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Writing Process


For those of us who like a certain order to things, the iterative nature of writing can be a bit frustrating. However, as we think and live in tangential ways, so goes how we approach the writing process. Writing is, after all, simply thinking and feeling on paper.

We might draft a bit, revise some, brainstorm in myriad ways, move whole sections around, reverse outline to check our logic and organization, and finally copyedit—all as permitted by the inevitable deadline, of course.

There is a time-tested order for writing: brainstorm, research, draft, revise, and polish. At the same time, we encourage you to give yourself the time, space, and permission to move back and forth between these stages, making sure you remain on a forward tragetory overall. Accept that byways happen, and start anywhere—in the middle, even!

For a clear, engaging explanation of these ideas, view our NPS-specific "The Writing Process" slides and video, from the GWC's quarterly presentation, "Foundations of Academic Writing." To help you build a disciplined writing practice, consider Julia Cameron's Morning Pages method.

Our Writing Process sequence, available via the menu on the left, contains the following topics: Audience and Purpose, Brainstorming, Overcoming Writer's Block, Drafting, Revision, Proofreading, and Group Writing.
 

General Writing Process Links

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All-Topics Index


The following index makes searching for a specific topic easier and links to the appropriate place in the sequenced material. We think we have most of them, but please email us at writingcenter@nps.edu if we are missing something!

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A

abbreviations

abstracts

academic writing

acronyms

active voice

apostrophes

argument

article usage

assignments, understanding them

audience

 

B

body paragraphs

brainstorming

building better sentences tips

 

C

citations

citation styles

clarity

clustering

coaching sessions, about

colons

commas, FANBOYS

commas, introductory

commas, list

commas, nonessential elements

commas, Oxford

commonly confused words 

compare-and-contrast papers 

concision

conclusions

conjunctive adverbs

coordinating conjunctions

copyright and fair use

critical thinking  

 

D

dangling modifiers

dashes

dependent marker words

double submission of coursework

drafting

 

E

edit your own work

editing – outside editors

exclamation points

executive summary

 

F

FANBOYS

FAQs

footnotes

free-writing

 

G

gerunds

grammar

group writing

 

H

hyphens

 

I

ibid.

introductions

 

J

Joining the Academic Conversation

 

L

LaTeX

library liaisons 

literature reviews 

logic and analysis 

 

M

memos

methodologies

 

N

note-taking

numbers

 

O

organization

outlining

Oxford comma

 

P

paragraph development 

parallelism

paraphrasing

parts of speech

passive voice

periods

persuasion

phrases and clauses

plagiarism, how to avoid through citations

plain language

polishing

prepositional phrases 

prepositions

pronouns

punctuation

purpose of research

 

Q

questions

quotation marks 

quoting

 

R

reading with intent

redundancies                                                                

reference software

reflection papers 

research

research questions

reverse outlining 

revising passive voice into active voice

revision

roadmaps                                            

run-on sentences 

 

S

self-citing

semi-colons

subjects, grammatical

significance

so-what?

spelling

standard essay structure

STEM/technical writing 

style

subject/verb agreement

 

T

technical writing

that vs. which

thesis writing

thesis advisors

thesis process overview

thesis process tips

thesis proposals – common elements                                                     

thesis statements

tone, professional

topic sentences 

transitions

types of papers

 

U

United States or U.S.?

 

V

verbs and verb tense

 

W

which vs. that

Why write?

writer’s block 

writing process