Writing in its broad sense—as distinct from simply putting words on paper—has three steps: thinking about it, doing it, and doing it again (and again and again, as often as time will allow and patience will endure).
The step, "thinking," involves choosing a subject, exploring ways of developing it, and devising strategies of organization and style. The second step, "doing," is usually called "drafting"; and the third, "doing again," is "revising." The next several chapters take a brief look at these steps of the writing process.
First a warning. They're not really "steps," not in the usual sense anyway. You don't write by (1) doing all your thinking, (2) finishing a draft, and then (3) completing a revision. Actually you do all these things at once.
If that sounds mysterious, it's because writing is a complex activity. As you think about a topic you are already beginning to select words and construct other words, to draft. As you draft and as you revise, the thinking goes on: you discover new ideas, realize you've gone down a dead end, discover an implication you hadn't seen before.
It's helpful to conceive of writing as a process having, in a broad and loose sense, three steps. But remember that you don't move from step to step in smooth and steady progress. You go back and forth. As you work on a composition you will be, at any given point, concentrating on one phase of writing. But always you are engaged with the process in its entirety.
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