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Prewriting Strategies


 

"I believe 'writer's block' is the normal state of writing; that is, you rarely have anything just flow easily from your brain to the keyboard. And if it does, it's usually pretty bad. Good writing is almost always hard, and what I think sometimes happens is that writers forget how hard it is, or don't want to do the work any more, and they call this 'writer's block.'"  Dave Barry



Why Prewrite?

Prewriting—even for 5 to 20 minutes—helps me to work past initial, and often unoriginal, responses to my topic. It prevents me from committing to superficial and boring answers. Prewriting helps me to find strong, thoughtful, and clear answers to questions posed. It enables me to discover—concretely—what I already know and to unearth areas of personal interest within the writing task: prewriting enables me to discover myself within the context of my topic. Prewriting also helps me to nail down responses—to move ideas from short-term memory into long-term or written memory—so that I can get to the work of writing rather than trying to remember what I want to say. I think better when I write.

Please note that none of the prewriting methods linked above is mutually exclusive: they work quite well together. For instance, you might want to follow a more generating activity like listing with a more organizing activity like a matrix or an outline. Experiment.

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Updated: 08.16.07

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