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Before you begin to write, your composing process should include some steps for planning what your message will say.

Decide on the purpose for the message and the action you want as a result.

Collect the information you need for the message, keeping in mind who your audience is and what they will need to ensure that the message gets your intended results.

If you have any attachments to send, attach them now. If you wait until you are finished drafting and proofreading, you may forget.

“An e-note should get to the point immediately—the way to do this is to plan what you intend to write.”

—Stewart, 1999

Many users today are online or connected and ready to send as soon as they open their e-mail program. Some users have accidentally hit the send button before their message is complete. Be careful to review your message, recipient(s), or attachment(s), especially if you don't have to pause for an Internet connection.

“As a writer, you are in some ways like a bandleader. You must orchestrate all the elements of your writing into a persuasive performance, assembling your ideas, words, and evidence into one coherent structure. Readers expect you to be their guide—to help them understand your meaning.”

—Lunsford and Connors, 1997

You might map (on paper), brainstorm, outline, or free write (on the computer) the key elements of the message. Then you can compose your final message right on the screen using whatever you came up with during the planning.



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