Stage 1. Think (Step 2)
Photo by Veerasak Piyawatanakul
If you generated ideas and selected a manageable one, you still should not go straight into writing. If you do, every time you have a “better idea,” you will find yourself rewriting paragraphs, moving ideas around, and wasting a lot of time.
Wasting time and having to rewrite things can be frustrating. You should first plan how you want to develop your ideas!
Writing without a plan is like navigating a new city without an itinerary or a map. You will likely get lost and spend your trip trying to re-orient yourself. Letting things happen as you go along can be adventurous if you’re on vacation; however, it does not work very well if you’re writing on a deadline.
Planning Your Writing
You should first consider your topic, purpose, and audience.
How broad or how narrow is your topic?
If you were assigned a specific topic, much has already been decided for you. Other times, your task is to write about a broad topic, subject, or area. Either way, be sure to know both exactly (1) what your topic is,
(2) how broad or narrow it is, and (3) how broad or narrow you want it to be if that is a choice you have.
Your prewriting helped you generate ideas, but you may have ended up with too few or too many ideas. Too few ideas will leave you without enough to write about; too many, and you won’t be able to develop your ideas fully. Make sure you have enough to say about the topic but, at the same time, keep it manageable.
Too little. If you fear you may have too little to write about, use one of the prewriting techniques again but, this time, limit its scope to what you already generated. Expand that idea or ideas.
Too much. If you believe you may have too much to write about, consider limiting its scope to something more manageable. Unless you are writing a long book, you sometimes need to throw out what you think are good ideas, but that is part of the process.