Stages in the Writing Process

Part of the Writing Essays For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Break the writing process up into manageable chunks; this helps you to excel at each stage and plan your time so that you hit your deadline. Follow these 7 stages to achieve optimal results from your writing:

  1. Analyse the title: Work out properly in advance what the question is asking for. Note keywords and function words (for example ‘compare’, ‘analyse’ or ‘discuss’).

  2. Make a timetable: Remember the 80:20 rule – 80 per cent on preparation (Stages 1–4) and 20 per cent on writing up and finishing (Stages 5–7). Make your essay timetable fit in realistically with your other commitments and put a copy up at your desk.

  3. Gathering data: Keep in mind what do you need to know and where are you going to get this information from. Highlight key info in your notes and use online resources carefully and wisely.

  4. Planning: Get your data down in the most helpful way you can and plan out the structure of your essay in detail before you start it.

  5. Write the first draft: Remember to write for your reader, and guide them through your argument. Assume and maintain an academic voice and style.

  6. Revise your draft: Print your draft out and read it through. Mark up any changes you need to make on the paper, then, back on computer make these changes to a copy of your original version and rename it.

  7. Check and polish: Tidy up the finished version, paying attention to the main areas: content and presentation. Proofread your work carefully before submitting.

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