• Start with an idea
• Read and take notes
• Create an outline
based on initial ideas
• Write a working
introduction to center
• Refer to notes and
develop a rough outline
or idea map
• Begin working on content
• Panic and reread notes
• Go back to writing and
• Leave it for a few days
• Read it and panic
• On to draft 2
Throughout it all, there is a lot of meandering, walking away from the computer in
frustration, avoidance, and eventual settling down to write.
• Always remember, no one gets it right the first time.
• While you’re writing, what makes you sweat? What
makes you doubt yourself as a writer?
• What are your grammar woes?
• What can you learn about yourself as a writer by
being aware of your weaknesses?
• Step away and let your writing rest
• Look at your writing as a reader, not a writer
• Consider the big picture:
• Do you sentences flow?
• Are your thoughts clear?
• Does your research support your arguments?
• Are there any gaps in your reasoning?
• Read your work and consider its value from the
point of view of your intended audience.
• Create a plan to guide your revision
• Revise as you write—in drafts
1. Read your work as a whole with an eye towards the big
• Take notes and create pointers to refer to while editing.
2. Read it again with an eye towards the small stuff.
• Look for grammatical errors, awkward sentence
construction, weak transitions, punctuation, and more.
3. Give it a final polish.
• Make your changes and save it as a new draft. Read it again
to polish it up—consider word choice, rewrite your
introduction and/or conclusion, refine your ideas.
NOTE: Save each draft under a separate file name to
avoid confusion and keep your work in order.
• Letting another read our work can be difficult, but it
a second pair of eyes allows us to see our work in a
• Peer Review helps us get outside of our heads.
• Select your reader(s) with care
• A reader who is familiar with your style is best, but also
one who is willing to give good, honest, and critical
• Critical feedback does NOT = criticism!
• Critical feedback seeks to empower and strengthen your
writing. It does not tear down, belittle, or try to deny the
writer’s voice, but serves to support and encourage
• Stay strong and don’t fear cutting out
words, sentences, paragraphs, and/or pages.
• Every word matters, but they don’t all have to be
part of your final draft.
• Reading and revising in drafts will help you decide
what to keep and what to cut without becoming
• NOTE: Save the pieces that you snip in a separate
file in case you want to reuse them.
• Rewrite sentences, paragraphs, sections, or the
entire essay as needed.
• Careful revision and review will help you make sense
of what works and what doesn’t.
• And working within an appropriate time frame will
ensure that you have ample time to rework your
draft to produce the best essay possible.
• When to cut
• Is it relevant to my
theme, subject, or
• Does it serve a
purpose other than
• Does it send the
reader on a tangent?
• When to rewrite
• Is there enough
information to support
• Is it relevant but
• Do the ideas need
to get my point
• If you’re writing on a deadline, it’s important to know
when to call it complete.
• Write within a timeframe to stay on target.
• When writing a class assignment (an essay or term
paper), a good rule of thumb is to go through two rough
drafts and a polish.
• Write the first, rough, working draft.
• Read and note global revisions (the big picture).
• Write and read through the second draft
• Get feedback from a fellow reader (if possible).
• Apply feedback and consider cuts and rewrites.
• Polish the third draft by making local revisions (the small stuff)
and call it ready for submission
• unless your professor recommends further revision or allows
for an essay to be resubmitted.