Basic Writing Process (Workout A)

This lesson will develop your skills in the first six steps of this basic writing practice. To sharpen your skills in writing the full draft and revising an essay, consider visiting Boot Camp 2 and Boot Camp 4.

1. Interpret the topic

Step one is to understand the requirements and goals of the proposed essay. You will learn to look for the key terms in an assignment and to identify the requirements of your essay.

See Interpret the Topic (Workout B) for more information.

2. Focus the topic

Step two is to decide what kind of approach you want to take and what kind of information you need. You will identify the goal and scope of your essay.

See Focus the Topic (Workout C) for more information.

3. Think and learn

Step three is to do all your research and critical thinking. You will draw together all the information you need for your essay.

See Think and Learn (Workout D) for more information.

4. Organize information

Step four is to organize and group all the information, and to think about relationships between all your ideas and research. You will decide how all your information fits together and what headings or main categories of ideas emerge.

See Organize Information (Workout E) for more information.

5. Write a thesis statement

Step five is to decide what your reader will learn when the essay is finished. Based on this, you will develop a thesis statement.

See Write a Thesis Statement (Workout F) for more information.

6. Produce a detailed outline

Step six is to outline all your ideas, thinking about details and examples. You will make sure that all your points are consistent with your thesis statement.

See Produce a Detailed Outline (Workout G) for more information.

7. Write a draft

Step seven is to write a first draft. When you write, you will make sure all your ideas link together with effective transitions and that you have enough support for these ideas.

See Boot Camp 2 (Writing a Full Draft) for more information.

8. Edit and edit again

Step eight is to go back and revise your paper, looking at the overall structure as well as the quality of the writing, including paragraphs and sentences.

See Boot Camp 4 (Revising an Essay) for more information.

Download Basic Writing Practice 8 Steps (Reference)

In practice, writing is messy. This lesson follows a number of linear steps to study a basic writing practice, but, in fact you are likely to move back and forth between these steps all the time until the essay is finished.

For example, you might spend a lot of time thinking about and gathering information, and then begin to organize and draft the essay, only to realize you need more planning and research. That new research may then alter your thesis, or make you re-think your original plans for the essay.

Revision and editing rarely happens at the end of the essay alone, but instead happens all the way through the writing process.