Planning is the part of the process in which a writer, at the very least, has an awareness of wanting to convey something in writing. At the early stages of development, writers may need strong support or scaffolding in order to plan. As the writer develops expertise, these supports are gradually removed. Planning is part of the recursive process of writing and the writer’s plans can change as the writing continues.
Beginner writers carry out limited planning and tend to have few goals. The goals they have relate mostly to content and show little evidence of an awareness of their overall purpose and their audience. Expert writers develop a network of goals that are concerned with purpose and audience as well as content. Experts’ plans are flexible and expert writers take time to pause and think as they plan. The learning progressions reflect the development of independence and expertise in planning for writing.
Composing at its simplest has been characterised as “knowledge telling”74 – the writer simply puts basic information or ideas directly into written text. There is little monitoring to check whether the ideas are well developed and make sense within the text.
As writers’ expertise develops, they are able to transform knowledge by bringing together what they know about the content they are conveying and what they know about the rhetorical structures they can use to convey it. Composing becomes an interaction between knowledge and thinking and in that interaction new learning takes place. For example, beginner writers translate their thoughts directly into written form. Expert writers transform knowledge as they move between the content and the form of the text, drawing on an extensive knowledge of content, vocabulary, grammar, text features, audience and text type.
Beginner writers will have little knowledge of composition to draw on beyond a basic knowledge of content, vocabulary and language features.