Depending on the kind of text, the pre-writing or invention stage will consist of different activities. Usually, some kind of reading, experimenting, or data collection, as well as the formulation of a thesis (often in the form of a thesis statement) is necessary before actual writing can begin. Here, we offer advice on some central aspects of the pre-writing stage that are connected with writing.
The pre-writing stage consists of all the work that is done before actual text production takes place. Thus, reading of background material, performing experiments and other kinds of data collection, analysing the material that is under investigation, etc. are tasks that are part of the pre-writing stage which will ultimately affect the actual writing process.
In an early article on process-oriented writing, Rohman (1965) emphasised the importance of the pre-writing stage, describing it as "the stage of discovery in the writing process when a person assimilates his 'subject' to himself" (p. 106). This is worth considering; during this assimilation process, the writer’s approach to his or her project develops.
Suggested AWELU resources for the pre-writing stage
Other pre-writing activities will affect the text in more direct ways. Identifying potential or actual readers of the text will affect the amount of background information that needs to be provided. For example, anyone who reads a scientific paper published in a medical journal will be expected to have enough background knowledge of basic anatomy so that a writer will not need to provide detailed information about where, say, a particular muscle is located, but can simply refer to it by name. This means that before you start writing you need to know what demands are placed on your writing from a scholarly point of view.
Writing is a skill that needs practice. We have listed some advice regarding note-taking and other pre-writing techniques that are of relevance during the initial part of the writing process:
- Writing at university
You also need to make sure that you know what kind of text is required:
Likewise, it is important to identify possible difficulties in writing in English. Find out in what way AWELU resources can help: