The Writing Process
From Topic to First Draft

Follow the following seven easy steps for writing a great first draft in seven days.
I suggest you aim to complete one step every day
After you've received the topic (or after you've received the topic and completed any necessary reading), freewrite.  Write to yourself, "talking" to yourself on paper. If all the writing you do is for an audience, a "performance", you'll always feel somewhat scared ("stage fright") or intimidated by writing.  Write "off the top of your head".  Don't stop to think, write while thinking.  Don't worry about grammar, organization, etc.  Only you will read this writing.  (This writing should be like the writing we've done in Biggs, except you get to ask yourself all the questions!)
Freewrite for at least 20 minutes at least twice.            
2. After you've generated some raw ideas and thoughts through your freewrite, spend some time doing a focused freewrite.  At the top of the page or screen, write a sentence or phrase that, upon re-reading your freewrite, you find particularly striking or promising.  Freewrite again, but this time on that one line.  Now you're trying to develop your ideas rather than simply generate them, as you did in the freewrite.
Do at least 2 focused free-writes.          
3. Begin drafting.  But don't begin at the beginning!  How can you set up an essay before you've written it, if you don't really know what an essay's going to be like until it's written?  Start in the middle instead.  For instance, you might start by summarizing a few key passages of a reading you'll be discussing in the essay.
After on complete draft is done, start thinking about how it's organized.  (I suggest you do this after rather than before drafting).  In the margins of each paragraph, summarize that paragraph's main idea in 3 - 5 words.  If you can't do it, it probably means that your paragraph doesn't have a main idea, and you'll need to split it up, reorganize it, or combine it with another paragraph.  Then, write down all the main ideas in "scratch outline" form on another piece of paper.  See what this reveals about how your essay is structured, and make organizational changes in pen on hard copy.
5. Enter changes.              
6. Go through draft with pen on hard copy, this time focusing on sentence structure, transition, grammar, etc.
7. Enter changes.  Print out.  Take a deep breath and wait for feedback.

Go back to OCEAN!