Union Institute and University

Writing Center

writing-center@myunion.edu | 800-861-6400 ext. 1156

Symptom Tracker

Take It Step By Step…

You have probably heard people tell you to do a writing project in steps: maybe do some prewriting, make an outline, revise your drafts?

You may have avoided these steps because they seem time-consuming or confusing. You may even have tried these steps and felt like you didn’t get any results.

You may not want to believe it, but taking each writing project one step at a time is the best way to improve your writing. This is something that everybody who studies how people write agrees on.

While there are some people who are able to do several steps at one time in their heads, most writing problems are usually caused when people try to do too many separate steps at once.

Writing a college paper is a very complex skill, and if writers worry about where the commas go at the same time they are trying to figure out how to support an argument or to come up with a good main idea, they are sure to come up short in one area or the other.

Taking things one step at a time helps you to see where you are and what you should focus on

When you are prewriting, think only about your ideas. When you organize, you are in planning and arranging mode. As you write your first draft, it’s all about going with the flow. When it’s time to revise, then you’re open to seeing other ways to write it, and you welcome both positive and negative feedback on what you’ve got so far. When you’re finished with everything else, then it’s time to think about editing and whether you have punctuated correctly.

Follow the Writing Steps links on every page to improve your strategy every step of the way

This website is designed to help you figure out how to change your writing process in order to solve the problems you and others might see in your writing.