Wordsmith 5e Ch01 Essay

Submitted By KenpachiSama
Words: 4845
Pages: 20

PA R T 1 : C o m p o s i t i o n


The Writing Process
Chapter Goal: Develop an understanding of the writing process and write a clear, organized paragraph.

Your ideas may seem scattered, disorganized, jumbled, and downright messy, but the writing process can help you funnel them and shape them into real


ISBN 1-256-69932-2

riting is not a single act, but a process composed of several steps. As with most processes—swinging a baseball bat, playing the clarinet, or surfing the Internet—it is sometimes easier to do than to analyze. When people try to analyze how they write, their descriptions of the process are uniquely their own. Yet from a sea of individual accounts, the same steps emerge.


Wordsmith: A Guide to Paragraphs and Short Essays, Fifth Edition, by Pamela Arlov. Published by Longman. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc.



Focus on the Writing Process: Completing the Steps
Admittedly, the “Sorry we’re open” sign in the photograph is probably the product of someone’s slightly warped sense of humor. But as it brings a smile to your face, it may also serve as a reminder of the need to proofread carefully.
Often, the temptation to let prewriting, revision, or proofreading slide is hard to resist.
But every step contributes to the final product. Taking time to complete all the steps in the writing process can be your personal form of quality control.
Reflect on It
1. Write down a process that you do that requires several steps.
2. List the steps in the order in which you do them.
3. Analyze the process. Is it a flexible process, like the writing process, that allows you to go back to a previous step if you need to? Or is it a process more like cooking, which does not allow you to add an egg once the cake is in the oven?
4. Finally, think about the importance of each step in your process. What would happen if you left out a step?
One writer, Antonio, describes the process this way:

Wordsmith: A Guide to Paragraphs and Short Essays, Fifth Edition, by Pamela Arlov. Published by Longman. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc.

ISBN 1-256-69932-2

Well, first, I need time to think. If I have a while before the paper is due,
I never start right away. Some people might call it procrastination, but it works for me. After the ideas have had time to percolate, I sit at the computer and just start writing. I just let my ideas flow, good or bad. If that doesn’t work, sometimes I try a more organized approach, jotting down an outline. It’s all a part of finding my focus. Then, once I know what I want to say, I just write. I am a slow writer because I try to get it right the first time.
But I never do. If I look at it the next day, I see where the holes are—where
I’ve left out details. I’m bad about that. So my second draft is always better than my first. When I’m finished, I check to make sure my commas are in the right place and my grammar is okay. Then I’m ready to turn it in.



The Writing Process
Visit MyWriting
Lab for additional practice with the writing process. Though everyone approaches writing a little differently, most people follow a process similar to the one just described. The writer in the example above may not be aware of it, but he is following all of the steps in the writing process: prewriting, planning, drafting, revising, and proofreading.

“. . . first, I need time to think.”
Prewriting covers a range of activity from casually thinking about your topic to going through a prewriting exercise to get your thoughts on paper. You will probably find yourself doing some form of prewriting throughout the writing process. When you are sitting at a traffic light and the perfect example to illustrate your point pops into your head, you are prewriting. When you realize that your paragraph isn’t working the way you wanted and you stop to list ideas or figure out another approach, you are returning to the