The 2011 Honors Composition II Project is a joint venture between NOC, OSU, and Lincoln Academy. Share your experiences and questions here.
I find that once I have an idea, if I just start writing everything else seems to fall in to place. I also revise my papers as I write them, rather than completing multiple drafts. I often write just for fun, it's a hobby for me. I love developing intricate characters and storylines.
Whenever I have something to write, I normally do a freewrite and then an outline. Freewriting is extremely helpful because I can go through and write out everything I know or the things I would like to know about the topic. Many times my freewrite turns into my paper, but not until I have organized my ideas first.
Once I have an idea I will start to write it out on paper rather than the computer. I like the feel of a pencil in my hand when I write; it helps the ideas flow more easily. One of the most challenging papers I've had to write was one about my dreams and goals. I really had to reflect on what I wanted to do with my life and that gave me the ideas for my paper.
When I write a paper, I start by just writing down any ideas or stories that come to mind about the topic. Once I have a general idea of what I want to write about, I just write as much as I can. Later I go through it and do my editing.
The significant pattern I noticed in the above four comments is that each of you has established a way to begin writing or your process of writing. Each individual will be different, so it is great to share your writing ritual with those who have not established one....especially if your client is having problems brainstorming or beginning a paper. To others of you reading this blog, think about your writing ritual and stick to it. It will help your writing.
When given a single topic I usually brainstorm some ideas and create an outline. When given a topic more personal, I find it easier to gather a few ideas. I gather my ideas and brainstorm each one. Whichever one I have more content for and feel the strongest about is the one I choose. After that I make my outline, which becomes easier with the list of examples I previously created.
Some of you mention using outlines to organize your ideas. Others of you just write. As you are revising your essays, what do you do to focus on organization? Can't wait for Tuesday. The weather report continues to change daily - so far I think we are in the clear!
I will usually take a few ideas and outline them. When I find an idea that I can communicate clearly and strongly I go with it. One way I stay organized in writing my essays is to have my husband or a friend read them while I'm working on them, to see if they think it flows smoothly and transitions well. I struggle with the grammer portion, so I spend alot of time on the internet or with cheat sheets double checking my grammer.
I've noticed that a lot of people say that the best way to write is to just write. You have to sit down and get some ideas out there. You really don't what you are going to write until you start. It's almost like when you start writing, you grab onto the ends of your ideas and stick them to the paper, and then you keep pulling and they all eventually come out. But you have to start. I have a program that writes in outline mode with little tabs so I can compress and open sections and really see the hierarchy of my ideas. That's been the best way for me to organize my thoughts before I actually start writing things in paragraph form.
I find I write best when I write a lot all at once, so some kind of excessive dose of caffeine is normally a must. These hours of intensive typing may begin with an outline or with a free-write, but my best writing seems to come from inspired free-writes that are later butchered and molded with an outline.
I begin my writing process by brainstorming strictly in my mind. I don't write anything down at first. I think about what I want to write, organize my thoughts, plots, and characters, then begin writing. It might take me a couple of days to complete the thought process, depending on the length of the paper. This process has worked well for me since I was in high school many years ago.
I think the main thing to emphasize to your clients is to not "force yourself to stick to something that is not working." There is no perfect fit writing process for each person. Your process will adapt and change per assignment, day and situation, life. The main thing is to keep writing. The more you write the better you are able to understand how you are writing and what you need.
i guess i am more the big organizer when it comes to writing. first i write down the main idea of my paper and afterwards scribble down all the points i want to hit. when i got all that figured out, i go through all my points putting them in the most logical order which makes it easier to create transitions in between paragraphs. After i finally decided on the organizational structure i come up with my evidence. That process really enables me to focus on what i want to say. Granted, when i start writing it is a flow i better not dare to interrupt, but my outline helps me to think ahead and know where i am going.
Usually when I start off writing, I tend to start with the basic brainstorming web outline. I find it the easiest way to get started. Then I focus on a thesis that will sum up everything that I want to get across in the paper. From then on, I write the body paragraphs that I have chosen in my brainstorm web, and finish with a conclusion. The most important writing tip that I have learned this past year is to go to a place without internet so you can’t get on facebook, or any other distractions!
I'd have to throw my hat in with the handwritten folk. Before I start trying to peck at this dastardly machine, the PC, I always start with handwritten notes. That's mostly a commentary on my ineptitude with the PC. I've taken Computer Courses since grade school and yet, I am still a atrocious hand at the keyboard. Handwritten is the way to start! I think that penmanship has taken a turn for dead. It's sad that technologies like "texting", "tweeting", and "blogging" have replaced letters, notes, and scribbles. As for writing experiences, I once had to write a one act play. Basically a commercial, enough time to set the stage, crack a joke, and get out of the way because the game is on. Short and sweet can be difficult to attain and even more difficult to master.
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