For my peer tutoring class I’m researching ways in which writing centers can help students with writing apprehension (dread/fear of writing) and any emotional aspect of the writing process. I’m mostly focusing on “dysfunctional writing techniques”, whether that’s procrastination, perfectionism (compulsive editing-as-you-write), or dependence on rigid rules (grammar, catchy intros, the five-paragraph essay, etc.). All of these things hinder the flow of productive writing and cause stress.
I’m just wondering if any of you have any particular strategies that give you momentum as you write, or help you deal with any frustration or stress that you may feel.
I think some degree of stress is probably healthy, because you sort of have to throw yourself in before you really know what direction you’re going to take, and there are always problems and specific choices to be made. But stress that’s caused by compulsive editing or any of the other things I mentioned is usually counterproductive.
I’ve been looking into exercises like freewriting, writing “shitty first drafts,” and loop writing, all of which center on the idea that writing is a process of discovery; the best way to start is just to write, without editing anything (spelling, word choice, etc.), whatever comes to mind. After that, you have something to work with, even if most of it is junk, and it’ll probably lead you in new directions that you hadn’t considered before. I think this helps address the problems of not knowing what to write (procrastination), getting bogged down on word choice (perfectionism), and sacrificing interesting, original ideas in order to fit into some rigid framework. My biggest issue is that I’m not sure that any of these solutions are practical when it comes to a thirty-minute tutoring session.
Do you guys have any ideas? Either ideas for general writing techniques or for specific tutoring techniques would be appreciated. Thanks!