Because beginning your writing is often the most difficult part of the writing process, planning and prewriting allow you the opportunity to generate ideas in a relaxed and non-restrictive way over a period leading up to the final draft and due date of an assignment. In some cases, no one except you needs to view your planning and prewriting. In others, your professor might require you to submit your prewriting, or you may share your work with peers in a peer-review process. In any event, it’s best to relax as you plan and explore ideas.
Planning the phases of an assignment breaks down the expectations into manageable pieces that will eventually fit the entire puzzle. We do this by analyzing the instructions and mapping out the phases of writing that will transpire in certain days and weeks leading up to the goal.
The purpose of prewriting is to systematically think, which means to understand how the distinct parts (remember: your position + expert opinion = balanced union of ideas) fit into and influence one another as a whole. Prewriting techniques help you determine which rhetorical approach to take and how to implement it. Because we all think differently, there are many unique prewriting techniques to explore and plan a topic that specifically harmonizes with the way your brain processes information.