The writing process can be explained as a series of steps including brainstorming, outlining, drafting, revising and editing. While these steps usually occur in order, many writers work through their own distinct writing process before arriving at a final draft.
Brainstorming, the process of generating ideas for writing, typically occurs first in the writing process. During the brainstorming stage, writers may come up with numerous ideas, many of which are modified or eliminated before the actual writing begins.
Outlining is the act of structuring or mapping out a piece of writing. Writers take the ideas generated through brainstorming and arrange them in a logical order that makes sense for readers. An outline is a foundation upon which the rest of the piece is built.
Drafting is the actual process of writing the piece, and this stage typically requires the greatest amount of time. Drafting does not generate perfectly polished writing, but instead gets the writer’s ideas out onto the page, determining the overall direction of the piece and creating most of its content.
Revising and editing are the final steps in the writing process. While they are often used interchangeably, the two terms have distinct meanings. Revising is the process of rereading and modifying the writing’s content, making sure the piece is concise, makes sense and is arranged coherently. Editing involves rereading for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, awkward phrasing or other typographical errors.