Tag Archives: Writing

Finding Your Writing Process | TutorNerds | Orange County

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.

tutor logo Kindness Clubs for Kids | TutorNerds | tutornerds.com All blog entries are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional, in Irvine, Orange County, CA, or other relevant blogger? If so, email us at info@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations.

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.

One final note of interest: According to the Los Angeles Times, UC seeks to increase transfer students from community colleges. As you may know, the current counseling/transfer process is confusing and difficult, which makes this promising news. Follow us on twitter: for the latest on this exciting announcement. Remember, we’re here to help you with all your college admissions needs

Five Tips For Your College Entrance Essay | TutorNerds

Applying to College is Scary

It’s time to sit down and write that personal essay to send out to your dream college and you have to communicate to the school admissions department why you should get a coveted spot in their freshman class. In this tutor’s experience, everyone seems to leave this particular part of their college application process to the very end. Admittedly, writing about yourself is about as awkward as it gets and with a general question like “Why should you be accepted to this university?” or “How will you use your education to improve your life?” the idea of trying to be original is nearly impossible.

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That’s just it, don’t try, just do it. Of course, I know that is much easier said than done but the more you think about what to write the harder it will be, so it’s important to just get some words down on paper. You always have the option of editing later. In fact, you will probably write several drafts before you arrive at that final, polished version. Trust us, our Orange County private tutors have applied and been accepted to some prestigious universities (it wasn’t easy).

Trying too hard to stand out will almost always end up making your writing style appear forced. Do yourself a favor and take some of the stress away and let your inner brilliance shine!

1. Make a list of things that you honestly want to do with your life after college.

If you’re not sure what you want to do or if you think you might change your mind, just write down something that would be really cool to do with your life, even if it doesn’t seem entirely realistic. Have you always wanted to cycle across the USA? Wish you could get paid to travel and write articles about awesome tourist sites? Write these down in your outline, they could come in handy later.

2. Just start writing.

Forget about flow, grammar and spelling for now (that will come later). If your computer feels uninspiring, go down to your favorite place and write with a good old fashioned paper and pencil. Being in nature, near the ocean, or in any setting that makes you feel relaxed will help the words flow out of your head and onto that paper.

3. Write a few versions of your personal essay.

It will be great to have some options to choose from later. Also, if different colleges have slightly different prompts, don’t try to mold one essay into several. Take the time to write a separate essay for each university. The admissions department will easily be able to tell which applicants took the time to write an entire essay from scratch and who took a short cut. Your personal essay is essentially your resume and cover letter combined. It could possibly take you from the “maybe” pile to the “yes” pile, so those extra hours are definitely worth it!

4. Wait a day or two before proofreading your essay.

It is really hard to edit your own work, but having a fresh eye will give you a better shot at making adequate changes. Do all of the content edits first, and then move on to the grammar and flow edits. If you correct grammar and formatting before content, you may find that you are spending more time than you need and we want to keep this as low stress as possible to keep those creative juices flowing.

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5. Know when to ask for help.

If you are really struggling with this aspect of your college application, don’t be afraid to get help from your private Irvine in-home tutor or a responsible classmate. All of the content should be yours but there is no reason why you can’t get inspiration or formatting help from an experienced writer.

Bottom Line:  Be yourself. You want to end up at a university that is a good fit for you and has the programs and opportunities that will enrich your life and help you get closer to your career goals.

Need practice? Enter our Orange County, California, essay contest. It’s open to all O.C. high school students grades 9-12. In addition to the chance of wining $500 for summer, the contest is a great opportunity to practice your essay skills.

Have a fantastic Earth Day, Orange County!

All blog entries are written by Tutor Nerds. For educational guest-blogging, please email us at info@tutornerds.com

Orange County Essay Contest ($500 Prize) | TutorNerds

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  – Toni Morrison

Orange County High School Essay Contest: Write Your Own Future


Writing well is important. It’s important for your education, your future job, and various other social interactions. Even if you aced your high school English courses, odd are you’re still not adequately prepared for college level writing assignments. Writing well takes time, practice, and patience. Unfortunately, most students find this out the night before an important essay is due, or while writing their college entrance essays.

In order to help get the word out about America’s writing crisis, we’re calling on all Orange County private and public high school students to tell us why they think writing well is important. Further, you can win money ($500). Below is our official press release. Please contact us at info@tutornerds.com for any questions regarding the contest. Stay updated on the latest news by checking our Google +, blog, twitter, and facebook often. Good luck, OC!

Rules, Regulations, and Deadlines

Irvine, California – As a part of the Orange County community, local company TutorNerds is concerned high school students are entering college with insufficient writing skills. For instance, in a study administered by the National Center for Educational Progress, four out of five American students do not write proficiently. This is alarming. So how can we help? In addition to our tutoring services, we are committed to making this crisis part of everyday educational conversations. Most importantly, we want to show writing can be fun and fulfilling .

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect” – Anais Nin.

In a world of word processors, tweets, and texts, it’s often difficult for students to realize the importance of writing well. Sadly, most individuals discover too late that their abilities are not up to par with college standards. From business emails to wedding vows, having the ability to write well will always give you the advantage.  

For the reasons mentioned above, TutorNerds officially announces its Essay Contest for Orange County 9-12th graders. This essay contest gives local students the chance to compete for a first place Grand Prize of $500 towards the student’s education.

The contest specifics are as followed:

The contest is open to current students of any Orange County private or public high schools.
The essay prompt reads: “Describe why you believe writing well is important for your future.”

The contest submissions should be no more than 1,500 words written preferably with Microsoft Word and saved as a Word document. The 1,500 max word count should be taken seriously, as submissions with any more than 1,500 words will not be considered.

Students are required to ensure their submissions are written in Times New Roman, 12 pt font, and double spaced.

Submissions must be of entirely original content. Students are not allowed to receive any help from friends or family. Moreover, these submissions must be something that the student has written for this particular essay contest. This means that articles or content from previous school assignments, or even past essay contests, will not be accepted.

Contest submissions will be judged on three aspects:

Quality of content (including writing, grammar, spelling, punctuation, structure, etc.);

Persuasiveness of the student’s argument(s) as well as the persuasiveness of the student’s counter-argument(s);

Overall Originality (essays should be enjoyable, enlightening, and easy to read. In other words, use your own voice!).

First place will receive $500 towards his or her education. In addition, the top five essays will be credited and published  on our blog.

In order to be considered for this contest, students who submit content must also follow TutorNerds on twitter (@TutorNerds), as well as like TutorNerds’ Facebook page. Don’t be a contest hog! Help us spread the word by sharing, tweeting, and telling your Orange County high school contemporaries about the competition.

In honor of Walt Whitman’s birthday,  the deadline for submitting content is 12 Noon on May 31, 2014. Each student is asked to include in his or her submission their full name, e-mail address, phone number, the high school in which the student currently attends and the grade level, and the student’s twitter handle. Students should submit their essays to info@tutornerds.com

The winners’ names will be posted the week of the 16th of June, 2014. Students who submitted winning essays will also be contact via telephone, so it’s vital that students provide a correct telephone number.

This contest is void where prohibited by law. TutorNerds LLC reserves the right to refuse to award if doing so violates any applicable state laws.

TutorNerdsEssayContestPlease help us spread the word by sharing our contest on social media, as well as telling your classmates, teachers, and parents! We look forward to reading your essays, Orange County.

All blog entries are written by Tutor Nerds. For educational guest-blogging, please email us at info@tutornerds.com