The Writing Process

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The Writing Process

  1. 1. The Writing Process Or… Zen and the Art of Essay Craft
  2. 2. Getting Started <ul><li>First and foremost… </li></ul><ul><li>DON’T PANIC! </li></ul>
  3. 3. GETTING STARTED II <ul><li>Habits That Will Result in a Poor Paper </li></ul><ul><li>Procrastinating </li></ul><ul><li>One-draft writing </li></ul><ul><li>Massive self-criticism </li></ul><ul><li>Thesaurus abuse </li></ul><ul><li>Marriage to first draft </li></ul><ul><li>Habits That Will Result in a Successful Paper </li></ul><ul><li>Prewriting </li></ul><ul><li>Developing </li></ul><ul><li>Revising </li></ul><ul><li>Tweaking </li></ul><ul><li>Writing Center </li></ul><ul><li>Conferencing </li></ul><ul><li>Habits That Guarantee Failure </li></ul><ul><li>No Process </li></ul><ul><li>No Paper </li></ul><ul><li>Plagiarism </li></ul>
  4. 4. Understand Your Assignment (Then Forget About it For Awhile) <ul><li>Thoroughly read your assignment prompt. </li></ul><ul><li>What, specifically, is your topic? </li></ul><ul><li>Who is your audience? </li></ul><ul><li>How long should your essay be? </li></ul><ul><li>Are there special requirements? </li></ul><ul><li>Ask questions if you don’t understand. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Getting Ideas <ul><li>After figuring out your assignment - you need to generate ideas before you begin drafting. </li></ul><ul><li>Forget about the end product for a bit and just get creative. </li></ul><ul><li>Try listing, mapping, free-writing, journalist questions, cubing, or any other method that works for you. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Listing <ul><li>Listing is a good way to quickly gather many ideas on paper. </li></ul><ul><li>Simply make a list of as many ideas as come to you as quickly as possible. </li></ul><ul><li>Topic: Essay About An Important Place </li></ul><ul><li>List: </li></ul><ul><li>Bed, my comfy chair, the mountains, the ocean, my office, the garden, anywhere with a book, Starbucks, home, the shower, the right state of mind… </li></ul>
  7. 7. Mapping <ul><li>Mapping is a form of free association that creates a visual image of ideas and their connections. Using mapping can give you not only ideas for an essay - but connecting ideas that may turn into paragraphs. </li></ul><ul><li>Favorite Place </li></ul>Comfort Starbucks Aesthetics Books Tastes Smell Hanging out with friends Writing Studying Energy
  8. 8. Freewriting <ul><li>Write, write, write and don’t stop. Freewriting means taking an idea and running with it wherever it leads. Don’t think about it - just keep writing. When you free yourself and just allow the ideas to come, you might end up with a great essay topic that you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. </li></ul><ul><li>Starbucks </li></ul><ul><li>Coffee calls from shelves and walls. I can’t not stop in. Who will be waiting for me today? Chatting till I have to run to class, my latte sloshing with each step. I don’t even mind when it splashes on my fingers: my sugar-free, non-fat liquid gold. Keeping me sane. The barista knows my name. Here I sip the taste of home. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Journalist Questions <ul><li>Use the standard questions every journalist must answer. </li></ul><ul><li>Who </li></ul><ul><li>What </li></ul><ul><li>When </li></ul><ul><li>Where </li></ul><ul><li>Why </li></ul><ul><li>How </li></ul><ul><li>Thinking of different ways to answer those questions might lead to a fresh perspective on your topic. </li></ul><ul><li>The Taste of Home </li></ul><ul><li>Who: Either alone or with friends. </li></ul><ul><li>What: Coffee, coffee, coffee! </li></ul><ul><li>When: Day, night, when studying, when socializing, when thinking, when chilling… </li></ul><ul><li>Where: Starbucks, Coffee Haus, my office, home, pretty much anywhere </li></ul><ul><li>Why: Energy, inspiration, comfort, mental and emotional health </li></ul><ul><li>How: With all the senses engaged. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Cubing <ul><li>Similar to Journalist Questions, cubing involves considering your topic from six different angles. </li></ul><ul><li>Describe it (colors, shapes, sizes, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Compare it (What is it similar to?) </li></ul><ul><li>Associate it (What does it make you think of?) </li></ul><ul><li>Analyze it (Tell how it's made) </li></ul><ul><li>Apply it (What can you do with it? How can it be used?) </li></ul><ul><li>Argue for or against it </li></ul><ul><li>Describe it: Engage the senses - how does it look and taste and feel - what do you hear and smell? </li></ul><ul><li>Compare it: Like finding my muse. </li></ul><ul><li>Associate it: A luxurious bubble bath; slipping into silk pajamas. </li></ul><ul><li>Analyze it: It gives me a moment to breathe in my surroundings, to organize my thoughts. When drinking a cup of coffee with friends, I am sharing my real self. </li></ul><ul><li>Apply it: Coffee can be an effective and relatively safe energizer. It can help get through massive amounts of graduate school readings. </li></ul><ul><li>Argue for or against it: Strangely, I think of home and comfort when I drink a cup of coffee during the day, despite the fact that no one in my home is terribly fond of coffee. When I make coffee at home, it never seems to be as comforting as coffee I share with friends at work. </li></ul>
  11. 11. The VRD ( Very Rough Draft) <ul><li>The VRD is rough - very rough. </li></ul><ul><li>Take your idea and start writing about it. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t worry too much about spelling, punctuation, organization or grammar. Just make sure it’s marginally readable. </li></ul><ul><li>It’s like freewriting - but attempts to stick to the topic and gets typed. </li></ul><ul><li>It CAN be nutty, horrible, abysmal, disorganized, slangy and even silly. </li></ul><ul><li>The idea is to just get started. </li></ul>
  12. 12. “ Polaroids” <ul><li>Anne Lamott, in Bird by Bird, describes the next part of the process as “seeing what develops” - like a polaroid. </li></ul><ul><li>After writing your VRD, let it breathe for a day or so and then read it again. </li></ul><ul><li>Do you see anything different there? </li></ul><ul><li>Can you see a more interesting direction for your essay developing? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there more to explore? </li></ul>
  13. 13. Anne Lamott’s Three Draft Essay <ul><li>After gathering ideas, you can think of your essay writing process in three drafts: </li></ul><ul><li>The Down Draft: Just get it all down (aka - the VRD). </li></ul><ul><li>The Up Draft: Then fix it up (revision and organization). </li></ul><ul><li>The Dental Draft: Check every ‘tooth’ carefully - work on word choice and sentencing to make it sound better (tweaking). </li></ul>
  14. 14. Read it Out Loud <ul><li>During the revision phase - read your paper slowly, out loud to yourself. </li></ul><ul><li>Better yet, read it out loud to a friend or tutor. </li></ul><ul><li>Even better - have someone read it out loud to you! </li></ul><ul><li>You will be amazed what paper issues you can ‘hear’ that you missed when reading. </li></ul><ul><li>If parts are awkward, confusing, choppy or repetitive, you’ll notice. </li></ul><ul><li>You might feel a little silly - but it may mean the difference in your paper grade. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Formatting and Requirements <ul><li>If you haven’t already - it’s time to revisit your assignment sheet. </li></ul><ul><li>Notice the requirements for paper length, font, margins, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Does it need a cover sheet? A creative title? </li></ul><ul><li>What should be included in your folder with the final draft? </li></ul><ul><li>After all your hard work - don’t loose points by neglecting the requirements. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Finish It! <ul><li>At this point - if you’ve gone through the process - you should be proud of your essay. </li></ul><ul><li>If you’ve also gone to the Writing Center and conferenced with me - you should be proud and confident. </li></ul><ul><li>Give it one last check for those sneaky, ‘dum’ errors (like writing ‘to’ instead of ‘too’ or ‘your’ instead of ‘you are’) </li></ul><ul><li>And all that’s left to do is… </li></ul><ul><li>Staple it - put it in a folder with the process and celebrate! </li></ul>

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