Before beginning to write, the writer must know what his subject is going to be. This is an important step and the reason it is listed as the first of the seven elements in Murray’s article on revision. Without an idea of how to start a paper, or what the paper is to be about, progress will be nearly impossible. Of course the subject may change once the project has taken a life of its own, but chances are it will be related to the original idea and diverge from there. As Murray says, we all have something to say. Many times, once we begin to write, we realize we have much more to say than originally anticipated.
This has happened to me on several occasions. There have been times in which I begin to write about a certain subject, and before I know it, my fingers are flying over the keyboard and half a page of words appear from nowhere. This is a good feeling, and when this happens to be the case, I find that whatever I am writing generally flows out of me and produces itself rather than being labored and forced out. At other times, the importance of the subject has presented itself in a different way. There have been instances when I have been writing on a certain subject and realized that I have gotten in over my head.
The subject is more complex than I had originally anticipated. At that point I either have to dumb the paper down, or educated myself a little further. As a writer, it is important to know your limits and where your boundaries lie. Without these, you may be likely to find yourself in a situation where the subject has taken over and as a writer you cannot move forward. If you know these limits when you begin to write, you realize that you can write much more than what you give yourself credit for and the paper will complete itself.