Process-Oriented Versus Product-Oriented Writing

There are two prevailing theory of approaches when it comes to writing: process-oriented and product-oriented.    When you focus on the process, you write as a way of knowing for oneself, revising to make things clear for your own understanding.  Focusing on the product, on the other hand, writing becomes a way of communicating, where your main focus is how clear the work is to your reader.

A product-oriented approach is the traditional way of writing.  The most popular way of writing in this manner is to take a model text, highlight the features of the genre and mimic it to produce your own product.   Sticking to the conventions of the genre increases the likelihood that you’ll communicate more clearly with your readers.

In the process-oriented approach, writing is treated as more of an exploration, in which the ultimate goal is to facilitate the writer’s understanding and, in doing so, be able to communicate the same with the reader.  You can use various techniques in the development of the work (from brainstorming to mind maps to draft revisions), all with the previously stated goal.

Most experts agree, though, that the two are more intertwined.  A good product, after all, often stems from a good writing process (with the help of an effective writing software) – the separation just views the activity from different angles.