Write & Revise, or just Write? That is the question

Teach Writing as a Process Not Product By: Donald M. Murray

“The writer, as he writes, is making ethical decisions. He doesn’t test his words by a rule book, but life. He uses language to reveal the truth to himself so that he can tell it to others. It is an exciting, eventful, evolving process.” On the first day of class if my instructor would begin the very first class with that quote I believe the entire class would have a wonderful semester. For so many people, writing is such an intimidating thing. Learning it, reading, editing, grammar, the whole 9 yards can be a huge headache. However when you look at it in the way of expression, it just reminds you how powerful writing actually is, in so many unique ways.

Prewriting: Something I literally never was interested in doing, in my other class Writing Literature for Children and Young Adult we have been doing a lot of prewriting in the form of, proposals, storyboards, character lists and to be honest this has be so helpful for my writing process. I feel so much more organized and ready to get into the actually body of writing.

Writing: The first draft aka the worst draft! Well I guess that depends on who is reading it, usually I would jump directly into writing which is probably why I get stuck and never end up finishing a complete task! I find it ironic that according to this article it takes 1% of the writers time! ha! not this writer who clearly has a problem with distractions taking over my mind.

Rewriting: The fun part? Sometimes editing yourself is . a real what in the world was I trying to say moment. Other times it’s such a relief to be at that stage in the game of polishing your work and prepare to allow others to read it.

I love the idea of the teacher shutting up! No offense to my teachers reading this because I love you dearly! However I think a process I might adopt when it’s my time to teach would be starting off letting the students write before I teach, no guidelines, just writing whatever comes to their minds. That will give me an idea of where we are at and where we need to go. ( I’m almost positive, this has been done many many many times before. I take no credit in this method.) Telling the student what to write instead of how to write isn’t productive in my opinion when it comes to the learning process.

I want to end my response with this ” We must listen carefully for those words that may reveal a truth, that may reveal a voice.” I loved everything about this piece because it is exactly how I would approach my students.

Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers. By, Nancy Sommers

To be completely honest I read this and said to myself… Ok Nancy what is the big deal? I mean the student writers and experienced writers are technically doing the same practices it is simply just word play. Well actually the experienced writers are doing just a tad bit more work than the students, which I am not surprised. Of course I am siding with the students because work smarter not harder right.

I always wondered to myself when getting assigned a paper that needed 3+ drafts does that include the prewriting or storyboarding stage? Or is this strictly just redoing your body of work, which it seems that’s what the experienced writers were doing. Sometimes ( for me) it doesn’t take 3+ drafts to make it right. Sometimes ( for me) all it takes is a few crossing outs, slashing and throwing out or redoing to get the job done.

“If students feel inspired, if the writing comes easily, and if they don’t get stuck on individual words or phrases, then they say they cannot see any reason to revise.” yup that’s me. However one of the experienced writers did say they rewrite as they write, so it’s not so easy to tell what a first draft is, and that resonates with my writing style as well. I think moving forward the best method for myself would be too pre-write, but not a full draft per se more of a storyboard, outline pre-write. Which I kind of feel like another experienced writer was trying to express when saying their first draft is basically trying to figure out what they want to say.. Kind of seems like working harder but too each is own. I am not the one to knock anyone for their writing techniques as long as the end result equals a finished product.