Move Back and Forth

While exploration comes first, it also comes second, third, and so on, for as long as you keep working. No matter how carefully considered your first ideas, the act of writing usually generates even better ones, all the way through the writing process, as you think about why you are writing, about what, and for whom. For example, when the purpose for writing is vague, as it may be when someone else makes an assignment, you may write to discover or clarify your purpose. (What is this assignment really about, anyway?) When you want to communicate to someone else, but aren't sure how you'll be received, try several different versions and figure out for yourself which works best. When I return to revise a chapter draft, I always explore and test the whole draft all over again, no matter how finished I thought it was the last time I wrote.

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