Despite all of the increasing technological advances, writing is still a mainform of communication. Beginning in grammar school and continuing through highschool and college, thousands of students spend hours preparing essays forclass. The majority of students usually begin drafting those essays merely bystaring at a blank sheet of paper and contemplating what to write. However,writing essays can be simplified by using four types of prewriting: freewriting, clustering, specifying, and outlining. The first type of prewriting isfree writing. It is used to help writers select a topic to write about. The keyto free writing is to disregard correct spelling and punctuation, and just writedown everything that comes to mind. To begin free writing, simply choose asubject and start writing about it. Take nature, for example. The wordnature evokes many diverse images. Ranging from outside surroundings,personal relationships with nature, the beach, a beautiful sunset, a peacefulwaterfall, or even the many environmental concerns that we are faced with today.
Environmental concerns could stem out an excellent idea that could lead to atopic such as the need to recycle. Images of nature can inspire creativity,which leads to a variety of different topics. The next type of prewriting isclustering. Once a topic has been selected, clustering helps to accumulate theessential support for the paper. Clustering begins with a sheet of paper thathas only one topic written and circled in the center. Anything that relates tothe topic is then written down with a line branching off from the originaltopic. This process is continued until enough information is brainstormed. Ifthe original topic is movies, the support branches would include different typesof movies such as comedy, drama, romance, action, and horror. Then a list ofdifferent movies that fall into each one of these categories extends out fromthe first support branches. A paper is not complete without ample support, andclustering is a great way to gather it. Another type of prewriting isspecifying. It is used to change a topic idea to a more specific thesisstatement. Simple questions such as who, what, where, when, and why will addmore description and detail to the writing. To specify, the topic idea iswritten down on paper and simple questions are asked to make it more specific.
For instance, the topic “Camping is exciting” can be specified into amore descriptive sentence such as: Many new and different experiences such ashiking, cooking over an open flame, and sleeping under the night sky are fun toexperience when camping in the mountains with friends.” The thesis is themost important aspect of an essay, and specifying helps develop a strong thesisstatement to be supported throughout the paper. All papers must be organized ina logical order, and outlining is used precisely for this. For example, aprocess essay tells the steps of how to do something, so chronological order isthe best way to organize this type of essay. An outline places the thesis on topand then presents the framework of the essay. The outline for a process essayabout how to cook a grilled cheese sandwich would designate the introduction, asRoman numeral one, and then a consecutive Roman numeral for each step of theprocess. For example, heating the skillet would be Roman numeral two, andgathering the ingredients would be Roman numeral three, and so on. A final Romannumeral would designate the conclusion. Writing will always be a main form ofcommunication. Therefore, students throughout their years of school will stillhave to compose numerous essays. However, writing those essays can be simplifiedthrough prewriting. With the increase in technology, there is an increase incommunication. Through Telephones, fax machines, computers, e-mail, and theInternet, communication is made much easier and is used worldwide by manypeople. However, for students, writing papers will always remain. Althoughcomputer assistance is available, papers will always have the need to beorganized and thought out. Using free writing, clustering, specifying, andoutlining to plan a paper will make writing essays much simpler, and will betterones performance as a writer.