We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Prewriting?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Prewriting is the process of generating ideas and potential content for a piece of writing, prior to beginning the actual writing process for the work. Someone writing a report for a class, for example, might begin by first sitting down and gathering his or her ideas about the subject and writing it out to create a plan for the paper. There are many different strategies and methods used during prewriting, though they are all generally used to create and arrange the writer’s thoughts on a page. Common methods include freewriting, brainstorming, the use of idea maps or clustering, and asking questions about the subject.

The prewriting process typically takes place before writing has begun, though false starts in the writing process may lead to some ongoing use of similar activities. Different methods can be used to generate ideas about a writing project, and the best method usually depends on the preferences of the writer. The purpose and nature of the written work a person is doing can also impact which type of prewriting activity is best in a particular instance.

One of the most common types of prewriting activity is referred to as freewriting. In this process, a person sits down at a computer or with a pencil and paper and just begins to write. The initial ideas do not need to be about the subject matter he or she needs to write about, and the first lines can be little more than “I am writing about the fact that I am writing. I am supposed to be writing about the Emancipation Proclamation but I do not know what to write about.” This type of freewriting is used to help someone begin writing, to get the pencil moving, and to begin shifting his or her thoughts toward the right state of mind for writing.

Brainstorming is a common form of prewriting in which a person begins listing or writing down various ideas and words that seem important to a given subject. These words are not always directly usable in the final paper, but they can help someone start thinking about what is useful. Rather than simply listing out words, or after initial brainstorming, someone can also use idea maps or clustering to arrange these ideas. Prewriting that includes such methods allows a person to arrange his or her thoughts more cohesively, which can make their use in the actual writing process easier or more effective.

Someone can also ask questions about the subject he or she is writing about before beginning the writing process. This can help the writer identify questions that should be answered in the written work, as well as generate ideas for where to begin with research. The easiest questions to begin with are often the “5W’s and an H” of “who,” “what,” “when,” “why,” and “where” along with “how.” Other questions can be more specific in nature, depending on the subject, and this can all be used as a framework for developing the full paper.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Discussion Comments
Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.