The writing process contains four steps: prewriting, drafting, revising and editing. These may each break down into multiple steps depending on the writer's personal methods.
Prewriting includes generating a topic and brainstorming, either mentally or on paper. It is aided by the use of free writing, notes or graphic organizers such as Venn diagrams, sequence charts, T-charts or cluster diagrams. The next prewriting step is research, which may include personal anecdotes, in-person interviews, books, websites, documents, videos or other sources. After the writer has a topic, ideas and sources, she must organize the information in a formal or informal outline to be ready for the next stage.
Drafting consists of getting ideas out on paper in an essay format for the first time. One of the most difficult pieces of drafting is generating a thesis statement or main argument.
Revising helps make the writer's text more reader-friendly. Writers must look honestly at their work to determine if their purpose has been met, if their claims are adequately supported and if their ideas are logically connected in a way that is apparent to an outside eye.
The editing stage requires a writer to review the text for grammatical, spelling, punctuation and wordiness errors before the piece is published.