There are a number of different ways the steps of the writing process can be defined and sequenced. I prefer the arrangement shown below because it can easily be recalled with the mnemonic device PODRE.
- Prewriting – Generating ideas about the topic
- Organizing – Arranging ideas
- Drafting – Putting ideas into sentences and paragraphs
- Revising – Rewriting for logic, clarity, and cohesion
- Editing – Proofreading and correcting spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors.
Prewriting is the essential first step to the writing process. The goal of prewriting is to generate ideas–lots of ideas–and access unconscious material. Thus it is important that the critical mind be “turned off” during this stage of the writing process. There are many different prewriting techniques, and they appeal to different types of thinkers. It is not necessary to use the same prewriting technique all the time; different types of writing, in fact, may benefit more from one of the particular prewriting techniques listing below.
- Freewriting – Writing about the topic continuously and without self-censorship or concern for spelling, punctuation, and grammar
- Clustering (Mapping) – Using a diagram to arrange and connect points related to the topic
- Questioning – Producing a series of questions related to the topic
- Brainstorming – Noting points brought up by discussing the topic with others
- Listing – Creating a simple vertical list of ideas related to the topic
- Outlining – Employing an informal version of the traditional writing outline