Lesson 4: The Prewriting Stage in Technical Writing

Let’s start with the objectives of the prewriting stage.

Zone de Texte: 4.1. Objectives of The Prewriting StagePrewriting objectives include exploring diverse ideas, generating and developing them through brainstorming, freewriting and focused writing, as well as planning a well-structured document with a strong introduction, clear body sections, and a purposeful conclusion.


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During the prewriting stage., we aim to achieve the following:



1.  Exploring Diverse Ideas:

In prewriting, we want to explore a wide range of ideas related to our topic. Imagine it as a brainstorming session where you can let your creativity flow. It’s all about thinking of different angles and perspectives on your subject.

2.  Generating and Developing Ideas:

Once we’ve explored those ideas, we need to generate and develop them further. This involves techniques like brainstorming (coming up with lots of ideas), freewriting (writing without any restrictions or rules), and focused writing (writing with a specific goal or purpose in mind). These methods help us dive deeper into our thoughts and concepts.

3.  Planning a Well-Structured Document:

Prewriting is also the phase where we start planning how our document will be structured. We think about how to organise our content effectively. This includes creating a strong introduction that grabs the reader’s attention, crafting clear and logical body sections where we present our main ideas, and having a purposeful conclusion that ties everything together.

So, in a nutshell, during the prewriting stage, we’re all about exploring, generating, developing ideas, and planning how our writing will flow. It’s like building the framework for a house before we start adding all the details. This stage sets the stage for the rest of the writing process, helping us create well-structured and engaging documents.

Remember, this is where creativity can truly shine, so embrace it!

Now, let’s explore the practical aspects and discover the prewriting activities you can use to prepare your first draft.


Zone de Texte: In prewriting, ignoring your inner critic and the mental editor is important. Set aside a specific time, around 10 to 20 minutes, and write without stopping. Even if you think you have nothing to say, write down whatever comes to mind. Keep your hand moving and let new ideas develop naturally.3. Bubble Mapping:In prewriting, use mind mapping to visually connect and explore related ideas or subtopics around a central topic. This technique helps generate new ideas and provides structure for your writing.In the prewriting stage, it is not necessary to strive for perfection; instead, focus on exploring and capturing your ideas without worrying about getting everything right.



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We have some exciting activities lined up to stimulate your creativity and help you get started with your technical writing projects.



1.  Brainstorming:

Imagine you’re about to write a paper on “The Benefits of Outdoor Exercise.” To start brainstorming, you jot down words and ideas related to this topic. You might write down things like “fresh air,” “nature,” “health,” “happiness,” “fitness,” and so on. The key here is to let your mind run free and quickly fill the page with ideas, even if they seem unrelated or not fully developed. It’s about keeping that creative momentum going without pausing.

2.  Freewriting:

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Freewriting is like a brainstorming session with your pen on the move. Let’s say you’re working on a story, and you’re stuck on how to begin. Set aside 15 minutes, and just write without stopping. Even if you think you have nothing to say, write down whatever comes to mind. The idea is to keep your hand moving and allow new ideas to flow naturally.

3.  Bubble Mapping:

Bubble mapping, also known as mind mapping, is a visual way to connect and explore related ideas or subtopics around a central topic. Let’s say your topic is ‘Assembling a Computer’ . In the center of your page, you write ” Main Idea: Assembling a Computer,” and then you draw lines branching out to related concepts like:

Step 1: Gather Components

Subpoints: CPU, motherboard, RAM, GPU, power supply, storage, case, cooling.

Step 2: Prepare Workspace

Subpoints: Clean and well-lit area, anti-static precautions.

Step 3: Install CPU

Subpoints: CPU socket, thermal paste, CPU cooler.

Step 4: Install RAM

Subpoints: RAM slots, matching RAM sticks.

Step 5: Install GPU

Subpoints: PCIe slot, securing GPU.

Step 6: Connect Power Supply

Subpoints: Motherboard, CPU, GPU, drives.

Step 7: Connect Storage

Subpoints: SATA cables, M.2 slots.

Step 8: Cable Management

Subpoints: Organize and route cables for airflow.

Step 9: Power On and Test

Subpoints: Check for POST (Power On Self Test), BIOS setup.

Step 10: Install Operating System

Subpoints: Boot from USB/DVD, follow OS installation prompts.

Step 11: Install Drivers and Updates

Subpoints: Graphics, audio, network drivers; Windows updates.

Step 12: Final Checks

Subpoints: Check system stability, software installation, and data transfer

This technique helps generate new ideas and provides a structured overview of your topic.

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Remember, in the prewriting stage, we’re not aiming for perfection. Instead, we’re focused on exploring and capturing our ideas without worrying about getting everything right.

These activities are like warm-up exercises for your creative muscles, and they can lead to exciting breakthroughs in your writing. So, embrace the freedom to brainstorm, freewrite without judgment, and visually map your ideas. It’s all part of the fun and creative process of prewriting!

Here are some prewriting tips:

Zone de Texte: 4.3. General Prewriting Tips:Improve your writing by incorporating 10-minute freewriting sessions to clear your thoughts, jotting down key points for assignments, maintaining a self-reflective journal, trying different prewriting techniques, and adapting strategies based on the task's purpose and audience. Shape your unique writing process for success.


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Let’s break down these general prewriting tips with some explanations:




1.  10-Minute Freewriting Sessions:

–  Take a quick 10-minute break before you start writing to clear your thoughts. During this time, just write freely about anything that comes to mind. It can help you mentally prepare and get into a writing mindset.

2.  Jotting Down Key Points:

–  When you receive an assignment or have an idea, jot down the key points or main ideas. This serves as a roadmap for your writing, helping you stay organized and focused.

3.  Maintaining a Self-Reflective Journal:

–  Consider keeping a journal where you reflect on your writing process. Write about your challenges, successes, and what you’ve learned. Self-reflection can lead to valuable insights and improvements.


4.  Trying Different Prewriting Techniques:

–  Don’t stick to one prewriting technique. Experiment with various methods like brainstorming, mind mapping, or freewriting. Different topics and tasks may benefit from different approaches.

5.  Adapting Strategies for Audience and Purpose:

–  Always consider your audience and purpose. If you’re writing for a technical audience, your prewriting approach might be more research-oriented. For a creative piece, it could involve brainstorming characters and plot.

6.  Shape Your Unique Writing Process:

–  Lastly, remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to prewriting. Your writing process is unique to you. Over time, you’ll develop strategies that work best for your style and needs.

These tips aim to make your prewriting more effective and tailored to your specific writing tasks. By incorporating them into your writing routine, you can enhance your writing skills and produce more successful pieces of work.

Lastly, we’ll take a look at an example of drafting a legal document. Please remember that this is a simplified example and should not be used in real legal situations without consulting a qualified attorney

4.5. Example of Drafting a Legal Document:

*Imortant: This simplified example should not be used in real legal situations without consulting a qualified attorney.

Zone de Texte: Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)This Non-Disclosure Agreement is entered into on [Date], between:[Your Company Name], a [State/Country] corporation, located at [Address], referred to as the

For the purposes of this Agreement, “Confidential Information” shall include any non-public information, trade secrets, proprietary data, business plans, financial information, customer lists, and any other information that is disclosed in writing, orally, or by any other means, and marked as confidential or should reasonably be understood to be confidential.


1.  The Receiving Party agrees to hold all Confidential Information received from the Disclosing Party in strict confidence and to take all reasonable measures to prevent unauthorized disclosure or use of such information.

2.   The Receiving Party shall only disclose the Confidential Information to its employees, agents, or representatives who have a need to know for the purpose of evaluating the potential business relationship and who are bound by similar confidentiality obligations.

3.    The Receiving Party shall not use the Confidential Information for any purpose other than evaluating the potential business relationship between the Parties, without obtaining prior written consent from the Disclosing Party.


The obligations of confidentiality set forth in this Agreement shall not apply to information that:

1.   Is already known to the Receiving Party at the time of disclosure or becomes publicly known through no fault of the Receiving Party.

2.     Is independently developed by the Receiving Party without reference to the Confidential Information.

3.  Is rightfully obtained from a third party without restrictions on disclosure.

Term and Termination:

This Agreement shall remain in effect for [insert time frame, e.g., two years] from the date of signing. Either Party may terminate this Agreement at any time with written notice to the other Party.

Governing Law and Jurisdiction:

This Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of [State/Country]. Any disputes arising under or in connection with this Agreement shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of [State/Country].

Entire Agreement:

This Agreement constitutes the e
ntire understanding between the Parties concerning the subject matter hereof and supersedes all prior and contemporaneous agreements, whether oral or written.

In witness whereof, the Parties hereto have executed this Non-Disclosure Agreement as of the date first above written.

[Your Company Name]

By:                                         [Your Name], [Your Title]

[Recipient’s Name]

By:                                         [Recipient’s Name], [Recipient’s Title] Explanation:

This is an example of a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) used in legal

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contexts to protect confidential information. It outlines the purpose, obligations, exceptions, terms, governing law, and other important details for both parties involved. However, please note that this example is simplified and should not be used in real legal situations without consulting a qualified attorney.


Now. are you ready to demonstrate your comprehension of the lesson? To evaluate your learning, you’ll have access to two assessments:

The Role of Formative Assessments - Graduate Programs for Educators
Summative Evaluation Reports | NISE Network

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Good luck!

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