What Is “THE Writing Process”?

Process-oriented writing instruction is based on research into how “real” or “real-world” writers compose texts, a process that differs from the typical student’s process of writing for school. The student typically begins a paper late, working under deadline pressure, and produces one draft of the text, runs the spellchecker, prints, and turns in the paper. But in “real-world” writing, most writers producing texts for presentation and publication compose multiple drafts. They often engage as well in a variety of planning activities, solicit feedback, and follow a recursive pattern of drafting, raising questions that require returning to research, then revising in light of new information as needed. Process-based writing instruction attempts to duplicate this time-consuming approach to writing in the classroom. Typically, process instruction devotes some time to prewriting or invention activities (getting ideas, beginning to plan), drafting, seeking feedback from peers or the instructor, revising on the whole-text level (looking at the overall focus, reconsidering organization, deciding whether there is enough evidence, etc.), followed by revising at the paragraph or sentence level, proofreading, and “publishing” or printing the final text.


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