Assessing the Writing Situation

Before beginning the writing process, always establish the following:

  • Is there an assigned topic or are you free to choose your own?
  • What about your subject interests you?
  • Why is your subject worth reading about?
  • Double check that your subject is not too broad – narrow it down if necessary.
  • Determine the purpose of the work.
  • Determine the readers of the work and their level of knowledge about the topic.
  • Determine where your evidence will come from.
  • Decide what kind of evidence would best serve your argument.
  • Identify the required style (MLA, APA, etc.) of the paper.
  • Be aware of length specifications.
  • Consider if visuals might be helpful in your paper.
  • Will someone be reviewing drafts of your paper? Who?
  • Note your deadline and how much time you have for each stage of the writing process.