The 7 Steps of the Writing Process by Monica Fox, M.A.


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In order to write a good college essay, it is imporant for the writing to follow a process. Writing, like cooking from scratch, requires a number of steps. Those steps will look for each writer. For beginning college writers, it is very important to understand the writing process, thesis statement, and the revision and editing steps. The following PowerPoint explains the seven steps: Understanding the Assignment, Generating Ideas during Pre-Writing, Planning, Drafting, Revising, Editing and Proofreading, and Preparing a Final Draft. The PowerPoint also provides some good examples of what a thesis statement and outline look like.

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The 7 Steps of the Writing Process by Monica Fox, M.A.

  1. 1. The Writing Process Prof. Monica Fox, M.A.
  2. 2. Overview of the Writing Process  Each writer has their own writing process. This is an example of an ideal writing process that I recommend from my experience in teaching Writing Composition courses.  Understanding the Assignment  Generating Ideas through Pre-Writing  Planning the Draft  Writing First Draft  Revising the Draft  Editing and Proofreading the Draft  Creating a Polished Final Draft Prof. Monica Fox, M.A.
  3. 3. Understanding the Assignment  It’s important to carefully read and understand the assignment and the following:  Purpose – understand whether the essay is meant to inform, persuade, or provide in-depth research.  Form –understand the form needed such as length, cover page, references page, and whether it needs to follow APA, MLA, or another style.  Audience –keep in mind who is reading the essay whether it will be classmates, community members or the instructor. Prof. Monica Fox, M.A.
  4. 4. Generating Ideas and Pre- Writing  It doesn’t consist of a single method or order.  Free writing –writing down journal like thoughts on the topic; this is a good method if one has Writer’s Block  Researching – beginning to look for information that is out there on the topic to generate ideas.  Annotating – writing notes along the margins of articles read on the topic.  Listing –listing ideas of what the essay will be about.  Clustering – drawing a circle with the main idea in the center and then creating branches to sub points. Prof. Monica Fox, M.A.
  5. 5. Planning the Draft  It may look different for each writer. However, writing the thesis is very important at this point.  Writing the Thesis – the thesis is the main idea of the essay written in one or two sentences at the end of the introduction.  Here is an example of a thesis: “In order to prevent cardiovascular disease, it is important to adhere to a healthy diet, effective exercise routine, and a balanced social and emotional lifestyle. “  Developing an Outline – this will be an overview of the essay’s layout and can be used when writing the first draft. Prof. Monica Fox, M.A.
  6. 6. Example of an Outline I. Introduction A. Attention getter –use a short story, quote, or startling statistic. B. Background and Transition – transition from the attention-getter to the background and then provide brief background of the topic. C. Thesis –state the main idea of the essay in one sentence. Here is an example: “In order to prevent cardiovascular disease, it is important to adhere to a healthy diet, effective exercise routine, and a balanced social lifestyle.” II. Body A. Point 1: A Healthy Died 1. Supporting Details B. Point 2: Effective Exercise Routine 1. Supporting Details C. Point 3: Balanced social lifestyle 1 Supporting Details III. Conclusion I. Restate the thesis statement. II. Create a sense of closure. III. Leave reader with a memorable thought. Prof. Monica Fox, M.A.
  7. 7. Writing the First Draft  Just write! Do not worry much about the grammar at this point.  Research as you write.  Follow the main points and thesis from the outline.  Follow the introduction, body, and conclusion requirements.  Revise very little while you write the first draft.  Keep going – pretend this is a timed assignment and write the first draft ahead of time; time is needed for the last three steps. Prof. Monica Fox, M.A.
  8. 8. Revising the Draft  It is a great idea to read the essay out loud once you printed out the rough draft. Also, have someone else look at it, too.  Make sure that the essay follows the thesis statement and doesn’t go off topic.  Make sure that the essay is organized with good transitions.  Make sure that the essay includes credible resources properly cited and integrated within the body of the essay.  Make corrections on the essay and then Prof. Monica Fox, M.A.
  9. 9. Editing and Proofreading the Draft  Edit sentences that have grammatical errors such as fragments, run-ons, etc.  Edit any punctuation issues; pay close attention to your usage of the comma.  Read sentences out loud if you are not sure that they make sense.  Proofread for spelling errors, missing errors, etc. Prof. Monica Fox, M.A.
  10. 10. Create a Polished Final Draft  Make sure that the format of the essay follows the APA, MLA, or other format.  Make sure the cover page, running head, references page are flawless.  Make sure the essay prints on quality paper and looks exactly the way in which you expected it after it printed.  Submit the final draft to your professor. Good job! Prof. Monica Fox, M.A.