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May 28, 2010

Take Me To Your Reader

I teach a lot of writing classes. If there is one thing that can make the biggest difference in someone's life, it is the thrill of seeing one's own words and thoughts published and shared with the world.

Writing can be very intimidating. My students tend to veer from being overly clinical to embarrassingly personal.

And then there is the dreaded 'writer's block' where all ideas seem to....

...die somewhere between the hand and the blank page or screen.

I urge my students to clearly understand where - and when - - they write best. Morning or evening? In public? Or alone? With music? Or in silence?

Once a writer has an established writing place and routine, many time the ideas will just flow.

I carry a notebook with me most of the time so I can write down random thoughts or summaries of ideas. When I get to a computer, I fill in the rest and flesh out the whole idea. In other words, my first notes are the skeleton of my idea and as I "connect the dots" between my first thoughts, I find that filling in the blanks is the easiest part of writing.

A friend who is a house painter recently told me that painting a house is about 90% preparation and about 10% actual painting. Writing is a lot like that. The more thought you put into it ahead of time, the easier - and better - your writing will be.

There are many great resources to encourage writing across the internet. To see some samples of writing and get some very practical writing tips, take a look at http://hubpages.com/topics/books-and-writing/writing/628.

Writing is fun, therapeutic and can help you expand your social and professional network.

My intention in teaching English is far more than mastery of grammar and vocabulary. I want my students to be equipped to comprehend and make sense of the world around them. Part of comprehending is to understand, but another important part is to make something known and part of one's self.

And of course, there are few experiences more satisfying than fully expressing one's self - especially in a learned language.

It is good to remember that we are all always learning. And it is always more fun to learn together. We can learn as much from the past as from the present.

Let me know what it is about English that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.

Morf

About the author of this entry:

Morf has a B.A.from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and an MAT (Master's in Teaching English) from the University of Washington (Seattle). Morf prefers international and independent films, foods he can't pronounce, music no one else has heard of and riding his bicycle in foreign cities.

Posted by mmorf at May 28, 2010 07:56 PM

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