Writing: Breaking it Down

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAtoXZ8sc-k

If you didn’t click on the link and enjoy the current medium used to redefine a traditional writing method, then you’re missing out. Writing can be difficult when faced with it head on. Picture this: you’re planning on running a marathon. Running 26.2 miles is no easy task, especially if you expect to just sign up and go. A marathon takes weeks, months, or even years to train for. Our bodies are not programmed to run long distances at such an intense pace. Writing a paper is like training for a marathon. It’s important to have the drive to just get up and go, but it’s equally as important to incorporate practice through a regular process. As they talked about in the video, writing has five steps: pre-writing, drafting, revising, proof-reading, and publishing. I’m going to explain each of them in a little more detail below.

1.) Pre-writing. The number one step is more than likely always your most important step. Brainstorming is crucial; the wheel wasn’t invented in a day, and neither should your paper — it’s a process. To begin brewing your ideas, you could do any of the following: free write on the topic (write whatever comes to mind without stopping), bullet the main points of your selected reading or ideas, cluster or web-diagram your thoughts as they come to mind, or have a conversation with a peer or instructor. Don’t take this step for granted. http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/brainstorming/

2.) Drafting. No, this isn’t quite like drafting your number pick on that fifth fantasy football league that you’ve joined; however, this does take just as much thought, research, and analysis that choosing any good fantasy team would take. When it comes to the point where your thoughts are ready to meet pen with paper, then head to this advice: don’t stop writing. One of the biggest mistakes that writers often make is worrying about grammar, structure, and correctness when they begin writing a paper; that’s what leads to writer’s block. Let all the thoughts flow. Get them all out. http://writing-program.uchicago.edu/resources/collegewriting/preparing_to_write_and_drafting.htm

3.) Revising/Proofreading. The toughest step — revision. Both revising and proofreading can be lumped into one step; revision focuses on content, whereas proofreading leans toward grammatical issues. This is where us, as writing tutors, come in. The revision process is not a one-stop shop; there is no way that a paper can be perfect after just one change. Everyone will offer different advice, but here is what I’ve found works best for my peers and myself: 1. Read through your own paper out loud; you’ll catch many mistakes that you completely missed when writing it. 2. Read your paper out loud to a roommate, peer, friend, cat, etc. When you read to an audience, your brain is programmed to increase awareness of mistakes because we can never make mistakes in front of people. 3. Submit your paper to an online writing center, or make an appointment with a writing center or instructor on campus to focus more on the content of your paper; it’s important to have professional feedback. 4. After the first three steps of revision, read through your paper one more time, but now backwards. Start at the conclusion and read your paper, one sentence at a team, from bottom to top. You won’t believe what you’ll notice when your brain reads sentences out of context. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/561/05/

4.) Publishing. Authenticity is important when it comes to projects, assignments, or papers. As writers, we want to create works that are relevant and mean something to us. Even if your professor has you doing a research paper, take your topic down a path that interests you. That will create a sense of desire when you write it. Once you’ve finished all of your hard work, take the time to go an extra mile; put your work on a blog or read it to a friend or family member. If writers are only writing for their teachers, it becomes much more difficult to write well. http://historytech.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/tip-of-the-week-six-great-ways-to-publish-student-work/

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Getting Unstuck

Getting Unstuck

We all have those moments in our writing career that just seem to anticlimactically end wadded up into a waste basket. There are times when writer’s block can appear worse than a mind-numbing lick of a frigid scoop of ice cream. To get past that awful road block you’re having, try some of the following:
1.) Free-Writing: Take 10 minutes and a blank piece of paper. There is only one rule: don’t stop. Begin a timer, and write for an entire 10 minute period; write about whatever is on your mind. Repeat the same word 20 times. Express your daily tasks or emotions. Get the garbage out of your brain and onto the paper. Perhaps, you’ll strike gold.
2.) Simple and Short: If you continually stare at a frighteningly white screen with no progress whatsoever, make your first sentence simple and short. Write something that is fact; don’t make it fancy. Simply write a point you’d like to make. Ideas will begin to flow after that, and if they don’t, you need a new first sentence!
3.) Stretch: The body and mind work as one. Much research has shown that when our physical needs are not met (aches and pains, food, sleep, etc.), then our minds are not ready for the day. So, take 5 minutes to stretch, do some jumping jacks, or simply close your eyes and gently roll your neck.
4.) Go Have Fun: If all else fails, then go and take a break! Connect with nature. Go for a run. Grab some friends for a game of golf or a day of baking with the ladies. Writing is an art that involves the moment. If we are unable to connect with the moment, our writing is never going to connect with us. Give it time, and don’t rush the beautiful things.

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One Story Ends as Another Soon Begins

One Story Ends as Another Soon Begins

As I enter into the Junior year of my collegiate career, I find myself continuously adding, editing, revising, and constructing the story of my life through copious activities on and off campus. Through all of the changes, ups and downs, I can safely say that writing has been the basis behind it all. In essence, I’ve been able to communicate my thoughts through public writing, as well as documenting inner thoughts through personal devotion. All-in-all, I hope this site can inspire you to think differently, encourage you to write better, and above all else, develop a true passion for writing.

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