Many teachers of composition advocate what is known as a process model of writing. This model breaks down the task of writing a paper into manageable steps. Although different theorists subdivide tasks in slightly different fashions, overall, three major stages are recommended:
Pre-writing: Before you actually start writing you need to do research about your essay topic, discover a strong thesis or central argument, and do some brainstorming to flesh out your approach. Outlining is often helpful as well.
Writing: Produce your first draft fairly quickly. If you can’t decide how to approach a specific section, just leave it blank or put a few brief notes as placeholders and get back to it later.
Revision: This isn’t just proofreading, but where you look over your first draft and think about what additional research you need to do and how well the structure coheres as well as look for surface errors.