best way to write is to wait, think, and worry until the last
minute, then submit the first draft as a final draft.
Some Students' Reasoning: I know what to write but not
how to write. I always procrastinate then get back a paper covered
in red ink.
Some Professors' Reply: "I don't want to grade a
Foster the writing process. Candance Clements explains that
to write an analysis of a painting, students should begin their
papers with "a precise description, . . . . move next to
an analysis of its visual elements . . . . [and] conclude"
on the work's relationship to Romanticism. She also refers to
the process of writing: "allow time for preparing, drafting,
and revising your paper." Again use checkpoints for various
stages of writing.
Teach the process of writing explicitly. Too many students
still assume that writing is an act of transcription so one should
think then write one perfect draft. Of course, it is very difficult
to start writing with a perfect introduction. Students, therefore,
sit before a computer, muttering and deleting one sentence then
another, until midnight panic produces a last minute draft.
Present Donald Murray's straightforward description of writing
as a process of collecting, focusing, ordering, drafting, and
revising. I stress that when a writer is struggling, it can be
helpful to separate these tasks and to revert to an earlier one.
Also recommended: William Stafford's frequently anthologized essay
titled "A Way of Writing."
MINIMUM CLASS TIME: 15-30 minutes