Write Effectively and Overcome Writer's Block


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Write Effectively & Overcome Writer’s Block
Do you have a hard time deciding what to write about? Do you have trouble developing a thesis?

Have you gotten feedback on your papers asking you to more clearly develop your ideas?
This workshop will introduce you to the principles of effective writing. You will also learn some strategies for how to critically analyze information in
order to more effectively write your essays & get through writer’s block.

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Write Effectively and Overcome Writer's Block

  1. 1. Unblock the Writing Experience Resources to help develop your writing skills and style Presented by Kate Stockton, Learning Coach at NEC
  2. 2. Workshop Agenda•Learn the best way to get started with yourwriting assignments•Build confidence in ability to write•Become aware of writing resources•Questions? (Stop me and ask throughout)
  3. 3. Writers need to know…• How to get inspired & motivated• How to get started• The mechanics of writing• How to get resources
  4. 4. Get Inspired!• Talk to your instructor and classmates about your topic (start brainstorming if/when instructor discusses the assignment during class)• Visit a local library or bookstore and skim through relevant books/magazines• Search for ideas and inspiration on general search engines (google, bing, blogs, etc.)• Talk to others about your assignment and ask for their ideas and feedback• Read! But when you read ANYTHING pay attention to the writing style not just the content• Create a writing ritual in a comfortable, quiet place at a productive time
  5. 5. Why is it so hard to get started?• Pre-existing condition: writing anxiety?• The “eternal perfectionist” syndrome• Lack of experience, or lack of confidence• Not familiar with pre-writing exercises or writing resources• Procrastination – under too much time pressure and/or stress to do a good job• Don’t understand the assignment
  6. 6. Inventor, Reader, Editor • Writer’s block is usually because the writer is engaging in more than one entity at a time • So… take turns acting each part! • A rough draft is a writer’s best friend • You need to read your rough draft with a critical eye, compare to the expectations of the assignment • You don’t have to be the only editor! Use your resources (smarthinking.com, learning coaches, peer coaches)Adapted from Elaine Handley’s “Writer’s Block” athttp://www.esc.edu/esconline/across_esc/writerscomplex.nsf/3cc42a422514347a8525671d0049f395/e3e4e891568bf8b185256a010073d22d?OpenDocument
  7. 7. Gathering Information• Research based? – Become familiar with online library and how to ask questions• Your knowledge, insight or opinion• Understanding the text, article, topic• Will you need to interview or observe others?• Laboratory study, experiments• Keep track by using a consistent system
  8. 8. Pre-Writing Exercises• Brainstorming• Making lists• Asking questions• Re-reading the assignment expectations• Mindmapping, clustering• Creating an organized outline
  9. 9. Organizing the Information• See if you can use your brainstorm or mindmap to get started• Decide how you want to organize the information• Consider the “flow” – Comparing and contrasting information – Chronologically• What stays vs. what needs to go• Complete your outline
  10. 10. Writing Keep in mind that the hard part is done! Write body first, then worry about intro & conclusion at the end Just write! Don’t worry about using fancy words or sentence structure, proper grammar YET… Keep your outline, brainstorm, mindmap nearby to consult when necessary If you get stuck, skip and move on! Read out loud as you go
  11. 11. Breaking Down the AssignmentAssignment: Your goal is to write a 3-4 paged paper (for students taking the study atthe advanced level -- 1-2 for introductory level) that is an indepth analysis of yourselfin personal, professional and academic contexts. (Enhancing the Academic Eye Fall 2010)• First – analyze the question – What kind of a paper is it? (i.e. reaction, persuasive, research, journal, literature review) – What are the action words in the assignment? (analyze, apply, argue, compare/contrast, describe, discuss , define, evaluate, critique, interpret, react, summarize, syn thesize) – What are the rules of the paper? (length, line spacing, topic, deadline)
  12. 12. Make Your Plan to Answer the QuestionAssignment: Your goal is to write a 3-4 paged paper (for students taking the study atthe advanced level -- 1-2 for introductory level) that is an indepth analysis of yourselfin personal, professional and academic contexts. (Enhancing the Academic Eye Fall 2010) •INTRODUCTION - why am I writing this. State your purpose by restating the key parts of the question - this helps the reader (instructor) know you understood what was being asked of you and you are aiding the reader (instructor) in understanding what you are going to talk about. •BODY – Can take different forms – •Could be strengths as the focus in each of the three areas (academic, personal and professional) and then the limits in those areas as separate paragraphs OR •Each area (academic, personal and professional) as a separate paragraph with strengths and limitations both discussed under that particular area •CONCLUSION - make a plan for success including a connection to the strengths, limitations, and your learning style.
  13. 13. How to Mind Map• Start by writing the topic of your assignment in the center of the page• Write subtopics around the topic and draw lines to connect where appropriate• Narrow the topic down even further (details)• Include any other pieces of information and make lines to show patterns, relationships and other connections.
  15. 15. SimilaritiesDifferences Differences Object, Event Object, Event or Person or Person
  16. 16. The Writer’s Complex can be accessed via the Learning Support Tab Check out the Writer’sComplex for more help withresponding to assignments
  17. 17. PTR 2Problem = INTRO T hesisR easons = BODYR esults = Conclusion
  18. 18. Examples on how to create “flow”• State that you have 3 points to make, then begin paragraph with “My first point…”, etc.• Start the second paragraph by comparing/constrasting with information you discussed in the previous paragraph• Break up your essay into sections and give each section a catch phrase (think of the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert)
  19. 19. Proofreading & Editing• Read the entire paper first, make only obvious corrections• Know your own weaknesses (sentence structure, run- ons, tense problems, etc.) – use feedback from your previous papers!• Read out loud to help with flow and sentence structure• Ask others to read and ask for their ideas and input• Submit paper to www.esc.edu/smarthinking• Take a break before you read it the last time before you hand it in
  20. 20. For your next writing assignment:1. What kind of assignment is it?2. What is the goal of the assignment?3. Consider why your instructor is having you complete this assignment4. What is the topic/thesis statement?5. Start brainstorming ideas6. Draw a mindmap7. Create an outline8. Write your rough draft9. Review and Edit
  21. 21. How to Find More Help
  22. 22. More Writing Resources• ESC Writing Center http://www.esc.edu/ESConline/Across_ESC/WritingResourceCenter.nsf /homepageForm?OpenForm• ESC Library Online Workshops - dates and registration info on www.esc.edu/library• Research Tutorials: http://subjectguides.esc.edu/tutorials• Free online writing help - www.esc.edu/smartthinking• Writers Digest - http:// www.writersdigest.com• VisuWords - http:// www.visuwords.com• Fuel Your Writing - http://www.fuelyourwriting.com/• Diana Hacker’s Writing Reference http://dianahacker.com/writersref• Mind Mapping Resources: http://www.buzanworld.com
  23. 23. Work Consulted:• Dobie, A. et. al. "Who, What, When, and Where of Writing Rituals." The Quarterly of The National Writing Project 24.4 (Fall 2002). 18 March 2004. <http://www.writingproject.org/pub/nwpr/quarterly/2002no4/dobie.html >.• Hacker, D. “A Writer’s Reference” Fifth Edition. 2003. http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/writersref6e/Player/Pages/Main.aspx