Becoming A More Confident Writer
Some people enjoy writing papers and would rather write two papers than take one objective test. But others become anxious and frustrated when faced with a writing assignment because they think they can’t write well or that they have nothing to say about the topic. Viewing writing as a developable skill and as a discovery process helps reduce writing anxiety and build confidence.
Viewing writing as a skill builds confidence because if writing is a skill then anyone can improve their ability to write clear, complete papers. Choosing words, constructing clear sentences, and writing and organizing effective paragraphs are developable skills. When we view writing as a skill we see that writing is not only for those who like to write or have a way with words.
Some people think they can’t write because they have nothing to say about the topic or that they can’t fully express their thoughts on paper.
Viewing writing as a process which provides opportunity for discovery, drafting, and revision builds confidence because we can see that complete, polished ideas don’t have to be written down all at once but can be explored and developed over time. Here are the five main parts of the writing process.
Invention and discovery
Listing, free-writing, and anything that provides opportunity to explore and capture ideas and make connections – without worrying about what is and what is not on topic, useful, or correct. The main goal here is to get ideas and connections down on paper.
Writing as complete a final product as possible. The main goal here is to keep audience and purpose in mind and to follow initial ideas, knowing that there will be time later for cutting, adding, and re-organizing.
To revise is to try again. Revision can focus on the whole or any of its parts. Keep in mind that many professional writers put their work through multiple revisions.
If to revise is to try again, then to edit is to refine. Editing involves refining word selection, tightening sentences, adding a bit more detail to help clarify meaning, etc.
Proofreading involves checking for grammar, spelling, and punctuation correctness. It is an important final step in the writing process.
Successful, confident writers understand that writing is a skill which can be practiced and developed. They also know that writing is a recursive process and expect to be inventing new material as they revise their rough draft, and editing for word choice as they revise at the paragraph level. Most importantly, they also realize that the amount of time one devotes to each step in the writing process depends upon the complexity of the task at hand and when the final product is due.