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writing help and advice needed


HollyDay
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My 8th grader knows how to write. Her grammar skills are amazing. She can "shrink" or expand a sentence, make passive voice or active voice, change the tone or POV of a sentence. She can put together a paragraph. She knows how to research a topic and take notes. The mechanics are well understood. She can give an amazingly detailed and interesting oral report.

 

But, writing a paper is a major challenge for her. Getting together an outline, starting the actual writing is like a road block. She told met his morning, "It feels like the words stop at my fingers. It just gets jammed before it hits the paper."

 

I don't think another program is what we need. But, how do we get past the point we seem to be stuck?

 

Ideas??

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As one whose side job involves a lot of writing and working with authors, I'd say it's a fairly common problem. One thing that helps me is to let loose on the first draft knowing that it's just a first draft, and to just put down everything on paper that's in your head, with less thought to fine crafting of each individual sentence, transitions, etc. After that, she can put her skills to work in revising this existing text now that she doesn't have to face a blank page anymore, feeling free to carve away and delete things. Anne Lamott wrote a useful book called "Bird by Bird", with information that she shares in her writing classes, and musings on things she's experienced in her own writing. That's where I read about the first draft idea (although she calls them a bit cruder title than "first draft").

 

Erica in OR

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  • 2 weeks later...

I do not in any way want to imply that outlining is not useful and valid. With that said, I went all the way through two degrees (English Lit & Nursing) and am working on a Masters and never, ever outline. The times I was required to outline, I wrote a first (rough) draft first (as a pp mentioned) and made the outline off of that to turn in. Outlining just does not work for me or help me. When faced with having to outline, I freeze and the words stop at my fingers, too. Of course, I also need the pressure of a deadline to really make me work, so I may not be one to give the best advice. :tongue_smilie:

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