The writing process – from scribbled notes to complete text

Writing the assignment

The writing process – from scribbled notes to complete text


When we write, we go through a process, from initial notes to a complete text. Throughout the writing process, we alternate between two types of writing: creative and critical.

Creative writing – writing to generate ideas

Creative writing is an informal and exploratory type of writing. When writing creatively, we write to come up with ideas and generate thoughts about a topic. Taking notes, writing lists and creating mind maps are all examples of creative writing. In these cases, we produce a type of text that is only meant to be read by ourselves. These texts typically have an informal tone, and formalities and correct language are not major priorities.

Critical writing – writing the text

Critical writing is what we do when we create a text that is meant for actual readers. The goal of this type of writing is to communicate and present information to a reader. Since the text will be read by others, it is important to consider who your readers are.

In this stage of the writing process, we do a lot of critical thinking, and we ask ourselves questions, such as:

  • What am I trying to say with this text?
  • What does the reader need to know?
  • How do I make this text readable and understandable?

It is also important to think about using correct, formal language.

We write to produce a good text that can be read and understood by others.

Switching between creative and critical writing

Even though we now know that a writing process consists of both a creative and a critical stage, it is important to remember that these stages are not entirely separate. Usually, we go back and forth between these stages throughout the writing process. W we continuously work on getting new ideas down on paper, while also processing the text to make it readable for others.


Dysthe, Olga, Hertzberg, Frøydis og Hoel, Torlaug Løkensgard (2010). Skrive for å lære: Skriving i høyere utdanning. Oslo: Abstrakt.

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