Grissom's Grammar and Composition

This blog is for any student writing papers for college, for current and former students in my Communications Cluster at Lindenwood University, and my students at St. Charles Community College.

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I write for myself, for the web, and for everyone who gets me. I've been on a fasting liquid diet, traveled to Europe, and raised 2 kids. And I'm directionally challenged - I get lost a lot.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Five Writing Myths That Scare Beginning Writers

Are you paralyzed with fear when you write? One of these common writing myths may be getting in your way. Read on and learn how to become a fearless writer.

1) Writers are Born, Not Made
Literary giants like Faulkner, Hemingway, and Twain were born with the talent to leave a lasting legacy with their writing. But communicating clearly in writing is different from creating an eternal piece of literature. Writing well is a learnable skill for those willing to work at it.

2) I Haven’t “Lived” Enough to Write
Not all writing has to be done by struggling artists who have deep experiences to draw on. A sixteen-year-old can have valuable things to say about everyday life. Many writers expound on death, illness, love, and disaster. Talking about the meaningful events of daily life is often overlooked, so everyday topics come across as more original and authentic than papers on suicides or car accidents. Suffering is not required for writing.

3) Writers Know What They Want To Say
Plenty of authors muddle through their first draft without knowing where they are going with it. Many writers find themselves interested in a topic, but until they sit down and write about it, they may not know why. Starting to write without any idea of what you will say gets you a lot farther than waiting for a fully formed paper to appear in your brain.

4) It’s Too Hard to Remember All the Grammar Rules
You didn’t come out of the womb talking, but after burbling a bit and imitating other speakers, you got the hang of it. Every new subject has a learning curve, and writing is no different. Continue to learn about writing, and eventually you won’t have to stop and think about where a comma goes because you will unconsciously remember. Then you can breeze through the task like any other you have come to know well.

5) More is Better
Babbling on to extend the length of a too short paper will not get you a better grade. It usually lowers the grade because your instructors must get through the babble. It also prevents them from helping you learn to develop content. Instructors aren't sure if you think you needed the babble and thus need help focusing your ideas, or if you are filling space because you can’t come up with examples and need content tips. So ask the instructor to help you before you babble your grade away.