The Writing Process of a Writing Center Tutor
Welcome back, Writing Center family! It’s Annie again! I hope you had a wonderful winter break and are adjusting well to the spring semester. You will probably be asked to complete a writing assignment soon. I know the process of writing again can be difficult when you’ve spent a little while away from the classroom. As such, I thought it would be useful to explain my writing process to you. By reading about my writing process, you might find some aspects that would be helpful to add to your own process or may just feel inspired to begin writing again.
When I’m assigned an essay, my immediate reaction is to begin writing. I want to get all of my ideas on the paper and create my final piece as soon as possible. However, I understand that I need to decide what to write before I put my pencil on paper. I usually set a timer for an hour to two hours to brainstorm topics for the essay. On a scrap piece of paper, I write down a list of things related to the assigned topic that interest me or are relevant. I read over the assignment sheet and add ideas that need to be included. I sometimes research about the topic by reading online or skimming some articles if I’m not entirely sure what I should write about.
Brainstorm ideas for your writing assignment!
2. Write the first draft
After I have finished brainstorming what I’m going to write, I write the first draft without hitting the backspace key a single time, editing the paper, or stopping to reread what I wrote. By refusing to look back, I stop myself from attempting to correct anything I write and I push myself to write all my ideas as they come to my mind. My first draft is often full of incomplete sentences, paragraphs without a clear topic, and misspelled words. While this process may appear like I’m writing an incoherent piece at the moment, it actually allows me to write down every idea I could include in the essay and every direction I could take with the essay. I can use this information to form my final paper.
3. Read through the first draft
Once I complete the first draft, I read through the draft a few times. I focus on analyzing the arguments in the essay and ignore any misspellings or grammar issues. I identify strong ideas and arguments I wrote and highlight those areas. I also search for the central argument of my paper and write this argument down to use as my thesis. With a thesis written down and my strong arguments highlighted, I now know the main argument and supporting arguments I will include in my essay. However, there are times where I really struggle to identify this information in my first draft. I visit the Writing Center on those occasions because the tutors will read my draft and talk through my ideas with me. We work together to find my thesis and main arguments.
Read through your first draft!
4. Write the remaining drafts
Upon identifying my thesis and supporting arguments, I begin writing the remaining drafts of my essay. A typical writing process can involve multiple drafts, with the number of drafts varying based on the writer’s process and the assignment. In my writing process, I tend to focus on the high order concerns, such as the thesis, in my first drafts, and focus on lower order concerns, such as grammar and spelling, in my later drafts. As such, my next two drafts of the essay are usually focused on writing a clear argument in the thesis and supporting this argument in the body paragraphs. I add a catchy introduction and strong conclusion in the fourth draft. In the fifth and sixth draft, I focus on revising the clarity of my sentences and ideas, the polish of the document, and other areas of the writing. In between almost all of these drafts, I visit the Writing Center. I use each visit to receive an extra set of eyes on the area I’m focusing on in each draft. If I’m working on my third draft, I request feedback on my thesis and main arguments. I later ask for input on the impact of my introduction when I return with my fourth draft. By visiting the Writing Center and creating these multiple drafts, I’m available to create my final draft of the essay.
5. Take a break and return to the writing
When I’m on the final draft of my essay, I often struggle to stop revising the paper. I want to keep adding onto the ideas and ensuring that every word fits into the essay because I’m a perfectionist. While revising is important, overdoing the revision process can result in making the paper worse. I try to step away from the final draft of my essay for 24 to 48 hours, depending on how much time I have before the deadline. I avoid even thinking about the paper by working on assignments for other classes and doing activities I enjoy. After this break, I return to the paper with a fresh set of eyes. I make the final edits using this fresh set of eyes and return to the Writing Center one last time to receive some final comments. With the feedback from myself and a Writing Center tutor, I’m able to finish revising and submit the final draft of my essay.
Visit the Writing Center to receive final feedback!
I hope that reading about my writing process helped you with your own process and inspired you to begin writing! No matter what stage of the writing process you’re in, you can always stop by the Writing Center to receive help. We’re happy to discuss your ideas for an essay or revise a draft you have written. You’re also welcome to visit the Writing Center to receive tips on your writing process or hear about the writing process of other tutors. The Writing Center opens this Thursday, January 20, so schedule an appointment anytime this week or next week for help on your writing assignments and to discuss your writing process!
Stop by the Writing Center soon!