An Honest Pre-Writing Experience

I’ve pre-written many papers before.  But I can’t ever remember partaking in serious pre-writing when 5 points weren’t rewarded for it.  I can remember times in high school when I would create the outline I was supposed to have made for my paper well after having finished the paper to merely fulfill my obligations as a student.  See, I’ve always been the type  who loves to just dive into a paper and would rather spend more time revising than pre-writing.  Its no different than how upon buying a new video game, I never read the instructions and pop the disc in as quickly as possible.

For this exercise, I’m extremely glad there was no actual paper.   Because with no assigned paper, I was forced to really give pre-writing a chance, and my experience was more positive than I expected.  The interesting phenomenon I experienced while pre-writing was that upon finishing, I really WANTED to write this paper.  I felt organized, prepared, and that this paper had success written all over it.

Now, its not that I have never been excited to write a paper, I genuinely enjoy writing.  But as an undergraduate in the Kelley School of Business,  the papers I was forced to write were vastly different than the academic writings I am experiencing through HCI.  With much more emphasis on theory, I have struggled at times to apply these suppositions to life-worlds I have actually experienced.  This pre-writing exercise helped me break down parts of the literature into ways I could more easily understand and relate my concrete phenomenon to.

I am still not the world’s biggest believe in pre-writing.  For papers which require minimal difficult theory and quotes, I believe I could write just as effective a paper in much less overall time by skipping the pre-writing process and placing a strong emphasis on revising.  However, for writing more difficult papers with more complex concepts, pre-writing definitely helped me organize my thoughts and create the foundations for a stronger paper.

1 Comment

  1. Tyler Pace

    In my post I mentioned a “point of diminishing returns” for prewriting. I agree that each writing task is different and requires a different level or effort for prewriting. There’s certainly some point at which you just need to put “axe to the grindstone” and start writing.


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