The steps for writing an essay are not always the same for every writer. Still, a general system can be applied to most writing situations for extra help on those writing projects that you find especially difficult.
I always tell my college writing students that essay writing is a process. I know the term "process" can be complicated but it is very important to understand it and think about how it applies to your writing strategy.
What is a writing process? Generally speaking, your process is the series of steps you take from brainstorming to drafting to finishing your essay. Although many college writing textbooks and instructors will present the writing process as a linear model (a straight line), this is not always the best way to go about it. Again, everyone's approach is different and you are no exception.
Some writers work well under pressure. Some writers do good work outdoors. Other writers need loud music. Still other writers require library settings to complete their best compositions. Whatever your needs, the most important thing is to determine what works well for you.
In general, most writing processes look like this: pre-writing, writing, and revising. Pre-writing is the work you do to get started with an essay. This includes brainstorming, researching, and those types of activities.
Writing is the actual process of composing your first draft. I advise my students to complete this step in one sitting. Once you have completed the brainstorming or pre-writing steps, you should be able to sit down and complete the bones of your essay for a general outline.
Revising is the last step. It is also the most important step. Unfortunately, most students overlook just how important revision is to the overall writing process and never really invest enough time in this last stage.
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