Academic writing is hard, and most students struggle with their writing. Majority of students get their writing assignments and just throw it in their backpack not giving the essay a second thought until one day before the piece is due. Then the student scrambles to throw some unorganized paragraphs on the paper and turns it in. I wish writing essays were that simple, but unfortunately, effective essay writing requires planning, developing and attending to detail. Three stages help the writer begin his writing. The first step is prewriting; this is where the writer starts planning on what to write. The next step is drafting where the writer begins writing rough ideas and the third stage is revision where you compile and arrange those ideas.
Main steps in the writing process:
Since prewriting and drafting are essential steps in any writing process, my current writing process focuses emphasizes mainly on prewriting and drafting. I also need to incorporate revision into my process, because by exploring and practicing different revision strategies, I will be able to produce a well-written essay that communicates my intended message to the reader.
Prewriting is the first step in my writing process. The moment I get my writing prompt, I immediately begin to assess how I’m going to approach my writing. I start brainstorming all these great ideas, but as soon as I try to transcribe my thoughts into words, I get stuck, and that’s where I begin to procrastinate. All writers go through a procrastination phase.
In Donald Murray’s article “Write Before Writing” the author says “when I get an idea for a poem or article or a talk or a short story, I feel myself consciously draw away from it. I seek procrastination” (375). Murry calls this phase of the writing process struggle of writing an essential part of the writing. This is where you let the ideas you have sunk into your head so when the time comes, you should be able to get those thoughts jotted down on the paper without hesitation.
The next step in my writing process is drafting. I know when it’s time to stop prewriting and start drafting as I start seeing my essay takes shape in my head. That’s the sign for me to start writing. I make all my ideas and information I see and hear in my head and just write it all down. I don’t worry about how it sounds, I just try to put all my thoughts on a piece of paper, so I don’t lose any of my ideas. In Anne Lamott’s article “Shitty Frist Drafts” the author states that the first draft is where you start taking those images and thoughts in your head and just start writing down everything that comes to your mind even if it sounds crazy or does not make sense (Lamott). What Lamott is trying to say is don’t think about the quality of words and sentences you’re writing, just write what first pops into your mind as it will prevent your thoughts and ideas to get erased from your mind and will provide assistance further.
The last step in my writing process is the revision which I need to work on and start incorporating in my writing process to be able to produce a well-written essay that has an impact on my readers. This stage is the hardest one for me because I’m a beginner in this process. When it’s time for me to revise my paper, I’m only looking for repetition and grammatical errors, and whether I’m abiding by the rules. I can’t comprehend how to see the purpose of my writing. I rely on W.A.C. and the teachers to help with the semantics. In Nancy Sommers article “Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers” says “When student writers revise their writing, they are only looking for repetition and better word choice. Student writers do not see revision as a way to develop better ideas. One reason is that students are not taught proper revision strategies in school”. Sommers makes excellent points when it comes to how students view revision. I agree with Sommers on a point that student writers don’t know how to revise on a deeper level and that because students are being taught to write essays by the rules and not being taught the proper strategies on how to review on a textual level. As long as the students follow the rules, they feel they have accomplished what was asked of them so what is there to revise.
Sommers performed a case study with pupils and experienced writers. What she learned was that as a review plan, students often established a “thesaurus philosophy of writing,” meaning that they have a belief that majority of the issues in their essays can be resolved by paraphrasing (381). It was interesting for Sommers to see how students merely reviewed their writings by the use of improved verses and eradicating arguments that are not wanted. Thus solved the direct complications, but could not see problems on a literal level (382). Iabsolutely agree that learners, counting myself, do not review appropriately for this precise motive; though, I am curious whether it is because we do not recognize what it means to review. The point is that we are deficient of thoughtfulness in the implication of following and revising verbal modifications. Consequently, “because students do not see revision as an activity in which they modify and develop perspectives and ideas, they feel that if they know what they want to say, then there is little reason for making revisions” (382).
The case study that Sommers carried out has shown me that if we students want to become improved writers, we must perform the modification to the fullest. The student writer requires displaying through revision intricate thoughtfulness of what thoughts are to be removed or added into the transcript (385). Accurate reconsideration is certainly a procedure of systematic, planned reflection and accomplishment of the script; it is compulsory to bring about a well-communicated argument to the readers using the suitable usage of inducement. To improve our inscription, we must contempt reviewing as an artless approach and consequently familiarize methods that generate a sense in our writings.
According to Sommers, students are capable of finding the minor mistakes in their writing, but they are not skillful enough in recognizing issues related to the whole text. On the contrary, the specialist in writing is greatly focused on alterations of form and shape in the discussion. The main goal is to come up with the finest argument, the writing must be drafted by repetition until the aim of the writer is achieved, and hence can be received effectively by the projected audience. The experienced writer views revision as a constant process which plays an essential role in the improvement of the written material.
In the end, I would like to say that the students can turn into good writers by changing their writing in every promising way. This refers to make use of each characteristic of amendment; not only the replacement or removal of verses but rather in the inspection of the whole script. The determination is not to review until the argument is reached to its readers in its full form. Being learners of the writing process, we must reminisce to inquire ourselves: “what does my essay as a whole need for form, balance, rhythm, or communication” (386). The amendment is not a direct job; it is persistent. With every stage, the writer emphasizes on a specific aspect to each distinct portion of the manuscript, and as an outcome is capable to progress and clarify his or her thoughts openly.
Goldberg, Natalie. Writing down the bones: Freeing the writer within. Shambhala Publications, 2005.
Lamott, Anne. “Shitty first drafts.” Bird by Bird: Some instructions on writing and life (1994): 21-26.
Murray, Donald M. “Write before writing.” College Composition and Communication 29.4 (1978): 375-381.
Sommers, Nancy. “Revision strategies of student writers and experienced adult writers.” College Composition and communication 31.4 (1980): 378-388.