Tick… tock… tick… tock. The clock hands spin rapidly, generating a vortex in which spirals desperate time. The shadowy presence of the dreaded deadline looms over your shoulder, and the phantom casts dark thoughts of doubt and anxiety—that one meme on Twitter from your favorite parody account. Your hand seizes in agony from clenching a pencil, eraser shavings settling like snowfall onto the floor beneath your legs that bounce anxiously to the crescendo of the metronomic ticking. In the final moments, you hastily drag the file into the submission box with sweaty fingertips and click “submit.” Five minutes to spare, you reflect jubilantly as you massage your hand, drained but satisfied with yet another seemingly clinch success.
All writers, especially college students, have been here—the self-ascribed, once-in-a-nighttime, last-minute-inspired writing prodigy. How exhausting for you to shoulder the demands of higher education all in one to twelve hours!
Frankly, the classic all-nighter strategy is lazy, a symptom of poor writers. If a professor on a swivel stool scooted towards you—a malnourished writer—while you anxiously kick your feet off the edge of the examination table, the coarse paper crackling rhythmically beneath your swinging limbs, this “doctor” might observe the following: contentment with insufficient writing, disregard for constructive criticism, close-mindedness of revision, and fear of failure. The doctor might prescribe the long-term treatment: conquering your fears.
Could fear really be the root of all bad writing?
Good writers heed the call for new voices to engage the world in new language, provoking new dialogue between constructs. Good writers are open to the opportunity, willing to experiment with their language and discover their identities. Good writers are not afraid of failure but rather understand that learning and failure are in direct variation: failure is a necessary growing pain. Just as the body repairs the muscle fibers after a strenuous workout, fusing the damaged fibers with new protein to grow even stronger than before, the mind requires exercise to replace underdeveloped skills with experienced critical thinking, reading, and writing skills.
Bad writers are terrified from a deeply-rooted insecurity of belonging: their writing is inadequate, their thoughts are disconnected, their conversations to engage the world are irrelevant. Whoever you are and wherever you are on your writing odyssey, your voice matters. Conquer your fears of failure because being afraid is depraving the world and doing a disservice to your community.
It is tedious and monotonous… I can’t concentrate on it… It is difficult even to start… How many of you were thinking the same when you had to write something? I am sure, a lot. So, why isn’t everyone an excellent writer? Why isn’t it just a “natural” process? What is it about writing that prevents so many people even to start doing it?
The question is whether there are any solutions to this problem. And my answer is “Yes.” Why don’t you try a process approach to writing? Truly speaking, many people are stuck with their papers as they are mostly concerned with the final product of writing, and practically have no time for brainstorming, conceiving the idea, arranging their thoughts logically and linking them for easy reading. Process approach to writing, in its turn, is a meaningful tool which encourages learners to use drafts and revisions effectively. It is especially helpful for English language learners who are not confident in their writing skills and need more time to organize their thoughts and ideas in order to put them on paper later on.
Process writing begins with freewriting when you do not need to pay any attention to grammar, punctuation, the structure of the writing, and the way ideas are held together. Then comes the first draft. In this case, either the peers or the teacher provide comments. With the help of this kind of feedback, learners can revise, add or rewrite something in their paper. By analogy with the previous stages, the learners write their second draft and actually a final paper. And that’s all. It’s not scary and you clearly understand what you need to do. Your confidence increases immediately when you receive an excellent grade for your work.
Are you still sure that writing is a mysterious gift granted to a few lucky people? I hope, not. It is essential to realize that no one can create superior essays as easily as pen can move across paper. So, believe in yourself, practice a lot and whenever you are struggling with anything, just keep in mind that you CAN do it.
What do you think when you open a newspaper or a magazine? What is the first impression when you see a title of an article? Can you understand by the title what is it about? Will it be interesting for you or not?
I’m just a beginner in teaching. I started this new semester in my MA TESOL program with teaching a course, EN100 (which is “English Composition”). During the explanation of one of the topics (it was connected with Literacy Narrative) I showed a presentation for my students. That presentation included information about how to choose a topic, how to generate ideas, how to describe the settings and main characters, how to organize a narrative. The last slide had a name “Come up with a title.” I asked my students: “Why do you think we have this slide about the title at the very end? Why do we need to create a title at the last moment?” They didn’t know the answer. I explained to them from the point of view of an ex-journalist (previously I worked as a journalist for an online magazine in my country). What do you think my answer was? And what do you think about “the title creation at the very end”?
Now I’ll explain. When you first open your morning newspaper, what attracts you the most? What grabs your attention? How do you know that this article can be interesting for you without reading it? Right! That’s it! A title! The louder the title, the more attractive it is for a reader. Nobody will be interested in an article with the title like “Justin Bieber wrote a new love song” (except for Bieber’s fans). Boring, isn’t it? But what about this one – “A teenagers’ idol tried to kill a paparazzo”? I will definitely read these exciting news. That’s why a good writer should come up with a good idea, write it down, organize, proofread, edit everything and only at the end create a #grab_my_attention_title.