Before you actually put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, you engage in a variety of activities collectively called pre-writing. This is a misnomer because these activities are part of the writing process. Perhaps a better name for them is pre-typing.
The first part of the writing process is identifying the central idea, i.e., the one idea, one theme, one concept, that you wish to communicate. Your document will contain many ideas, but every idea should help the reader understand the central idea. This is true whether you are writing prose, poetry, or technical documents.
Ask yourself: “What is the one idea that I want to communicate?” Here’s a good exercise to conduct before you begin typing. In one sentence, 20 words or less, write your central idea.
Why do this? First, this helps you clarify your purpose. Second, this helps you determine what information you need to include and what information you can leave out. Third, this helps you create a document that is cohesive, focused, purposeful, and effective.