Monday, March 24, 2014

Everyday Thoughts from the Writing Center: Getting Started

For many students, staring at a blank screen can be so intimidating, and oftentimes, downright overwhelming. When feeling this way, it is helpful to remember a couple of things: first, it is always beneficial to break down an overwhelming task into a series of smaller steps, and second, each person must figure out how to order those steps in a way that is most effective for him or her. I remember thinking there was a specific formula I had to follow in order to produce formal, academic writing. This simply is not the case. Just like all other forms of creativity, the steps of the writing process can, and should be, rearranged into an individualized approach.

Developing a process of articulating one’s thoughts and ideas allows writing to be seen as a series of smaller, more manageable steps. When working with students, I have quickly realized that many of them are simply uncomfortable with rearranging the elements that comprise the writing process in order to develop their own method—and I can certainly relate. Prior to my experience as a tutor, I had not spent much time contemplating exactly how my own method of writing was structured (and I honestly thought I was doing it wrong), but I have found that knowing and recognizing the tools and method I use is very beneficial. Instead of being frustrated when the words don’t roll freely off of my fingers, I am able to step back, and evaluate the next step I should take in order to continue moving forward. Viewing writing as a series of steps, rather than a single task makes it seem more manageable, and I have found that other students find this way of thinking to be helpful as well. I have been able to use my understanding of my own writing process to help other students recognize that they, too, have a way of writing, and thus, can simplify the task that can sometimes seem overwhelming.

Here are a couple of links to help you get started:


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