Writing eTips UpWrite Press - We Make Writing Work For You
March 2007 UpWrite Press - We Make Writing Work For You

The Writing Process: Prewriting
Writing well is challenging, but you can make the task simpler by using a model we call the “Writing Process.” In the book Write for Business: A Compact Guide to Writing & Communicating in the Workplace, you can see the model on page 120. It’s circular and shows how writers often go back and forth between prewriting, drafting, revising, and refining before they have a final draft that’s ready to send.

The first step in the writing process is prewriting. This step has two specific purposes:

1. Gathering Information
Once you know your topic, you need to gather all the information that’s relevant to it. This might include correspondence, memos, research, graphs, charts, or meeting notes. If you’re doing more detailed research, collect the books, papers, Internet resources, or other information you might need to draw from to make your point.

2. Organizing Your Ideas
Once you have the information you need, you must organize it. You can use a standard outline to group your ideas and details, or you can use a graphic organizer such as a T-bar, Venn diagram, or cluster chart. Experiment with different types of organizers to help you develop and arrange your ideas.

Once you have gathered and organized your information, you are ready to begin writing your first draft. We’ll cover that step of the writing process next month.

You can find examples of graphic organizers and learn more about prewriting on pages 122-125 of Write for Business: A Compact Guide to Writing & Communicating in the Workplace.

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Read more about UpWrite Press personal coaching.

That Little Extra
The words you choose make an impact not only by their meaning, but by their sound. This is called “diction,” and it can affect your writing voice. For example, letters with precise, crisp sounds—t, p, d, or hard g—create an no-nonsense tone:

take back, track down, take up

Soft sounds—m, n, l, or s—convey a gentler mood:

renounce, pursue, espouse

Check your diction to make sure it’s consistent with the voice you intend for your message.

Join Our Writers’ Forum
We invite you to be part of our monthly eTips. Each month we pose a question or problem regarding the use of writing in business. Send us your reply along with your name, your company’s name, and a brief description of what you do. We will print the best responses, and you will get your name out to our more than 5,000 subscribers! (We reserve the right to edit your remarks for fit and suitability.)

March Writers’ Forum Topic
How do you prepare to write? What strategies or tricks do you use to get ready for writing an important document, whether it’s a critical email message, a presentation, or a large report?

Email your response to writersforum@upwritepress.com. Write "March Writers’ Forum" in the subject line, and you could see your reply in the eTips Mid-Month Mini.

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Coming in April:
The Writing Process: Drafting
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eTips is a publication of UpWrite Press, Inc., P.O. Box 460, Burlington, Wisconsin 53105. Copyright © 2007, UpWrite Press. All rights reserved. Visit www.upwritepress.com.