiquitousness of the internet, gone are the days of students relying on a single well-thumbed encyclopaedia from the school library as their sole authoritative source in their essay. If anything, the real problem for our students today is narrowing down their sources to a manageable number. Students should use the information from the previous step to help here. At this stage, it is important that they:

●      Ensure the research material is directly relevant to the essay task

●      Record in detail the sources of the information that they will use in their essay

●      Engage with the material personally by asking questions and challenging their own biases

●      Identify the key points that will be made in their essay

●      Group ideas, counterarguments, and opinions together

●      Identify the overarching argument they will make in their own essay.

Once these stages have been completed the student is ready to organise their points into a logical order.


There are a number of ways for students to organize their points in preparation for writing. They can use graphic organizers , post-it notes, or any number of available writing apps. The important thing for them to consider here is that their points should follow a logical progression. This progression of their argument will be expressed in the form of body paragraphs that will inform the structure of their finished essay.

The number of paragraphs contained in an essay will depend on a number of factors such as word limits, time limits, the complexity of the question etc. Regardless of the essay’s length, students should ensure their essay follows the Rule of Three in that every essay they write contains an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Generally speaking, essay paragraphs will focus on one main idea that is usually expressed in a topic sentence that is followed by a series of supporting sentences that bolster that main idea. The first and final sentences are of the most significance here with the first sentence of a paragraph making the point to the reader and the final sentence of the paragraph making the overall relevance to the essay’s argument crystal clear. 

Though students will most likely be familiar with the broad generic structure of essays, it is worth investing time to ensure they have a clear conception of how each part of the essay works, that is, of the exact nature of the task it performs. Let’s review:

Common Essay Structure

Introduction: Provides the reader with context for the essay. It states the broad argument that the essay will make and informs the reader of the writer’s general perspective and approach to the question.

Body Paragraphs: These are the ‘meat’ of the essay and lay out the argument stated in the introduction point by point with supporting evidence.

Conclusion: Usually, the conclusion will restate the central argument while summarising the essay’s main supporting reasons before linking everything back to the original question.


essay writing | 1 How to write paragraphs | Essay Writing: A complete guide for students and teachers |

●      Each paragraph should focus on a single main idea

●      Paragraphs should follow a logical sequence; students should group similar ideas together to avoid incoherence

●      Paragraphs should be denoted consistently; students should choose either to indent or skip a line

●      Transition words and phrases such as alternatively , consequently , in contrast should be used to give flow and provide a bridge between paragraphs.


essay writing | essay editing tips | Essay Writing: A complete guide for students and teachers |

Students shouldn’t expect their essays to emerge from the writing process perfectly formed. Except in exam situations and the like, thorough editing is an essential aspect in the writing process. 

Often, students struggle with this aspect of the process the most. After spending hours of effort on planning, research, and writing the first draft, students can be reluctant to go back over the same terrain they have so recently travelled. It is important at this point to give them some helpful guidelines to help them to know what to look out for. The following tips will provide just such help: 

One Piece at a Time: There is a lot to look out for in the editing process and often students overlook aspects as they try to juggle too many balls during the process. One effective strategy to combat this is for students to perform a number of rounds of editing with each focusing on a different aspect. For example, the first round could focus on content, the second round on looking out for word repetition (use a thesaurus to help here), with the third attending to spelling and grammar.

Sum It Up: When reviewing the paragraphs they have written, a good starting point is for students to read each paragraph and attempt to sum up its main point in a single line. If this is not possible, their readers will most likely have difficulty following their train of thought too and the paragraph needs to be overhauled.

Let It Breathe: When possible, encourage students to allow some time for their essay to ‘breathe’ before returning to it for editing purposes. This may require some skilful time management on the part of the student, for example, a student rush-writing the night before the deadline does not lend itself to effective editing. Fresh eyes are one of the sharpest tools in the writer’s toolbox.

Read It Aloud: This time-tested editing method is a great way for students to identify mistakes and typos in their work. We tend to read things more slowly when reading aloud giving us the time to spot errors. Also, when we read silently our minds can often fill in the gaps or gloss over the mistakes that will become apparent when we read out loud.

Phone a Friend: Peer editing is another great way to identify errors that our brains may miss when reading our own work. Encourage students to partner up for a little ‘you scratch my back, I scratch yours’.

Use Tech Tools: We need to ensure our students have the mental tools to edit their own work and for this they will need a good grasp of English grammar and punctuation. However, there are also a wealth of tech tools such as spellcheck and grammar checks that can offer a great once-over option to catch anything students may have missed in earlier editing rounds.

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Putting the Jewels on Display: While some struggle to edit, others struggle to let go. There comes a point when it is time for students to release their work to the reader. They must learn to relinquish control after the creation is complete. This will be much easier to achieve if the student feels that they have done everything in their control to ensure their essay is representative of the best of their abilities and if they have followed the advice here, they should be confident they have done so.


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What are the four stages of the writing process?

Joan Sedita, founder of Keys to Literacy, talks about the four main stages of writing: thinking, planning, writing, and revising and the fact that the more time and effort students put into the first two stages and the last stage, the better their writing will be.

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4.4 Stages in assignment writing

Note down in your Learning Journal what you think the stages are that you have to go through in producing an assignment, from beginning to end.

You may well have thought of some, if not all, of the following stages:


reflecting on the feedback.

Let's break down these stages further.


This stage consists of:

estimating the time available for the task

identifying what the question is asking of you

taking note of the guidance you have been given

researching or carrying out an experiment or collecting data

making notes

thinking over your ideas.

Planning your assignment involves:

working out an appropriate and logical structure

identifying what is relevant and what is not

taking account of the word limit

refining your ideas

selecting appropriate evidence or quotations.

This stage comprises a single task:

writing the assignment, perhaps with one or more early drafts.

Polishing your assignment means:

reviewing what you have written and making changes

checking your spelling and grammar

making sure your references are correct

checking the word count.

This is more than just sending off your assignment. Letting go includes:

deciding when the assignment is finished

submitting the assignment

conducting a self-review.

Reflecting on tutor feedback

And finally:

comparing your self-review with your grade and tutor comments.

As you can see, the actual writing of the assignment is only one part of the process.


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How to approach essay writing


What approaches to teaching essay writing are there and what is useful to know when planning a writing lesson?

Process  and  product  approaches are two of the most well-known, but more recently the  genre  approach has also gained credence. The  product  approach focuses on linguistic knowledge such as vocabulary, syntax and cohesive devices (Badger & White 2000). In other words, ‘ what ’ goes into an essay. The  process  approach is more concerned with facilitating the stages a writer must go through (Badger & White 2000). This could be referred to as the ‘ how’  of essay writing. The third approach –  genre –  is similar to the  product  approach but also incorporates social aspects such as the purpose of writing or the ‘ why ’.

As these approaches have their own distinct features there is an argument for the synthesis of all three (Badger & White 2000). Raising awareness of the ‘ what ’,   ‘ how ’ and ‘ why ’   of essay writing are all useful in developing ability and confidence in tackling what is a challenging yet vital skill for second language learners.

Product: What goes into an essay?

Let’s imagine how these three approaches might look in terms of an essay title, for example,  ‘Which has greater influence on a person’s personality: nature or nurture?’.  A typical product approach has four stages: familiarization, controlled writing, guided writing and free writing. Familiarization might involve categorizing words or phrases or noticing linguistic features of a model text. At the controlled stage, learners can attempt to produce their own sentences using some of the language highlighted. A guided task could involve ordering ideas or producing one of the arguments in groups. The idea is that the learners are then sufficiently equipped with enough knowledge of the language features to attempt the free writing stage.

Process: How do you write an essay?

Exposure to the typical linguistic features of an essay could be helpful, particularly to learners who lack a range of vocabulary or awareness of the features of a particular essay type (in this case a compare and contrast essay). But what about the process of writing the essay? A typical process approach consists of four stages: pre-writing, drafting, revising and editing (Badger & White 2000). Learners can begin by brainstorming ideas for and against nature or nurture. They can then create a plan using their ideas, which would be used as the basis for producing a first draft. Learners can work in pairs or groups to improve the draft which they then edit. It is a non-linear approach so that learners can return to any stage if necessary (Hyland 2003).

Genre: What is the purpose of writing an essay?

It is the purpose of the essay that is central to the genre approach. When arguing nature over nurture for example, the writer may wish to persuade their audience that nature has far more influence on personality. Learners are exposed to model compare and contrast essays and analyse them for their linguistic features, such as language that is used to persuade. Learners might perform a task using the phrases in order to become familiar with this particular genre. They can be encouraged to evaluate who the writer is trying to persuade and why. It imitates the product approach by using a model text but also raises awareness of the social purpose of writing (Badger & White 2000). Therefore, when approaching an essay type such as discursive, opinion, advantages v disadvantages or cause and effect, learners should know the purpose of what they are writing and reflect on who their audience is.

Classroom ideas

Is it possible to combine these three approaches in the classroom? Do they complement each other? Which input is needed is perhaps better judged by the teacher. Each group of learners has different needs, so the different approaches are available to be drawn upon if and when required. Do your learners need more knowledge about the language, the context or do they need more practice of the skills required to become successful essay writers? If your learners are not used to planning before they write, then they might find elements of brainstorming and planning activities useful, or if they seem unaware of how texts actually work as communication, then a discussion about the purpose of writing could be incorporated. If further exposure to language or grammar is required, then noticing the features of a model text may prove more worthwhile.

1.  An argumentative essay: A process approach

Novice writers often have difficulty selecting and generating ideas for arguments to use in their essay writing (Couzjin, M. & Rilaarsdam, G. 2005). An argumentative statement such as ‘ Do   cats or dogs make better pets? Why?’  can be presented to learners to hone this skill. Choose a topic that doesn’t require any complex conceptual understanding so that they can focus solely on the experience of the process of preparing to write the essay.

Begin by asking for a show of hands so you can arrange learners into groups of those who agree and those who disagree with the statement. Facilitate a brainstorming activity whereby learners write reasons for their chosen argument on sticky notes. The groups can present their arguments to the class. Display the sticky notes and encourage learners to select the argument they believe is the most convincing. In smaller groups learners can practise discussing the sub-arguments of this main argument. Elicit an example of a main argument, e.g. ‘C ats are cleaner than dogs. ’ and a sub argument, ‘ They spend about 50% of their time grooming themselves. ’, then elicit a counter argument ‘ However, dogs can be easily hosed down after a walk. ’

Each group can prepare and present their sub arguments and counter arguments and the class can take notes in a table. Learners can select the most convincing arguments and evaluate why they chose them. This activity provides an opportunity to practise ‘ how ’ to write an essay and the learners can use their notes to prepare a first draft. They can then use the same process to attempt more challenging essay titles depending on their level and needs.

2. An opinion essay: A genre approach

Learners sometimes lack enthusiasm for writing because they are unclear what the purpose of writing is. Everything we write has a communicative purpose and raising awareness of this can lead to increasing confidence and enjoyment of writing. There are various ways of highlighting genre: matching essay titles or extracts of model texts and discussing the different features in style, language and syntax as well as reflecting on the different purposes of each genre. For example, the title ‘ There are more challenges than risks than benefits to new technology .’ is an opinion essay written to persuade and warn an audience of the dangers posed by modern technology rather than provide an unbiased or balanced view.

Another way to instill the concept of writing with a clear purpose, which also aids low level learners with greater fluency and reduces anxiety associated with writing, is by using learning logs. Learning logs are diaries where students write their reflections on what they are learning, how they are studying and any challenges they face. Linda Blanton recommends these are written at home on a weekly basis, the teacher is the sole audience and the topic is their writing class. This activity creates a purpose and highlights a specific audience to the writers (Blanton 1987). The teacher can limit the task to a paragraph or a page depending on the level of the learners. Blanton does not recommend correction of the writing but rather adding a comment either congratulating them on their progress or encouraging them with challenges they are facing. She also writes a weekly log to the whole class with observations regarding their writing and congratulating them on their achievements (Blanton 1987). This activity can also be very revealing for the teacher and any discoveries can be used to inform their teaching practice.

3. A compare and contrast essay: A product approach

If your learners need more help improving their linguistic writing ability, you can take a  product  approach focusing on topic related vocabulary, phrases relating to the specific genre as well as academic vocabulary. Using the example of a compare and contrast essay such as  ‘Which is more important, emotional intelligence or intellectual intelligence?’  you can use extracts from model texts and analyse them for their specific features. Encourage learners to notice generic phrases that are characteristic of that genre, for example,  on the contrary, similarly  and discuss changes in meaning. They can practise topic and academic vocabulary using matching exercises that test they have understood the meaning and gap fills that check they can use the language in context.

Even after a comprehensive analysis, discussion and practice of the language features, when it comes to the freer writing task learners may abandon this new found linguistic knowledge in favour of more familiar vocabulary. So how can we ensure they have the ability and confidence to use what they have learnt effectively?

Keeping a record of the new language is key and there are various methods you can employ.  Quizlet  is an online learning tool that can be used in class by the learners themselves if they have internet access and laptops, or if you want to encourage more autonomy you could set it as a homework task. You can also prepare a set of flashcards and share this with your class. They can practise matching definitions and testing themselves online and print sets of flashcards. You can also set your learners the challenge of selecting some of the new language to incorporate into their free writing essay task. Recording and further practice of the new language will enable your learners to assimilate it and make it more accessible when producing the final essay.

The three approaches discussed offer distinct features and an assortment of all three is at the teacher’s disposal depending on the learners’ needs and wants. The use of learning logs as well as a needs analysis can inform the teacher at which point during the course each approach could be best employed to unleash their learners’ full writing potential.


Badger, R. & White, G. 2000  A process genre approach to teaching writing . ELT Journal 54/2, p.153-160. Oxford University Press.

Blanton, L. 1987  Reshaping ESL students’ perceptions of writing . ELT Journal Volume 41/2, p. 112-118. Oxford University Press

Couzjin, M. & Rilaarsdam, G. 2005  Learning to Read and Write Argumentative Text by Observation of Peer Learners . Effective Learning and Teaching of Writing: A Handbook of Writing in Education. Second Edition. Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Hyland, K. 2003  Second Language Writing . Chapter 1. Cambridge University Press.

About the author

four stages of essay writing

Kerry Boakes is a CELTA and DELTA qualified English Language teacher currently working for the British Council in Oman. Before becoming a teacher she worked for NGOs in a range of educational and campaign roles. She has experience of teaching in Kenya, South Korea and Japan and has taught academic English at Sheffield International College and Sheffield University. She has also worked as a teacher trainer in refugee camps on the Thai Burmese border and managed a literacy project in partnership with Save the Children.

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Academic Essay Writing Made Simple: 4 types and tips

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The pen is mightier than the sword, they say, and nowhere is this more evident than in academia. From the quick scribbles of eager students to the inquisitive thoughts of renowned scholars, academic essays depict the power of the written word. These well-crafted writings propel ideas forward and expand the existing boundaries of human intellect.

What is an Academic Essay

An academic essay is a nonfictional piece of writing that analyzes and evaluates an argument around a specific topic or research question. It serves as a medium to share the author’s views and is also used by institutions to assess the critical thinking, research skills, and writing abilities of a students and researchers.  

Importance of Academic Essays

4 main types of academic essays.

While academic essays may vary in length, style, and purpose, they generally fall into four main categories. Despite their differences, these essay types share a common goal: to convey information, insights, and perspectives effectively.

1. Expository Essay

2. Descriptive Essay

3. Narrative Essay

4. Argumentative Essay

Expository and persuasive essays mainly deal with facts to explain ideas clearly. Narrative and descriptive essays are informal and have a creative edge. Despite their differences, these essay types share a common goal ― to convey information, insights, and perspectives effectively.

Expository Essays: Illuminating ideas

An expository essay is a type of academic writing that explains, illustrates, or clarifies a particular subject or idea. Its primary purpose is to inform the reader by presenting a comprehensive and objective analysis of a topic.

By breaking down complex topics into digestible pieces and providing relevant examples and explanations, expository essays allow writers to share their knowledge.

What are the Key Features of an Expository Essay

four stages of essay writing

Provides factual information without bias

four stages of essay writing

Presents multiple viewpoints while maintaining objectivity

four stages of essay writing

Uses direct and concise language to ensure clarity for the reader

four stages of essay writing

Composed of a logical structure with an introduction, body paragraphs and a conclusion

When is an expository essay written.

1. For academic assignments to evaluate the understanding of research skills.

2. As instructional content to provide step-by-step guidance for tasks or problem-solving.

3. In journalism for objective reporting in news or investigative pieces.

4. As a form of communication in the professional field to convey factual information in business or healthcare.

How to Write an Expository Essay

Expository essays are typically structured in a logical and organized manner.

1. Topic Selection and Research

  • Choose a topic that can be explored objectively
  • Gather relevant facts and information from credible sources
  • Develop a clear thesis statement

2. Outline and Structure

  • Create an outline with an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion
  • Introduce the topic and state the thesis in the introduction
  • Dedicate each body paragraph to a specific point supporting the thesis
  • Use transitions to maintain a logical flow

3. Objective and Informative Writing

  • Maintain an impartial and informative tone
  • Avoid personal opinions or biases
  • Support points with factual evidence, examples, and explanations

4. Conclusion

  • Summarize the key points
  • Reinforce the significance of the thesis

Descriptive Essays: Painting with words

Descriptive essays transport readers into vivid scenes, allowing them to experience the world through the writer ‘s lens. These essays use rich sensory details, metaphors, and figurative language to create a vivid and immersive experience . Its primary purpose is to engage readers’ senses and imagination.

It allows writers to demonstrate their ability to observe and describe subjects with precision and creativity.

What are the Key Features of Descriptive Essay

four stages of essay writing

Employs figurative language and imagery to paint a vivid picture for the reader

four stages of essay writing

Demonstrates creativity and expressiveness in narration

four stages of essay writing

Includes close attention to detail, engaging the reader’s senses

four stages of essay writing

Engages the reader’s imagination and emotions through immersive storytelling using analogies, metaphors, similes, etc.

When is a descriptive essay written.

1. Personal narratives or memoirs that describe significant events, people, or places.

2. Travel writing to capture the essence of a destination or experience.

3. Character sketches in fiction writing to introduce and describe characters.

4. Poetry or literary analyses to explore the use of descriptive language and imagery.

How to Write a Descriptive Essay

The descriptive essay lacks a defined structural requirement but typically includes: an introduction introducing the subject, a thorough description, and a concluding summary with insightful reflection.

1. Subject Selection and Observation

  • Choose a subject (person, place, object, or experience) to describe
  • Gather sensory details and observations

2. Engaging Introduction

  • Set the scene and provide the context
  • Use of descriptive language and figurative techniques

3. Descriptive Body Paragraphs

  • Focus on specific aspects or details of the subject
  • Engage the reader ’s senses with vivid imagery and descriptions
  • Maintain a consistent tone and viewpoint

4. Impactful Conclusion

  • Provide a final impression or insight
  • Leave a lasting impact on the reader

Narrative Essays: Storytelling in Action

Narrative essays are personal accounts that tell a story, often drawing from the writer’s own experiences or observations. These essays rely on a well-structured plot, character development, and vivid descriptions to engage readers and convey a deeper meaning or lesson.

What are the Key features of Narrative Essays

four stages of essay writing

Written from a first-person perspective and hence subjective

four stages of essay writing

Based on real personal experiences

four stages of essay writing

Uses an informal and expressive tone

four stages of essay writing

Presents events and characters in sequential order

When is a narrative essay written.

It is commonly assigned in high school and college writing courses to assess a student’s ability to convey a meaningful message or lesson through a personal narrative. They are written in situations where a personal experience or story needs to be recounted, such as:

1. Reflective essays on significant life events or personal growth.

2. Autobiographical writing to share one’s life story or experiences.

3. Creative writing exercises to practice narrative techniques and character development.

4. College application essays to showcase personal qualities and experiences.

How to Write a Narrative Essay

Narrative essays typically follow a chronological structure, with an introduction that sets the scene, a body that develops the plot and characters, and a conclusion that provides a sense of resolution or lesson learned.

1. Experience Selection and Reflection

  • Choose a significant personal experience or event
  • Reflect on the impact and deeper meaning

2. Immersive Introduction

  • Introduce characters and establish the tone and point of view

3. Plotline and Character Development

  • Advance   the  plot and character development through body paragraphs
  • Incorporate dialog , conflict, and resolution
  • Maintain a logical and chronological flow

4. Insightful Conclusion

  • Reflect on lessons learned or insights gained
  • Leave the reader with a lasting impression

Argumentative Essays: Persuasion and Critical Thinking

Argumentative essays are the quintessential form of academic writing in which writers present a clear thesis and support it with well-researched evidence and logical reasoning. These essays require a deep understanding of the topic, critical analysis of multiple perspectives, and the ability to construct a compelling argument.

What are the Key Features of an Argumentative Essay?

four stages of essay writing

Logical and well-structured arguments

four stages of essay writing

Credible and relevant evidence from reputable sources

four stages of essay writing

Consideration and refutation of counterarguments

four stages of essay writing

Critical analysis and evaluation of the issue 

When is an argumentative essay written.

Argumentative essays are written to present a clear argument or stance on a particular issue or topic. In academic settings they are used to develop critical thinking, research, and persuasive writing skills. However, argumentative essays can also be written in various other contexts, such as:

1. Opinion pieces or editorials in newspapers, magazines, or online publications.

2. Policy proposals or position papers in government, nonprofit, or advocacy settings.

3. Persuasive speeches or debates in academic, professional, or competitive environments.

4. Marketing or advertising materials to promote a product, service, or idea.

How to write an Argumentative Essay

Argumentative essays begin with an introduction that states the thesis and provides context. The body paragraphs develop the argument with evidence, address counterarguments, and use logical reasoning. The conclusion restates the main argument and makes a final persuasive appeal.

  • Choose a debatable and controversial issue
  • Conduct thorough research and gather evidence and counterarguments

2. Thesis and Introduction

  • Craft a clear and concise thesis statement
  • Provide background information and establish importance

3. Structured Body Paragraphs

  • Focus each paragraph on a specific aspect of the argument
  • Support with logical reasoning, factual evidence, and refutation

4. Persuasive Techniques

  • Adopt a formal and objective tone
  • Use persuasive techniques (rhetorical questions, analogies, appeals)

5. Impactful Conclusion

  • Summarize the main points
  • Leave the reader with a strong final impression and call to action

To learn more about argumentative essay, check out this article .

5 Quick Tips for Researchers to Improve Academic Essay Writing Skills

four stages of essay writing

Use clear and concise language to convey ideas effectively without unnecessary words

four stages of essay writing

Use well-researched, credible sources to substantiate your arguments with data, expert opinions, and scholarly references

four stages of essay writing

Ensure a coherent structure with effective transitions, clear topic sentences, and a logical flow to enhance readability 

four stages of essay writing

To elevate your academic essay, consider submitting your draft to a community-based platform like Open Platform  for editorial review 

four stages of essay writing

Review your work multiple times for clarity, coherence, and adherence to academic guidelines to ensure a polished final product

By mastering the art of academic essay writing, researchers and scholars can effectively communicate their ideas, contribute to the advancement of knowledge, and engage in meaningful scholarly discourse.

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How to Navigate the Four Stages of Book Editing: A Professional Editor's Guide

JoEllen Nordstrom

JoEllen Nordstrom

Watch joellen's live training on navigating the four stages of book editing, then keep reading for more tips:.

Now, on to the article.

what are the four stages of editing?

It takes a great number of aspects to bring about a well-written, engaging, and interesting manuscript. Aside from the actual writing, a key part of the creation process is your editing.

Why Is Editing Your Manuscript Important?

What are the four stages of editing, 1. structural story editing, 2. line editing, 3. copyediting, 4. proofreading, when should i hire an editor, take control of your self-editing.

Editing is vital in the production of your book. It acts as the protective varnish that embellishes and perfects your writing before you share it publicly or publish it.

You should neither underrate nor take for granted the importance of editing. It enhances the overall feel of your manuscript. If you want a polished final piece that engages your reader’s mind and emotions, you need to edit rigorously.

Editing has four stages. Whether you’re a newbie still getting into your writing journey or a seasoned author with an established writing career, you must be familiar with these stages and ready to apply them in your editing process.

Editing is a little tricky in the beginning. However, in time, you’ll be able to hone your craft, improve your writing, become adept at self-editing, and succeed as an author in your field.

Let’s discuss the four stages of editing so you can plan accordingly.

The four stages of book editing are:

  • Structural Story Editing
  • Line Editing
  • Copyediting
  • Proofreading

Structural Story Editing requires the broadest approach, with each stage narrowing its focus.

the four stages of editing

Let’s dive in.

Structurally editing your story is the most in-depth of all stages of editing.

Also known as content, developmental, or substantive editing, structural story editing for fiction evaluates your story arc and presentation from the highest level.

Your story editor reviews in detail your entire manuscript and applies the most rigorous method of correcting your book.

Your best story editor is a certified expert who thoroughly evaluates the structure and presentation of your writing scene by scene. She evaluates your:

  • Story flow and pacing
  • Scene openings and endings
  • Consistency and clarity

Story editing ensures you convey your characters, vision, empathy, and journey to readers. In short, it ensures you take your readers on a journey where they experience another world through the eyes of your protagonist.

Thus, it includes 38 story elements that certified, professional editors evaluate. These elements comprise your book, such as story, characters, plot, and settings.

By carefully reviewing each of these elements, your story editor objectively ensures they overlook nothing.

Can I Do Structural Editing Myself?

When self-editing, ensure you also review the essential 38 story elements . Present your story well, from start to finish, and make sure you portray your intent with clarity.

Evaluate and lay out the scenes in a logical and engaging manner in order to present your entire story. Ensure you set forth clearly the events, characters, and settings involved in each scene.

Story editing requires a comprehensive effort of reviewing your book. Doing it yourself is good practice, as you know your story very well.

However, for an exemplary result, you will need the services of a professional structural content editor after self-editing your story.

At First Editing, we hire only professionally trained and certified story editors who are experts in discovering the ins and outs of a story using a sophisticated, licensed editing software.

Such story editors relay the positive and negative points of your work in-depth using an objective approach. This allows you to make many vital organizational corrections during your initial revision.

More importantly, this thorough editing method creates the foundation for your story arc’s presentation and an impeccable presentation of your book.

After assessing your entire book, the next stage is to check the tone, style, and consistency of your writing. These three should go hand in hand. Tone sets the mood of the story while style is the way you tell your story.

While line editing , ensure that every sentence is working to develop your story’s intended mood. You do this by using words, descriptions, and tenses that enhance your writing.

A story with a happy and adventurous tone is more likely to use short, positive descriptions and sentences, while a story with a sad and unfortunate tone is likely to use negative descriptions in long sentences.

You may use plain and direct language or imagery in forming sentences. Whichever is your style, be sure it agrees with the mood.

line editing tips

Try out ProWritingAid’s Sensory Report with a free account to see which sense you favor in your writing.

You should also line-edit for consistency. Ensure your presentation remains consistent throughout the story and from paragraph to paragraph and sentence to sentence.

Professional line editors are experts in identifying the tone and style of your writing. They help you adapt your style and put forth the mood to your audience in the most effective way. They help pick out inconsistencies and suggest coherent lines more appropriate to your writing.

I always recommend using a different line editor from your story editor for a fresh perspective. Plus, line editing takes a unique set of skills, different from those used by story editors.

Working with a good line editor can help your reader hang on your every word.

Copyediting requires minimal review. It focuses on correcting grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

However, English evolves over time and dynamic guidelines in using the language keep evolving. Help from a professional copyeditor is important to make sure you’re using the correct conventions.

A professional copyeditor recognizes and fixes mistakes in spelling and punctuation, and is also well-acquainted with the rules of grammar.

When you’ve read your work repeatedly, it’s hard to notice issues with sentence structure, subject-verb agreement, syntax, etc. A professional copyeditor will make sure your grammar is up to scratch.

She applies these rules in conformity with the other elements evaluated in the previous stages of editing. She is the last person to make edits to the writing before formatting, proofreading, and publishing.

Copyeditors specialize in focusing on the grammar, spelling, and punctuation rules. If you engage a good copyeditor, you can feel confident that your readers won’t be finding typos after publication.

Proofreading is the ultimate stage of reviewing your edited book. It happens after formatting and before we finally send it to the printer. Proofreading involves fixing the final issues of the book layout resulting from the upload.

Your proofreader ensures your book has proper formatting to make it error-free and presentable to the reader.

A proofreader must be very thorough in reviewing the book to ensure its impeccability. Some aspects to consider in proofreading are paragraph spacing, indention, and choice of fonts and sizes.

Can I Proofread My Own Book?

You may do proofreading yourself, but it requires technical skills and ample time to finish. Unless you’re skilled enough, you may need the service of a professional proofreader to help you. Publishers often offer this. I highly recommend you hire a professional proofreader when self-publishing.

what's the difference: copyediting and proofreading

These are the four stages of editing. Knowledge and skills in these editing levels improve your writing abilities and help you produce your ideal book. I encourage you to approach each phase separately during self-editing. Once you have completed that task, engage a professional editor who specializes in your specific editing level, genre, and subject.

Ensure your professional editor has proven experience in publishing and successful results within editing. Ask to see samples of their editing work along with evidence of their advanced certifications, education, and training. I also recommend that you request a free editing sample of your writing.

Ask for the aid of professional editors whenever you need. You’ll appreciate their work and be thankful for the professional results you can trust. Editing is a team effort between the writer and the editors. You will learn so much during each round of revisions.

Self-editing is an essential step in that learning process. Knowing the four levels of editing and what they entail allows you to better prepare for the editing journey.

By learning to self-edit, you can get the best return on investment from your professional editor.

By successfully preparing your manuscript in advance, your editor can focus on the more challenging structural aspects of the manuscript and you get the strongest story possible.

ProWritingAid’s editing software helps you structure your self-edit. Each element of your story is covered by a focussed report.

The 25 reports cover broad areas like readability, structure, style, and pacing as well as the details of your manuscript like dialogue tags, repeated words, sensory words, and sticky sentences.

You’ll find all of the statistics for your document as well as individual suggestions for specific mistakes all in one place:

The Summary Report allows you to get an overview of your work so you can see where you need to focus to make the most improvement in the shortest amount of time.

ProWritingAid gives you the tools to track, implement, and take control of your self-editing.

Looking for more? Join professional editor JoEllen Nordström for in-depth editing training on the third Thursday of every month.

Self-Editing School: The third thursday of every month 7pm UK / 2 pm ET

Find out more about JoEllen's Monthly Editing School

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Be confident about grammar

Check every email, essay, or story for grammar mistakes. Fix them before you press send.

JoEllen Nordstrom passionately combines online editing tools, AI (Artificial Intelligence), and writing software with vetted, professional editing services to create your publishing success. As the founder of First Editing, JoEllen's editors have assisted over 50,000 writers and boast 400+ published authors. They are the world's first-certified Story Coach Editor company. Learn more about self-editing on her Publishing Power podcast. Besides writing, JoEllen is a digital nomad, yogi, and mamma of six!

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Essay About Writing

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  • Icon Calendar 18 May 2024
  • Icon Page 1062 words
  • Icon Clock 6 min read

Writing is an everyday activity for students and other members of the working class. Basically, the task of writing may prove difficult if an individual is oblivious of good writing practices. In this case, the writing process is relatively complex for any writer to ever achieve perfection in their works. However, there are rules of thumb that assist individuals in creating a compelling piece of writing. In particular, this essay about writing cover planning, drafting, revising, and editing, being the fundamental stages in the writing process.

Stage 1: Planning of Essay Writing

Essay about writing

Writing Situation

The planning stage is guided by the writing situation, which is defined in the essay prompt. For instance, the writing situation comprises six elements: topic, purpose, audience, role, genre, and special requirements and context. Basically, a writer needs to critically analyze the elements of a writing situation that dictate the expected outcome of the writing process. Based on the requirements of the final draft, the planning stage of the essay about writing begins. In turn, decision making is geared toward achieving the essay requirements. Hence, the planning stage depends on the ability of the writer to interpret the writing situation correctly.

Developing Ideas in Essays

The development of ideas for the content of the essay about writing is a challenging task. For instance, the topic mentioned in the writing situation narrows down the properties of good ideas that may be consolidated in the body of the essay. Basically, writers employ different strategies while developing ideas, for example, freewriting, brainstorming, structured questions, and clustering. Then, there is no specific technique for developing ideas. In turn, people develop themes for academic essays from relatively rigid strategies. Also, the relationship between elements is clear and supported by research, such as structured questions and clustering. Conversely, people can optimize ideas for personal essays with strategies that accommodate random thinking patterns, like freewriting and brainstorming. Thus, the use of a combination of strategies may be useful depending on the nature of the essay.

Thesis Statement

The best ideas are selected and used in the creation of a thesis statement. For example, the main sentence presents the overall argument to the audience. In this case, people write the thesis statement in the planning stage to provide a point of reference for the author during the drafting stage. Also, the proposed thesis statement is subject to revision during other stages of the writing process. On the other hand, the central claim does not have a standard structure. However, authors must not have stating facts, casting doubt on the primary argument, and using cliché phrases. In turn, the writer should demonstrate a high level of creativity and understanding of the topic when generating a thesis statement. Hence, the central sentence is a core element of the essay about writing that defines the association between the individual body paragraphs and sections.

Stage 2: Drafting an Essay About Writing

During the drafting stage, writers transform their thoughts into words. For example, there are two main approaches to creating the first draft: discovery and structure. Firstly, the discovery approach covers the principles of focused freewriting. On the other hand, the structured approach requires the author to follow an outline or planning notes strictly. In this case, the development of the first draft involves the enforcement of general paragraph and essay structure. Also, authors must ensure that the first draft adheres to the general essay writing guidelines. In turn, an ideal paragraph has a topic sentence, a statement of evidence, a detailed explanation of the evidence, and a concluding or transition sentence. In most cases, essays have three parts in their structure: introduction, body, and conclusion. Besides, the author may incorporate in-text citations, footnotes, and endnotes appropriately. Thus, multiple logical, stylistic, and mechanical flaws characterize the first draft.

Stage 3: Revising

People use the revision stage of the essay about writing for a critical evaluation of the content and completeness of the argument. For instance, people revise the first draft with a focus on evaluating the underlying logic of the entire paper and assessing the extent to which the essay satisfies the requirements highlighted in the essay prompt. In this case, writers should revise the first draft until they are satisfied that the essay adequately addresses the topic of interest. Moreover, the authors re-evaluate the systematic presentation of ideas to ascertain. In turn, the audience can easily follow their arguments. Then, people must refrain from attempting to revise and edit the essay simultaneously. However, they must avoid premature editing because of negative consequences on the revision process. Hence, the essay must be free of any issues concerning the content and its systematic presentation by the end of this stage.

Stage 4: Editing a Draft Essay

The editing stage shifts the writer’s attention from the content and organization to the essay’s surface-level features. For example, editing involves the identification and correction of punctuation, spelling, grammar, numbering, capitalization, and abbreviation errors. During the editing stage of the essay about writing, the authors examine each statement as an independent element. In this case, their only interest is the correctness of the sentence. Also, writing handbooks are useful reference materials for writers while they edit their essays. Then, the process of editing may be aided by spell-checking and grammar software. In turn, writers are discouraged from accepting all changes suggested by spell-checking and grammar applications. Unfortunately, the software is not a substitute for human editing. Basically, grammar rules cannot be accurately codified to develop an artificial editor. Thus, editing requires multiple readings to ensure that all mistakes have been eliminated.

Conclusion on Essay About Writing

The essay about writing is reliant on an individual’s ability to complete the four stages of the writing process. Firstly, the planning stage is the most significant activity. Basically, it yields the thesis statement, content, and preliminary organization of ideas. Then, the drafting stage follows the planning stage. In this case, it involves the process of transforming thoughts into text. Also, people must revise the first draft thoroughly to remove logical and organizational errors. In turn, the revision allows for the evaluation of the contents’ congruence with the thesis statement. Finally, the revised draft undergoes editing to eliminate mechanical and grammar errors, which results in the final draft. Thus, writers can rely on the four stages of the writing process, regardless of the nature and purpose of writing.

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  1. The Writing Process

    Table of contents. Step 1: Prewriting. Step 2: Planning and outlining. Step 3: Writing a first draft. Step 4: Redrafting and revising. Step 5: Editing and proofreading. Other interesting articles. Frequently asked questions about the writing process.

  2. 4 Stages of the Writing Process

    Here are the 4 stages of the writing process: 1. Prewriting. At this stage, the writer identifies everything they need to do before starting on their rough draft. Many overlook this step altogether and jump straightaway into writing, without planning and organizing their ideas. The result ends up being a sub-standard piece that takes a lot more ...

  3. The Ultimate Blueprint: A Research-Driven Deep Dive ...

    This article provides a comprehensive, research-based introduction to the major steps, or strategies, that writers work through as they endeavor to communicate with audiences.. Since the 1960s, the writing process has been defined to be a series of steps, stages, or strategies. Most simply, the writing process is conceptualized as four major steps: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing.

  4. PDF Strategies for Essay Writing

    Harvard College Writing Center 5 Asking Analytical Questions When you write an essay for a course you are taking, you are being asked not only to create a product (the essay) but, more importantly, to go through a process of thinking more deeply about a question or problem related to the course. By writing about a

  5. The Writing Process

    Step 1: Prewriting. Think and Decide. Make sure you understand your assignment. See Research Papers or Essays. Decide on a topic to write about. See Prewriting Strategies and Narrow your Topic. Consider who will read your work. See Audience and Voice. Brainstorm ideas about the subject and how those ideas can be organized.

  6. A Complete Guide to the Writing Process: 6 Stages of Writing

    Understanding how and why you write the way you do allows you to treat your writing like the job it is, while allowing your creativity to run wild. Every writer works in a different way. Some writers work straight through from beginning to end. Others work in pieces they arrange later, while others work from sentence to sentence.

  7. Resources for Writers: The Writing Process

    Resources for Writers: The Writing Process. Writing is a process that involves at least four distinct steps: prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing. It is known as a recursive process. While you are revising, you might have to return to the prewriting step to develop and expand your ideas.

  8. The Writing Process

    The Writing Process. These OWL resources will help you with the writing process: pre-writing (invention), developing research questions and outlines, composing thesis statements, and proofreading. While the writing process may be different for each person and for each particular assignment, the resources contained in this section follow the ...

  9. Center For Writing Excellence

    Stages of the Writing Process (MIT Writing and Communication Center) Writing is a process that involves at least four distinct steps: prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing. ... This source reviews the logic behind essay writing explaining how "successfully structuring an essay means attending to a reader's logic." ...

  10. The 4 Steps in the Writing Process

    The outline created in the prewriting stage, if followed, can help create a clear path for the writing. This stage might take only a few minutes or several hours, but it's important to get as much written as possible in this initial draft. Revisions. The revision stage is often incorrectly used synonymously with editing.

  11. Essay Writing: A Complete Guide for Students and Teachers

    At this stage, it is important that they: Ensure the research material is directly relevant to the essay task. Record in detail the sources of the information that they will use in their essay. Engage with the material personally by asking questions and challenging their own biases.

  12. The Essay Writing Process: A Step-by-Step Guide

    An essay is a short form of writing that discusses, describes, or analyzes one topic. It can range in length from one paragraph to several pages and be on any topic. The writer expresses their opinion on the subject, supported by evidence and reasoning. The history of the essay is believed to date back to the 16th century.

  13. PDF Chapter 4: Stages of Writing

    Chapter 4: Stages of Writing Chapter Overview The act of writing involves many tasks. This chapter proposes a schedule of six stages that ... writing an essay in a stream of consciousness and then handing it in without re-reading it; co-opting the ideas and evidence of something read online rather than taking time to develop their

  14. The Four Main Types of Essay

    An essay is a focused piece of writing designed to inform or persuade. There are many different types of essay, but they are often defined in four categories: argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive essays. Argumentative and expository essays are focused on conveying information and making clear points, while narrative and ...

  15. What are the four stages of the writing process?

    Joan Sedita, founder of Keys to Literacy, talks about the four main stages of writing: thinking, planning, writing, and revising and the fact that the more time and effort students put into the first two stages and the last stage, the better their writing will be.

  16. Essay and report writing skills: 4.4 Stages in assignment writing

    Activity 5. Note down in your Learning Journal what you think the stages are that you have to go through in producing an assignment, from beginning to end. Previous 4.3 Essays. Next 4.5 A different perspective.

  17. How to approach essay writing

    A typical product approach has four stages: familiarization, controlled writing, guided writing and free writing. Familiarization might involve categorizing words or phrases or noticing linguistic features of a model text. At the controlled stage, learners can attempt to produce their own sentences using some of the language highlighted.

  18. Steps to Better Writing, Part 1. The four stages of the Flowers

    Improve your writing using the four stages of the Flowers Paradigm: Madman, Architect, Carpenter, and Judge. ... It may be an essay in a college application. Or a cover letter for a résumé ...

  19. Types of Essays in Academic Writing

    2. Descriptive Essay. 3. Narrative Essay. 4. Argumentative Essay. Expository and persuasive essays mainly deal with facts to explain ideas clearly. Narrative and descriptive essays are informal and have a creative edge. Despite their differences, these essay types share a common goal ― to convey information, insights, and perspectives ...

  20. What Are The Four Stages of Editing? How to Approach ...

    More importantly, this thorough editing method creates the foundation for your story arc's presentation and an impeccable presentation of your book. 2. Line Editing. After assessing your entire book, the next stage is to check the tone, style, and consistency of your writing. These three should go hand in hand.

  21. Essay About Writing: Four Stages of Effective Writing

    The essay about writing is reliant on an individual's ability to complete the four stages of the writing process. Firstly, the planning stage is the most significant activity. Basically, it yields the thesis statement, content, and preliminary organization of ideas. Then, the drafting stage follows the planning stage.