The Writing Process
The writing process is something that no two people do the same way. There is no "right way" or "wrong way" to write. It can be a very messy and fluid process, and the following is only a representation of commonly used steps. Remember you can come to the Writing Center for assistance at any stage in this process.
Steps of the Writing Process
Step 1: Prewriting
Think and Decide
- Make sure you understand your assignment. See Research Papers or Essays
- Decide on a topic to write about. See Prewriting Strategies and Narrow your Topic
- Consider who will read your work. See Audience and Voice
- Brainstorm ideas about the subject and how those ideas can be organized. Make an outline. See Outlines
Step 2: Research (if needed)
- List places where you can find information.
- Do your research. See the many KU Libraries resources and helpful guides
- Evaluate your sources. See Evaluating Sources and Primary vs. Secondary Sources
- Make an outline to help organize your research. See Outlines
Step 3: Drafting
- Write sentences and paragraphs even if they are not perfect.
- Create a thesis statement with your main idea. See Thesis Statements
- Put the information you researched into your essay accurately without plagiarizing. Remember to include both in-text citations and a bibliographic page. See Incorporating References and Paraphrase and Summary
- Read what you have written and judge if it says what you mean. Write some more.
- Read it again.
- Write some more.
- Read it again.
- Write until you have said everything you want to say about the topic.
Step 4: Revising
Make it Better
- Read what you have written again. See Revising Content and Revising Organization
- Rearrange words, sentences, or paragraphs into a clear and logical order.
- Take out or add parts.
- Do more research if you think you should.
- Replace overused or unclear words.
- Read your writing aloud to be sure it flows smoothly. Add transitions.
Step 5: Editing and Proofreading
Make it Correct
- Be sure all sentences are complete. See Editing and Proofreading
- Correct spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.
- Change words that are not used correctly or are unclear.
- Make sure you are using the appropriate style formatting.
- Have someone else check your work.