Finding Your Writing Process – Start Writing!

Are your English papers coming back with Ds and Cs? If so, ask yourself, “do I have a writing process?” Essays and research papers only get longer and harder in college, so developing a solid process early on may be the difference between failing and thriving.

Writing-Tips-bookTutorNerds’ Irvine private tutors cannot stress enough the importance of having a writing process. In the same way professional actors have routines prior to shows or sports stars have routines before a big game, habits help get us in the right mindset. Specifically, they help ensure a positive outcome. You’ll want to come up with your own routine around writing, even if you don’t plan on being an author. In this next step of the writing process, we’ll look at common assumptions students have about writing. By the end, you’ll see how much control you have over the writing process and where you can start customizing your own method.

The writing stage comes right after deciding what to write about.

Once you decide on a topic or are given an assignment, hold off the urge to just “get it done.” With no prior planning or evidence, you’ll have at best a disorderly essay with little proof to back up the thesis. Instead, after a topic is chosen, the best way to turn is towards an outline. This is what we call a “working document,” one that is in a constant state of change until you’re confident in the product. Use this outline as a way to gather information, ideas and evidence. From here you can change ideas around, move evidence to different paragraphs, anything you need to create an outline that is logical and supported by evidence. From there, you can start writing.

The writing stage only needs to be done once and it’s over.

We all know we do our best work when we’re relaxed and have time to check our mistakes. If yours truly had to turn in first drafts as final drafts, I’d be pretty embarrassed. Writing is usually not a one stage process, at least not for anything over a half page. Instead of stressing out and missing silly mistakes, allow yourself breaks while writing. The best writing process includes an outline, rough draft, and final draft. Each of these can be followed by a break of a few hours or a whole day. Coming back with a fresh mind will usually help catch unclear ideas or awkward sentences you may have missed.

I’ll start with the introduction, figure out a thesis statement, then write the body paragraphs, followed by the conclusion.

This is usually the most common mistake with young writers. We get into a habit of writing from introduction to conclusion because that’s how we’re taught in school. When teaching writing for the first time, it makes sense to teach it in a logical manner; from top to bottom, the way we read it. However, most writers work much better outside the top to bottom system. Instead, try starting with the body paragraphs. This way you have all your evidence done, and your thesis, introduction, and conclusion will actually match your ideas. It really doesn’t matter how you start, you just want to find a way to ensure your ideas stay consistent from start to finish.

grade-papersI can write the night before it’s due.

Has this ever worked out well for anyone? Let’s argue it hasn’t. Put simply, it’s being lazy. Relying on the night before has a lot to do with many of the other assumptions we’ve discussed.

To push the point, putting writing off to the last minute never turns out well. You may still get a good grade, but you know it’s not your best work. We talked previously about how your ideas can change over time. If you give yourself  the opportunity to think about a question or concept for more than a few hours, you’ll probably have a better understanding of it. If you don’t utilize that time, what you may have instead is a confused paper; one that begins with an opinion, and ends with another entirely. The change of opinion may be incredibly insightful, but it’s overshadowed by a paper that makes no logical sense.

As your local Orange County in-home tutors we know you can do better than procrastinating. It all comes back to confidence; confidence in your writing and in yourself. Trust us, a private tutor can help with both those things.

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Attention all Orange County, CA, high school students grades 9-12: Enter our essay contest for a chance to win $500! The deadline is quickly approaching.

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