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SPARK: Writing Step by Step

A resource for students wanting to improve their academic and research skills.

Writing Strategies (Step by Step)

Use the options in the drop down menu under the "Writing Step by Step" tab to select a page to view, or use the "previous" and "next" buttons at the bottom of each page to work through the modules in order.

The Writing Process

As you prepare to write, review the assignment instructions carefully and be sure you understand your instructor’s expectations for your writing assignment, such as: 

  • the length your paper should be
  • the sources you should be using (like journal articles or other scholarly sources) and the sources you should be avoiding (like random websites)
  • what kind of paper you are supposed to write (a lab report, an essay, an analysis, a discussion)
  • what your professor is expecting your paper to be about.

Many students imagine the writing process is a single path: they think writing involves reading a bit, reflecting a little, then sitting down to write continuously from beginning to end. While there might be a few writers who work this way, in most cases, writing is a much more complex process.

Assuming that writing is a smooth linear process can actually hold you back; it can lead to feelings of confusion and incompetence that make it difficult to get started. In fact, it is perfectly normal to have false starts, second thoughts, and multiple revisions. These aspects are typical of a productive writing process. See the Time Management module for strategies to assist your planning.