Writing Skills: Pre-Writing

Now, I have an apology to make. When I wrote this article, I didn’t pre-write! The very thing I am trying to teach, I am not doing. However, I am going to give you an example of the difference pre-writing can make. I will pre-write what I have just written and then re-write it.

Without pre-writing:

Writing is essential whether you become a journalist, engineer or artist. In all jobs you will need the writing skill in order to clearly communicate, write resumes, descriptions of your products. So, learn to write. But not well. Excellent. All it takes is practice and the right methods.

The key to becoming a successful writer is to use what is referred to as ‘pre-writing.’ Although many of you are probably familiar with certain steps in this process, all the steps in the correct order is what makes perfect writing over time.

When writing, you have a subject. Normally you will have topics and sub-topics which follow to explain this subject. This is done for the entire essay, whether a page, ten pages, a paragraph or a sentence. If your paper is not organized properly your reader will not feel inclined to read it. For this reason, if you plan to be a proactive and known writer, you should learn to effectively organize your paper.

Pre-writing begins with a a drafting of ideas, related or not, for your paper. This is called brainstorming. When you brainstorm you must write down all ideas that come into your head about the subject. Sometimes they are not related. Write them down anyway. Later you can choose which ideas to keep.

The next step is selecting which ideas and details you will include in your paper. When doing this you must always keep in mind the scope and goal of your essay. If you are going to talk about eighteenth dynasty of Egypt, then you would not want to give details about a certain pharaoh’s dress code or food.

Once you have selected your ideas, you organize them into categories. I use colors to help me remember which details go into which category. However, you must also decide if the ‘religion’ category will include the gods of Egypt or if you will put those details into the category of ‘gods.’

When you have categorized, the next step would be prioritizing. This is one of the most critical steps to the layout of your paper. If it is not correct you writing will not flow well enough to make your reader enjoy the essay. Take each category and decide which details come first/last. Then you do this for all the categories. You can prioritize in several ways: chronologically, in order of importance or spatial order.

When you have done all these steps you are ready to write your draft. Remember: always review your draft afterwards. Reviewing a day later gives you a fresh and different view on your own writing.

Here is my pre-written version:

Writing is a skill that is essential in all fields of study, whether it be engineering, science, art or journalism. You will always need this ability in order to write resumes, persuade someone, sell something, write a newspaper column or clearly correspond with your employer by e-mail. You must learn to write excellently.  To write with excellence you must know how to organize your paper.

Pre-writing is the number one tool to help you effectively organize your thoughts into a coherent paper. However, you must be disciplined enough to do the pre-writing for all your writing projects. These can be e-mails, sentences, essays or books.

Brainstorming on your main subject is the first step to this organizational process. When you brainstorm, you must put down all your ideas, whether visibly related or not. Later on you can choose whether or not to keep the details.

The selection of those ideas for your paper comes next. Remember to always keep in mind the scope of your paper. For example: you wouldn’t want to put descriptive details about an Egyptian pharaoh’s dress code when talking about the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt.

The third step is the categorization of your chosen ideas. Put all the ideas into different categories as they relate to each other.

The last step is prioritizing. This is the most important step in the pre-writing process. If it is not done properly, your readers will disregard your writing. This is because the ideas will not flow properly. There are three ways to prioritize your paper: in order of importance, chronologically or spatially.

Now you are ready for your first draft. After you have written it, review it. Reviewing your paper a day later can help bring a fresh view onto it, which enables you to catch more mistakes.

Here is my pre-writing for this article: 

SUBJECT: Pre-writing

BRAINSTORM:

  • writing is essential in all fields of study
  • engineer, writer, journalist, artist etc…
  • need skill to communicate, resumes, persuasiveness for selling
  • learn to write: excellent
  • most important: follow your pre-writing
  • key to becoming successful writer: pre-writing
  • all papers have subjects
  • there are topics and sub-topics to explain the subject
  • must do this for all papers
  • short, long, sentence, ten pages
  • must learn to effectively organize your paper
  • your reader will read more if you do this
  • if you want to become an effective, influential writer: do this
  • pre-writing begins with brainstorming
  • brainstorming is where you put down all ideas, related or not
  • write all ideas down, even if they are not related
  • you can choose which ideas to keep later
  • selecting the ideas is the next step
  • keep in mind the scope of the essay or paper
  • example: don’t put details about a pharaoh’s dress code when talking about eighteenth dynasty of Egypt
  • next: categorize
  • put all details into different categories
  • must choose
  • example: whether or not to put Egypt’s gods into the category ‘religion’ or ‘gods’
  • after this prioritize
  • very important
  • if not done properly, no readers
  • writing will not flow
  • three ways
  • chronologically, spatially, in order of importance
  • now ready for first draft
  • always review
  • perhaps a day later
  • fresh view
  • pre-writing is how to effectively organize your paper

SELECTION AND CATEGORIZATION:

(note: I will use the bold for different categories)

  • writing is essential in all fields of study
    • engineer, writer, journalist, artist etc…
    • need skill to communicate, resumes, persuasiveness for selling
    • must learn to write: excellent
    • must learn to effectively organize your paper
  • pre-writing
    • most important: follow your pre-writing
    • key to becoming successful writer: pre-writing
    • how to effectively organize your paper
      • must do this for all papers
        • short, long, sentence, ten pages
  • pre-writing begins with brainstorming on your main subject
    • brainstorming is where you put down all ideas
      • related or not
      • you can choose which ideas to keep later
  • selecting the ideas is the next step
    • keep in mind the scope of the essay or paper
    • example: don’t put details about a pharaoh’s dress code when talking about eighteenth dynasty of Egypt
  • next: categorize
    • put all details into different categories
  • after this prioritize
    • very important if not done properly, no readers
    • writing will not flow
    • three ways
      • chronologically, spatially, in order of importance
  • now ready for first draft
    • always review
      • perhaps a day later
      • fresh view

PRIORITIZATION:

  1. writing is essential in all fields of study
    • engineer, writer, journalist, artist etc…
    • need skill to communicate, resumes, persuasiveness for selling
    • must learn to write: excellent
      • to do this you must learn to effectively organize your paper
  2. pre-writing
    • is how to effectively organize your paper
    • must do this for all papers
      • short, long, sentence, ten pages
  3. pre-writing begins with brainstorming on your main subject
    • brainstorming is where you put down all ideas
      • related or not
      • you can choose which ideas to keep later
  4. selecting the ideas is the next step
    • keep in mind the scope of the essay or paper
      • example: don’t put details about a pharaoh’s dress code when talking about eighteenth dynasty of Egypt
  5. next: categorize
    • put all details into different categories
  6. after this prioritize
    • very important if not done properly, no readers
      • writing will not flow
    • three ways
      • chronologically, spatially, in order of importance
  7. now ready for first draft
    • always review
      • perhaps a day later
      • fresh view

MOST IMPORTANT: FOLLOW YOUR PRE-WRITING

So, can you tell the difference? I hope that this will help all who read it become better writers. It has helped me and even though I never liked writing, it has now become easier and more fun. 🙂

9 thoughts on “Writing Skills: Pre-Writing

  1. Yes this is taught in 8th English but I don’t do mind maps since they don’t really help me they just waste time. I instead gather notes in a list then organize them into an outline and go from there.

    Like

  2. My Personal Finance report was Pre written and then when I was posting it found a lot of repeats and changed it a little and it made more sense than my paper assignment did. After reading your essay I think I will give it try for the books I’m working on. Thank you.

    Like

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