Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Write Way

Shouldn't kids be taught to outline their non-fiction writing BEFORE they write it? I'm not sure. As a writer myself, I NEVER outline my work. In fact, I find outlines to be too restrictive. While I will use a graphic organizer from time to time, I find out what I'm going to write by writing it. Often, in the writing, I'll discover what I intend to say as I'm pursuing how to express another idea altogether. Yep, that's right, writing for me is a process of self-discovery, of coming to better understand what it is I'm going to say as I say it or immediately after I say it.

This is fresh on my mind because this past Saturday, one teacher said, "I just want kids to learn how to outline so that they can write well." A part of me started guiltily at the fact that *I* don't outline my work. Perhaps, my writing would improve if I did outline what I was going to be writing more. But, perhaps not.
For me, the process of writing a novel is a matter of finding the story, chipping away. I'm not an outliner. The one time I actually tried outlining a novel, by the time the outline was done, I was so bored with the story. So now I write to discover what I'm trying to say. An instructor of mine, Judith Beth Cohen, once said this, that she didn't write because she had answers but because she had questions.
Source: Pen on Fire
In the quote above, this blogger is sharing that she gets bored with a story by the time the outline is done. Like her, I write to discover what I'm trying to say. Maybe we had to do this before when we didn't have word processors, when everything had to be planned out in advance so as to maximize one's time. Now, I'd rather leap out into the unknown and see what catches me...maybe the landing will be easy, maybe not...but I'll write about it, either way.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


Karen Janowski said...

I wonder if that teacher outlines first and therefore believes that's the "right" method for effective writing. Good point about why it was probably important to outline in the past, before word processors made revising and editing so much easier.
It's a process of discovery for students, let's show them options and help them discover what prewriting strategies work best for them.
(I never outline either).

pshircliff said...

I never outlined for my writing. I had ideas and plans in my head. I would just start writing and have to rearrange paragraphs every once in a while to make it flow.

Genuine Leadership #4: Gratitude