Six basic essay prewriting steps

Most people may think that composing their paper is the hardest part of the writing process. In fact, there are six prewriting steps that you need to take before you even start making full sentences. So, if you think that you will just whip out an A paper by sitting down and writing, you may be very wrong. The further you go up the education ladder, the more these steps become a vital part of your writing process.

Just Breathe

You must be thinking, “You have got to be kidding me right?” Well, there is a good chance you are already stressing out over writing a paper, or you are trying to rush right into it without any forethought. In either case, taking a moment just to breathe and get focused is a good idea.


A good paper is going to require a lot of planning. Not only do you have to plan the topic you are going to write about, but you should also create a timeline to give you benchmarks helping you to stay on schedule. By doing this, you will be able to ensure that your paper will be done on time, and that you will be able to complete every step of the process including editing.


Don’t lock yourself into an idea too quickly. Take some time to write out some topics and associations or questions that you may have. This will open your mind to new possibilities and get some of the garbage thinking out before you sit down and start doing your research.


You may want to do some preliminary research on your topic so that you have an idea of what has already been written, where the good sources may be, and to help you either broaden or narrow what your topic is going to be. Even just a simple search online may help stir up some ideas to add to your brainstorming list, and this step will also prepare you better for your outline.


Map out your ideas in a logical order using an outline. This will help ensure that you drafting process will go smoother and your paper will be more coherent and concise.

Step Away

Before you start constructing your draft, take at least an hour, if not a day, to step away from the work you have done. This will give you more objectivity when you go to write your paper and will allow you to come into writing with a fresh attitude, and ready to conquer the task.