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Writing is Hard

I often get complaints from students that writing is hard.  Does that mean you should give up on it?  Absolutely not!  First, you should explore why writing seems hard for you.  Then, you should practice, practice, practice.  Does it help that, although I love to write, I also find it challenging?

One reason writing is hard is that it is subjective.  Math can be hard, too, but at least in math you can show your work and you know if the answer is right or wrong.  With writing, the teacher says something like, “This is almost what I was looking for, keep trying.”  There is no right answer in writing, and often different teachers have different ideas about what is good writing.

Good writing is also dependent on a myriad of other skills.  In order to write well, you need to have a good grasp of spelling, punctuation, grammar, and sentence structure long before you even deicde what you want to say.  Then you have to remember about topic sentences, introductions and conclusions, and developing your paragraphs.  At times it seems that only the truly stout hearted will manage to be successful!

At the school where I teach, many parents learned English as a second language.  They are very good at helping their students succeed at math and science, but they are completely unable to help with writing composition.  Many of them never formally learned to write, no matter what country schooled them.  Others learned so many rules they never enjoyed writing and are incapable of passing along a love of writing.  Can I tell you a secret?  Many teachers have never been taught how to write, and they hate it too.  (yes, really!)

Okay, so writing is hard.  But you’ve mastered many things that other people consider hard.  I think riding a skateboard is hard, and I am completely incompetent at anything musical.  Think about something you do well (basketball, homework, ballet, guitar, even video games).  Now think about the very first time you picked up a basketball, or a guitar, or a game controller.  Did you immediately make that three-point shot to win the game?  Or take off on a rockin’ solo?  Or obliterate the crazy dude and beat the level?  No, you had to practice.  In most cases, practicing is quite boring and  painful.  Even professional athletes and accomplished musicians will admit that practicing is not enjoyable, but they will all tell you it is necessary.  If you want to get better at anything, you must practice. That includes writing.  And guess what?  The more you practice, the better you get at it, and the more fun it becomes.

On my Kindle:  Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

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