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Steps to Good Writing

The best way to begin writing is to first spend time thinking about your topic – brainstorming. Put your ideas down on paper.  Add more ideas. Gather information from books.  Map out your ideas, and begin free writing what comes to you mind. If you are doing a research essay, read articles and books from reliable authors, and make sure you annotate.

Step One: Planning to Write

Brainstorming: The more you think on a topic; the more ideas you have. The longer you think on a topic; the more depth it has. The more you discuss a topic; the broader it becomes. Brainstorming usually includes free-writing, mapping, and outlining. If it is a research project, it will also include reading articles, taking notes, annotating, etc..

Free-writing is when you write on a topic for an extended period of time, usually ten minutes.  During this time you focus on putting your ideas on paper.  You do not focus on grammar, spelling, or unity or even coherence at this point; only putting your ideas on paper.

Mapping: Once your ideas are on paper, begin mapping them logically.  This means to organize them according to topics and supporting ideas, and then filter out those ideas that are good, but just don’t fit (off topic).

Outlining is when you take the ideas from the map and begin to organize them as an essay. It’s important to outline according to essay type.

Research Projects: Note Taking and Annotating.

Step Two: Writing the First Draft

Read examples of the type of essay you are writing.  This will help you focus as you write.

Pay attention to organization as you begin to develop your introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Follow your outline and organize your thoughts into readable paragraphs, and remember, this is your first draft.  Although it should be organized, focus on developing your ideas and communicating your thoughts.

Step Three: Revising

Revising is an essential part of the process. As much work as you have done on your first draft, it still needs help.  When you revise, you look at content.  Does the essay say what you want it to day?  Are your ideas logically organized? Does the introduction have a clear hook, connecting background information, and a strong thesis statement?  Does each body paragraph have a topic sentence and clear supporting sentences that are elaborated? Does the conclusion restate the thesis statement, summarize main ideas, and leave a closing remark?

Some writers lay aside the essay for a few days, and then come back and reread it again.  This way they can see their writing with a fresh mind.  Other writers have someone read the essay aloud to them. This helps them check for flow and continuity.

Step Four: Editing

After you finish revising, it is time to check for errors in spelling, grammarpunctuation, and sentence structure. If this is a research essay, check in-text citations, and your references as well.

Step Five: Writing the Final Draft

Now that you have edited your essay and made the necessary revisions, it is time to put it all together in a final draft.

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