Sunday, June 21, 2009

Definition of Writing--GRP

If only "writing" were just a task involving putting words down on the paper (or typing onto the screen). In fact, most students (and some adults) believe that this is the only step involved in writing. However, effective writing usually requires three skills:

1. Generate and express ideas. This is mostly where the "writing" part happens.

2. Revise. Revisit the writing after some time has passed if possible. Re-read. Re-think. Rework it for a different order of information, perhaps different choices of examples, clarity of expressed ideas. At times this requires re-reading source materials or searching for more information to include in a research paper. This revision step often takes more than one sitting, and some writers find it hard to ever stop revising their work.

3. Proofread it. This step can happen more than once as well; some writers move back and forth between 2 and 3 several times. Regardless, the last step a writer should take, before submitting the work to the teacher, editor, boss, or etc., is to proofread it carefully. One strategy for careful proofreading involves reading it aloud to yourself, either in your head or vocally, depending on what you are free to do. When you read your work aloud, remember to go slowly, and it can help to read it like a robot, with a strange accent, or while touching each word as you say it. This makes you focus on each word on the page, rather than on the ideas being expressed.

Some other steps to consider when in the generating and revision stages include talking about your writing to someone familiar with the subject (for feedback and ideas) and outlining what you have already drafted.

"What?!" you ask, aghast. "Outline AFTER you write?"

Yes. It can be more helpful to outline what you have created and then examine the outline for order and logic as well as balance of examples, etc. This doesn't preclude brainstorming or outlining before step 1. Some teachers require outlines before the essay topic is approved. Whether you do the pre-writing outline or not, identifying what you have created, idea by idea, can help you see if the logic flows, if you have left something important out, or if you may need more information. This outline can be jotted down on scratch paper--it's only for you.

So the GRP method of writing, the real representation of what is meant by writing, is a system you have been learning and will continue to improve in, throughout your writing experiences in high school, college, and your professional life.

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