Writing Isn’t Magic

April 27, 2012

When I was a teacher one of the hardest things to teach wasn’t poetry or Shakespeare or grammar. No, the hardest thing to teach was strategies or processes. Why was this so difficult? (Other than the fact teenagers are just difficult on their own). It was difficult because people tend to be Impatient. We live in a world that celebrates the quick fix. A pill to solve everything.

A process is rarely something that automatically works. It takes time to develop, to add strategies to. Processes evolve over time. They are not made or implemented in a day. So, when I would teach a process and the students didn’t like it on try one, they wanted to throw it away, to call it useless.

So, I made them do it. I required a rough, second, and final draft to be turned in over the course of a paper. Did every student *need* this process? Probably not. When I was in high school, I rarely wrote three drafts. BUT, at one point I had been required to. At one point, I had to learn the process before I decided it wasn’t for me.

There’s a lot of writing advice out there, and almost all of it is worthwhile… For someone. That someone might not be you, but one try won’t tell you that. It takes a few tries to really understand a process and really determine if it might help you. And if you’re struggling, in a rut, receiving nothing but form rejections, shaking up your process might be just the thing to help get you over the hump. Just make sure to give something new a real shot, not expect it to be a magical cure.

Writing can be magical, but getting there isn’t magic. It’s hard, methodical work. Those willing to work are those that will succeed.



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