The Roadrunner's Guide to English: Drafting
Writing the paper
Once you’ve gotten into the habit of planning, you may well find that the actual writing of the essay is relatively easy. If you have the basic plan laid out, you can follow it as you explain your thoughts. You don’t have to follow it in exact order, though. If you find it easier to start with one of the body paragraphs even though the introduction will ultimately be the first thing a reader sees, feel free. You can put everything in order later.
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Writing outside of class
Writing on a time limit while you're in class is a special situation, and it's discussed at length in the chapter on writing in class. If your essay is one that you write as homework, though, your job as a writer is easier. As long as you manage your time well, you don’t have to worry about time limits. You may also be able to write on a computer, which of course makes rearranging and editing much easier.
You should follow the same steps in the writing process: planning, composing, revising, editing, and proofreading. One tip that will help you is to plan your steps to take place at different times. If you take a break between planning and composing, new and useful ideas may occur to you. If you set your essay aside once you’ve composed it and come back to revising in a day or two, you will do a much better job because you’ll be able to see the essay more as a reader does. Finally, if you can, set it aside for another day before proofreading and editing. You’ll find you catch many more mistakes than you would if you tried to proofread right after finishing it.