Writing Strategies

Unblock your writer’s block ... and unlock the creative writer in you!

Writing is a complex process. It involves multiple steps that are constantly changing and mental flexibility that translates clearly to the written page.

Writing requires:

  • staying on topic by keeping the ideas and thoughts in mind
  • appropriate sequencing of ideas
  • connecting relationships between ideas
  • planning
  • having strong spelling and editing skills

The writer needs to coordinate a lot of different variables. Sometimes this can feel overwhelming and as a result writing becomes a less than enjoyable task. It is important to remember that good writers draft, edit, evaluate, and edit until they’re pleased with the final product.

As a way of keeping yourself motivated, use a reward system. For example, you may hate to write a term paper, but you know you have to do this if you are to pass English class. You also want to go to the movies: use going to the movies as your reinforcement after you have achieved a goal toward completing your term paper.

Below is a list of strategies, activities, and software that we have found to be useful to help you face writing head-on and feel confident.

How do you approach a writing assignment?

There are 3 necessary stages in the writing process: Plan, Draft, and Edit.

Strategies

Step 1: Plan: Getting the plan together

  • Establish your timeline! Work back from the due date.
  • Set goals & establish purpose.
  • Consider: Topic, Form (i.e., medium of writing), Audience, and the Role you will take as the writer
  • Brainstorm
    • Generate ideas and keep your topic and goals in mind
    • Generate as many ideas as possible through: reading, listening, webbing, researching, outlining, and discussing
    • Consider using graphic organizers, such as Draftbuilder or visual webs to assist with improving complexity, content (e.g., plot and theme), and form (e.g., spelling and mechanics—apostrophes, quotation marks, etc.). These tools are excellent ways to create templates of outlines.

Step 2: Draft: Getting it down!

  • Be prepared to mark up your paper!
  • Your first draft should not look pretty after you revise and edit!
  • Analyze, and then fix! Here are some suggestions of what you can ask yourself during the writing process:
    • Is this good?
    • This doesn’t sound right, so will I need rewrite or add more?
    • This is not what I intended to say, so will I leave this part out?
    • People may not understand this part, so should I change the wording?

Step 3: Edit and Revise: Getting it right!

  • Create a grammar checklist. Here is a short sample of what a checklist can contain; however, depending on your needs, you may continue to add items depending on the type of writing assignment and reminders you might need:
    • Do the subjects and verbs in my sentences agree?
    • Did I use complete sentences?
    • Did I indent the first line of each paragraph?
    • Did I end each sentence with the correct punctuation?
    • Did I use commas and semicolons correctly?
    • Did I capitalize all proper nouns correctly?
    • Did I begin each sentence or direct quotation with a capital letter?
    • Did I read aloud slowly to monitor for cohesiveness and staying on topic?
  • Use an Outside Editor
    • After you have revised your first draft, consider having someone else read your draft.
    • Tell him your objective with the piece.
    • State what you’d like him to focus on. For example,
      • Is it clear?
      • Do I make my point succinctly?
      • Is my grammar and spelling correct?
      • Was there anything you didn’t understand?
      • How can I make it more interesting or compelling?

Activities

  • Write every day! (Set aside 10-15 minutes each day).
  • Provide yourself opportunities in a variety of formats, such as:
    • After an outing, describe the event by creating and filling out a fact sheet (what, where, when, with you, why). Write sentences about where you went and what you did or what you saw.
    • Watch short video clips from YouTube and write a short paragraph.
    • Look at an old photo album. Write a paragraph about some of the places you have visited in the pictures.
    • Watch your favorite sitcom and write a paragraph about what happened. Try to write another paragraph about what you think may happen in the next episode.
    • Keep a daily journal – either handwritten or online.

Software

On this website we have created a list of various software programs that we have found to be successful for dyslexics. The list is categorized to make it as easy as possible to find the assistive technology that may best help you.

You have now had the writing process broken down into a step-by-step process as a few effective strategies, functional activities, and list of assistive technology to try.

The demands for writing only increase as you advance in school. If you are able to implement at least some these strategies throughout the school year, not only will the writing process feel more comfortable, but you will be academically ahead, your anxiety reduced, and you will achieve the results you want. Success starts here!