Tutoring Tidbits

Rachel Breen
Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of Patrick Kenney.
Photo courtesy of Patrick Kenney.

Many teachers throughout all of our careers as students have always emphasized doing things in chronological order. Do what needs to be done first, first. This includes essays as well. Write the introduction first, then the body, then the conclusion. Personally, I find this very difficult. There have been countless nights and countless essays where I would find myself staring at a blank Word document for hours, hoping that some brilliant introduction sentence or thesis statement would come to mind so I could really begin my paper in the body paragraphs. But over the years, I have changed my ways. No longer do I stare at a blank document for hours; I now type whatever comes to my mind first. Whatever I feel like I could use in the paper, I write it, a little like word vomit.

Many of the thoughts I write down initially will eventually make it into my paper, but usually they are not in the part of the paper I expected them to be. This is because I write my thoughts and arrange them later. This may seem like an extra task in it of itself, rearranging and figuring out how all of these random sentences somehow make sense in the right order. Believe me, it is worth the time playing Tetris with your words rather than staring at a blank screen, trying to will your brain to come up with that first hook sentence.

So I encourage you to try a new method of writing. Begin by writing whatever you think would sound good in the essay itself. Have a killer closing statement? Write it down. Love the idea of what you are going to say in the first body paragraph? Switch gears from that conclusion to the body content and write it down. Don’t be afraid to have a paper full of word vomit. The ideas will be there, the thoughts will flow, and the paper will all come together in time.

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