LEOLEO: Literacy Education Online

The Writing Process

The Writing Process

Successful writing involves allowing enough time for each stage of writing. Each writer and assignment is different, but listed below is an approximate timeline to complete all of the activities for various papers.

Time Management
A research paper may take 5-8 weeks.
A long paper (10 pages) may take 3-5 weeks.
A shorter paper (3-5 pages) may take 1-2 weeks.
A short theme or paper (1-3 pages) may take 1-2 weeks.

Successful writers usually follow a general writing guideline of steps. Not every writer needs to do each step, and sometimes a step may need to be repeated, omitted, or moved to another location in the process. For example, some writers prefer to generate details and support before narrowing the topic. Following is a list to use as a starting point for developing you own methods and processes for writing.

A General Writing Guideline
  1. Find an idea or topic.

  2. Formulate a thesis - narrow the topic.

  3. Generate details - facts, examples, and support.

  4. Outline if it seems helpful.

  5. Write your first draft.

  6. Let things rest for a day or two.

  7. Revise - look at the paper from the reader's point of view; reorganize and add explanations where necessary.

  8. Let things rest again.

  9. Revise again.

  10. Type the final draft.

  11. Proofread at least three times - once aloud, once for any errors you habitually make, and once backwards.

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© 1995-2003 The Write Place
LEO: Literacy Education Online
This handout was revised by Vicki Vialle for the Write Place, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota. It may be copied for educational purposes only. If you copy this document, please include our copyright notice and the name of the writers; if you revise it, please add your name to the list of writers.

Last update: 10 October 2003

URL: http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/acadwrite/writeproc.html