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Ernest Hemingway is one of the American writers of all time, but that did not happen overnight. Hemingway was a great writer because he accepted the fact that even great writers write terrible first drafts. The real magic happens in revision. As a writer, the most important thing to do is write. The time to be critical of your writing is when you come back to it for revision later. 

In school, teachers will tell you the exact order in which they want you to write an essay. Often times they will want you to start with an outline, develop a thesis, gather evidence, and then write your essay. However, the more essays that you write, the more that you will realize that this sequence does not work for everyone. In college, I realized that I often did not develop a good thesis until after I already finished my essay. This is just fine; you can change your thesis after you finish your essay as long as you leave yourself adequate time for revision. You have to do what works best for you.

Don't feel bad if your personal narrative uses a lot of the word "I." It's very common, and it's hard to avoid. After all, we're writing about ourselves. Ultimately, though, too much of the word "I" can weaken your essay (and even make or break your college acceptance). Basically, repetition of the word "I" makes writing boring. Not only does it keep sentence structure generic, it also makes you as the author seem self-centered. If you want your essay to stand out and capture readers' interest, it's time to do something about the "I" problem. Here's how to do it: First, you'll need to highlight or underline every instance of the word "I" in your essay. It's easiest to do this on your word processor, since editing will be easier on the computer. Now, you're going to need to get rid of some of those pesky pronouns. A good rule of thumb is five I's per essay. Ten might be OK. Any more, and we've got some work to... read more

Verbs breathe life into your writing. They're responsible for the "vivid images" that your English teacher is always raving about. But frankly, our first drafts almost never use the right verbs; too often, they're chock full of the verb "to be." "Is" and "are" make writing bland. Great writers use them sparingly, and so should we. Here are three easy ways to get rid of the verb "to be" quickly and easily. Use metaphor. "My mom was a strict woman" becomes "My mom ruled the household with an iron fist." Change nouns and adjectives into verbs. "I am a student at Wellesley College" becomes "I study at Wellesley College." "I was happy" becomes "I rejoiced." Creatively rework your sentence by changing the subject. "We were all too tired to go on" becomes "Exhaustion overwhelmed us." See how many instances of the verb "to be"...

Teaching, Poverty and Society By Ricardo Giraldo C, MA Education, MBA Business Economics                  Teaching and learning are an essential part of life; however not everyone is willing to teach sharing their knowledge. We can hear many excuses to avoid teaching to someone like "you have to love children to be a teacher, teachers are special people, to be a teacher you must have a lot of patience and motivation, too much work and low gratification, teaching someone is bringing competition into your workplace, threatens your job stability and more. The list of excuses go on and on, but at the end they are only dramatic excuses that accomplishes nothing because they do not help to reduce the gaps of poverty and the development of a society.                 Learning about life and basic education begins in the home, the schools and finished in the streets; all these... read more

As a journeyman author of fiction, poetry, and general web content, it's getting harder and harder to not talk about the subject of writing. I feel as if all the writing I've done up until this point in my life was training, and the disappointment of sloppy wordsmithing over the years was just practice for even bigger disappointments. As a writer, it's important to remember you are one of many, many, many, many, many others out there trying to do the exact same thing; get published.   It's certainly hard to stay positive in world where getting a short story published is about as common as winning $100 on a scratch off. It happens, and you hear people talk about how it happened to them, but some of us just don't pick the lucky cards (or think of the lucky ideas). But every once in a while you come across an idea that is worth investing in. And you know it's probably not as original as you say it is, but the genre is unique (to you) and the plot is ripe for exploring... read more

Writing seems to have originated in the Bronze Age, dating from 3300 B.C. to about 1200 B.C. During the Bronze Age, multiple forms of writing emerged. These included cuneiform, hieroglyphics, and multiple scripts originating in Greece. Writing began as a way to keep accounts of trade and slowly blossomed into literature. The people of the Bronze Age evolved the use of their writing from trade records, to medicinal records, to recipes, to prayer and song, to written law, and finally to stories. In today’s society, writing is seen in poems, songs, laws, books, video games, instructions, traffic signs, menus, nutrition information, and even on TV. Writing is so universal now that we don’t even think twice about all the things we read on a daily basis. All of these words that we are constantly reading are actually written by someone who put thought behind it. In ancient Egypt, only Scribes, one of the highest ranking classes of people, were allowed to learn how to write... read more

I believe that learning by mistakes is the only way, and learning involves a certain amount of risk-taking because it involves the ego, and the ego does not want to fail. National Teacher of the Year 1989 Mary V. Bicouvaris says she would "hope that all American children will be given the opportunity to become literate in their own culture and at the same time develop an international perspective that will enable them to work, lead, and thrive in a global community," and her hope rings true in our current day and age. Students react positively when they learn by mistakes, and I have witnessed a struggling student become confident simple because of hearing positive word when they needed it most. It is always important to remember that students are not experts in the area they are learning about, and that event when I try something new I make mistakes too. For this reason making mistakes is OK because it comes with the territory of being a novice. The only mistake... read more

A lot of people simply don't enjoy writing--and they do their best to take any shortcuts they can find to make the process shorter. One shortcut is avoiding outlines. Outlines can seem like just another cumbersome step. Why not just get the words on the paper and get the thing done?   But outlines serve at least two purposes: generating ideas and organizing the content. Many writers experience some form of writer's block. That empty page is intimidating, the clock is ticking, and the brain...freezes.    Outlining can help unblock things. It's easier to write down a few main ideas and some supporting facts than it is to come up with complete sentences and paragraphs, after all. Start with the introductory paragraph and write at least a fragment with the main idea. For beginning writers, it may help to highlight this to remember that the whole paper should support this focus.   Generate a few more ideas related to the topic. These might... read more

Hey everyone!     So I really wanted to talk about something I find very important, especially for those learning to master the English language. I realized that the minimal emphasis on spelling in public schools led to a major fault in the younger generation's writing skills. I found that unless a child reads often, it's hard  for them to determine what "there" one might be talking about. Often times, students may know the context of where to place the word in a spoken sentence, however not choose the correct spelling of the term in written sentences.  Being able to spell properly and maintain good grammar is something essential to children for the rest of their lives -- be it writing essays for school or applying for grants/scholarships, sending letters, filling out job applications, or even having to teach others. As parents, teachers, or educators I believe that spelling tests should still be in full effect to separate words with multiple... read more

What Does It Take to Be a Great Writer? This is a question I have asked of myself for years. I have loved writing for almost as long as I have been able to read, a good twenty or so years of my life. I have spent much time over the years reading, editing and critiquing my own writing. In this blog post I will explore this question further and discuss my own discoveries. It is my hope that this article will help those who desire to be a better creative writer as well as those who want to write better essays for class. To me, a great writer is one who will transport you effortlessly from your world into theirs. They can take something seemingly mundane and uninteresting and make it pleasurable to read. It will be easy to appreciate what they have to say. If I find a great author whose work I enjoy, I will usually scour the Internet and/or book stores to find anything I can by him or her, because great writing is truly a treasure. Traces of favorites like J... read more

Most would probably say the single best way to improve your writing skills is to write.  They would be wrong.  You can write until your fingers cramp, but that does not mean you will be writing properly.   The single best way to improve your writing skills is to read.  When you read a lot, you are subconsciously taking in the correct way to write.  Sentence structure and punctuation will begin to come naturally because it is something you will see regularly.   Of course, nobody is going to chose to read something they are not interested in.  So, it is equally important to chose a topic that will hold your attention.  This could be a book, a magazine, or a newspaper, so long as what is written was done so by a professional.

For those who want to know the reason for writing "reflection" papers, consider how the process is simply another way to learn   Learning is not just about acquiring and using new skills, the process also involves “thinking about your thinking.” The actual term for this action is “metacognitive behavior,” which is a means to help you organize and reflect on information and behavior. The process may sound complicated, but this is simply a form of higher order thinking that requires you to consider how or why information is valuable as well as what makes it important or necessary. Sometimes, we do this automatically. Consider a time when you’ve been in the store and have been presented with two options for purchase. First, you go through a decision-making process, then select the product, and then take it home for use. Most likely, you will then know if you made the appropriate selection. At this point, you may likely reflect on why you made the choice... read more

There are several points in grade school that involve a critical shift in the thinking that is required in the school work.  Parent's should be aware of these points as they navigate through the abyss of raising a school-aged child and supporting the child as he/she moves forward through the grades.   3rd Grade - The third grader is transitioning from whole number thinking into understanding the concepts of parts.  They are exposed to fractions, decimals and percentages.  This is a major paradigm shift.  Students are also exposed to long division at this point.  Supporting children in this phase requires an emphasis on helping the child conceptualize whole things being split into parts.  In addition to homework support, tutoring, and supplementary work, parents should introduce cooking chores to children at this time, and make them follow a recipe that has precise measurements.  Reading comprehension and writing is also an issue... read more

This is a question I find a lot of people grapple with, whether they be adults, teenagers or children. The love of reading, of transporting yourself into a different world, is a way to escape. Writing, whether it be an analytic essay or the next epic adventure, requires the ability to reach into your mind and actively confront yourself – and that is not an easy feat to manage. Part of being able to write is to have your thoughts organized in your mind. This actually may prove incredibly difficult for a reader to do. Our minds are often going all over the place at any given moment, reliving stories or day dreaming some of our own. Readers are dreamers so it makes sense that our thoughts naturally flow and are sometimes difficult to pin down. That’s okay – that’s what lists are for! In order to better organize your thoughts, start out simple. Make a list of what you really think about the subject you are about to write about. This works for anything, whether it... read more

Hi prospective student! It's important to be well-prepared for your first session.   First, let's talk on the phone to address your needs and then:   Make sure you bring your writing with you! I know that may sound silly, but sometimes we walk out of the house and forget the keys. Make sure your writing is printed on a clean copy with 1 - 1.5 inch margins, double-spaced so I can make annotations. (If it's not, don't worry, but that's ideal.) Use a serif font (i.e. Times New Roman, Georgia). If you don't know what this means, no worries; I'll explain it to you during the first lesson. If you don't have any writing yet prepared and want me to help you get started, then bring a notebook. We can brainstorm. If you do have a writing sample, bring a notebook anyway, so we can take notes. Depending on your needs, I may give you a little assignment that you can do on your own. Be prepared to turn off your phone or at the very least put it... read more

I have an old Reader's Digest book here titled How To Do Just About Anything (1986). "Writing a Paper" actually merited an entire column. It's the old gather, outline, write routine for writing. It hasn't changed much. The world sure has, and so has the brevity of explanations. We are all very busy now. The funny thing is, the column to the left is on wrinkles, and the one to the right is on yoga. 

Computerized spell-check can be a handy time-saver when writing papers, and many students swear by it. However amazing it may be, though, spell-check is still just a computer program, and as such should not be considered a substitute for proofreading with human eyes. As evidence, here are three common mistakes that spell-check won't catch. Proper Nouns Spell-check uses a dictionary to compare the words you type to existing words. Proper nouns, like names of people or places, usually won't be in the computer's dictionary, and so the spell-check will flag them as misspelled. This means that when you proofread, you'll have to ignore the wavy underline under those names. But this can also backfire – what if you happened to misspell that name? The computer will underline it same as before, but your brain is already prepared to ignore underlining on that name so you run the risk of not catching it yourself. This is one reason I advocate actually printing out a hard... read more

Transitions! They can make or break your essay. You may have some great ideas that you write down, but if you don't connect them, it's hard for your reader to follow. People forget how your ideas are interrelated, and they therefore forget your main ideas.   The point here is: DON'T try to write without transitions. Here is a list of transitions to help you keep your ideas well-organized: first next then after after that afterward finally in conclusion in summary to start with in addition additionally second third moreover furthermore    

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