The Writing Process
Many students fare poorly at their writing attempts because they do not realize writing is a process. A math problem requires the gathering of information, the plugging in of that information into the problem, the applying of a series of functions or defined steps and finally, the solving of the problem. In actuality, the writing process is comparable to the solving of the math problem. The most important part of that process is the part that, unfortunately, is often neglected: planning.
Textbooks may refer to the planning process as free writing, prewriting, clustering, or any number of activities in which a writer might engage before finally producing a draft of a work. What it's called doesn't matter nearly so much as getting students to actually engage in some sort of planning prior to writing. What needs to happen looks something like this.
Unfortunately, most students feel pressured by time and do not give writing the attention it deserves. Thus it becomes sort of a rambling, pointless activity involving keyboard and screen. Once printed off, the work becomes etched in stone and the student doesn't wish to have more contact with it.
What is most sad about this lack of a process is that it stifles the writer in all of us. That's correct: There is a writer in all of us, seeking a way to record thoughts in a meaningful way. Refusing to engage in the process equals refusing to develop that writer.
From this point onward, whether it's an email to a friend or an essay response to a history question, think, plan before the words ever to make it to the page in the form of a draft.
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