Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My Writing Advice

WritingIn Things Learned From Our Four-Legged Friends... from Sioux's Page, Sioux asks,

“What writing advice do you have?”

Just start writing. The hardest thing for me is to get started. Once I start, I seem to gain momentum. Yet, I have to push myself to get started. So, I begin by just start writing and then let the thoughts start flowing.

Don’t worry about organization at first. I just start putting my thoughts down in writing and don’t worry about organization. After I have written everything down, I start grouping the sentences together that belong together. Sometimes they say the same thing in a different way so I have to choose which one sounds better. Sometimes I find out that some sentences don’t belong on topic and should be saved for another day.

Write from the heart. I mean what I say and don’t just write down thoughts that I think people want to hear. I write with feeling and try to write things that I think can impact others or make a difference to others.

Write personally. I try to write about how things affect me or what they mean to me. I don’t try to write about what other people do. If people think that something works for me and wants to give it a try, which is a good thing. Sometimes it won’t work for them. But by seeing that I try something and that it worked might give them inspiration for strategies that will work for them.

Know your purpose. I think about what I’m writing and why I’m writing it. I think about my audience if it will make people think that it is worth reading. Sometimes I might just write to vent my feelings or to reflect on my own actions. Then I realize that I am my own audience which is okay as long as I know this. Then if it benefits others, it is an added bonus.

Be appropriate. I don’t mean that your writing has to be perfect but use good writing etiquette. I don’t want to read stuff that is full of profanity, hate, or about illegal actions. If that is what you want to write about, then preface your article with that to warn people. I have info on my blog that tells people what I am writing about in general. I try to stick with my general mission as much as possible.

Make it interesting. If it is boring for me to write about it, then I know it will be equally boring for anyone to read it. I think I enjoy entertaining myself while writing as much as hoping that others will find it entertaining and interesting when they read it.

What writing advice would you give? Please share.

Image: 'Be seeing you'
http://www.flickr.com/photos/19487674@N00/58499153
Found on flickrcc.net

5 comments:

Sioux said...

Pat--Great advice. Since you love writing, I recommend checking out the closest National Writing Project site. Each site has a "summer institute" which is 4-5 weeks long and during it, you focus on your writing.

It's life-changing, Pat, and with your love of various things (nature, knitting, traveling) you have lots of writing fodder at your disposal...

The NWP headquarters is in Berkeley, California, but there are sites in most major cities in the U.S.

Pat Hensley said...

@Sioux Thanks for the recommendation. I check and there is a site near me but the application deadline was in January. I will keep it in mind for next year.

Sioux said...

Pat--I would contact them and see if the deadline is firm. If they are not filled up, they might consider making an exception. (You can tell them a Gateway Writing Project TC--teacher consultant--highly recommended the institute and said it was "life changing.")

Anonymous said...

I am currently working towards my Master’s Degree in Teaching English Language Learners and I stumbled upon some great insight that I would like to share. I have been working with a group of first graders in a public school in Maryland. With no explanation, a student with a vivid imagination came up with a wild tale about how his pencil became missing. After he went on and on about a secret intruder who stole his pencil and other classroom supplies, I couldn't help but prompt more from this young problem solver. He also noted that I often talked about how I couldn't find things I was looking for (though really, I thought I was not as obvious about misplacing my pencils, glasses, notebooks, etc...) As the year went on, he was convinced, and now his classmates as well, that there was a leprechaun who visited the desks of students who did not properly put away their supplies. With St. Patrick's Day approaching, the 2013 school year brought many descriptive and creative stories from students about our classroom culprit. Kids would beg to write stories about this creature and I made sure to integrate our three domains of writing; to persuade, to inform, to entertain. I have never so effortlessly taught students how to write. As an added bonus, Lenny (the class named our visitor) also motivated students to do their best in all subjects, as surely he was watching their every move.
The insight I gained was that students are much more motivated to express themselves then we often give them credit for. We just have to let them feel as though they are taking the lead in their education by giving them the choice of topics while molding the curriculum around their interests and needs. I used to find that I was literally pulling the words out of their mouths when asking them to complete a writing task. Now I see to have difficulty reading all that they write! It's a good problem to have!

Pat Hensley said...

@Anonymous What a fantastic story! What a great teacher you are for encouraging these stories! It shows that even at a young age, they have great imaginations and that we shouldn't try to stifle them. Hopefully your time with them will help them so much in the future and help them not be afraid of writing. Thanks so much for sharing!