Matter-of-factly, writing is an art. It involves creative thinking and an effective use of words to express ideas. To compose a good essay or an article, you need to organize your thoughts, plan the structure of the write-up, and then express your ideas using the right words. The tone you maintain should befit the subject and the choice of words should be based on not just their meaning but also the context in which they are used. If you have done any kind of formal writing or written for a publication, you must be aware that the writing has to go through certain steps before your first draft becomes a final copy. You write, rewrite, proofread, correct errors, reorganize or restructure the content as required, edit it yourself (or get that done from an editor), after which the final draft of your writing is created.
These steps are essentially the components of the process of writing. There is no denying that writing is an art and in tying it into a process, its most important elements such as creativity and spontaneity should not be lost. But for any piece of writing to be effective, what's equally important is the organization of ideas and the transitions that give the write-up a flow. A good flow is what makes the piece engaging. For all these things to come together to make a beautiful piece of writing, you follow certain steps that make the components of the writing process. Here's more on these components of writing that explain how a little idea evolves into a full-fledged composition.
This is the step that helps you find the right words for your expression. It involves a thorough research on the subject to write on and the gathering of all the information about it, from all the available sources (books or online). This is an important component of the process of writing, as it includes the gathering and organizing of information that would be going into your write-up. It may include talking to people or taking interviews in order to gather relevant information. It includes choosing a topic, becoming aware of the audience, brainstorming and/or discussing your idea, and organizing your thoughts and the information obtained. At this step, you create an outline of your essay/article. In case of a story, prewriting will also involve sketching of its characters.
Though most sources give choosing a topic as a part of the prewriting step, it deserves a separate mention, as it involves the identification of a topic that is most suited for a given audience at a given point of time. In finding a topic to write on, you should ask yourself who you are writing it for and how comfortable you are with writing on it. Depending on the age, gender, and cultural background of your intended audience, you should choose a topic that they will be able to connect with. You should also know the purpose of your writing. Are you intending to entertain the readers? Or do you want to inspire them? Do you wish you make them laugh? Or do you intend to make them think? Answers to these questions will tell you the kind of topic and the style of writing that you should use. Also, you should not choose something you are not comfortable with or not capable of. These factors will then determine what you write on and how.
After the information is gathered and once your thoughts are organized, the next step is to make a systematic draft of the same. It requires you to organize the gathered information in a systematic manner, such that one idea is discussed per paragraph or similar ideas are given under the same section of the write-up. If you are writing a story, the incidents have to be mentioned in the right order and in such a way that the story gets a flow. The organizing of information when writing, requires the use of logic. The draft should be such that the message you want to give to the readers in conveyed in an effective way. So that the draft is comprehensive, you may need to include different perspectives of the subject you are handling and ensure that all its aspects are properly covered.
The next important component of the process of writing is revising the draft. It is the phase in which you need to correct the errors in the draft and also think of ways to improve your writing. You may like to revise the way you have conveyed certain ideas or the words you have chosen to say a certain thing. You may wish to revise your style of writing or the manner in which the information has been laid out. It might include rearranging content, replacing certain parts of the write-up, adding or removing of content, etc. For revising, you may choose to involve responses from peers or evaluate the write-up yourself. Revising is an important constituent of writing as it requires you to give another thought to your own writing and change it as and where needed. This is the step in which you decide on the approach to take and the views or opinions to express.
The process of editing is another important component of writing. When you are satisfied with your essay/article, you can take it through the process of editing. It is the opportunity to get your writing looked at from a totally different perspective and change or improve it if needed. This is the step at which the write-up gets its finishing touches. In editing, your writing will be scrutinized for errors in grammar, spelling, punctuations, formatting, and use of language. Mistakes, if any, can be corrected at the editing stage, before the write-up is published.
When your writing is published, it becomes open to reader feedback. Depending on the quality of your written work, you may be appreciated or criticized by the readers. Getting the work published is the goal of a writer and also the final step in the process of writing. Publishing of the work gives you the opportunity to connect with your readers and receive their feedback. Their response determines the popularity of your work and helps you improve for the better.
What you use throughout the process of writing, and especially in the prewriting and revising steps, is your mental capacity. Your written expression originates from your thoughts. You have ideas, you build on them, you think of good words, form sentences, express your views and give your writing a structure and a flow. Apart from planning and organizing your thoughts and putting them in the right words, you also use figurative language, you play with words, and you may use imagery to add to the impact of the writing. This requires you to visualize and imagine. Initially, you have abstract ideas. You build on and extend some of them, discard others, and give your ideas a concrete form. This requires the use of your imagination, vocabulary, and other language skills. You need to analyze and even criticize your own thoughts, and improve on them before putting them in the written form. Thus, writing involves the use of research, memory, and analytical skills. Simply put, you use your mind to word your thoughts and express yourself in an effective way. Depending on the kind of writing, you may use various mental faculties as required. A persuasive essay, for example, will require the use of your convincing abilities in writing, a true story will require recalling incidents and organizing them in the right order, while a comedy will require you to use humor or sarcasm.
This was a summary of the components of the writing process. It is the process by which an idea that developed in the writer's mind reaches the readers.