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Writing Alone, Together

Writing Alone, Together | Writing Matters | Scoop.it
I used to spend my days in voluntary solitary confinement. Then I joined a writers’ collective.
Elaine Roberts, Ph.D's insight:

"In the conversation about ideas — the clarification of an argument, the identification of a larger point to be made, the firmer realization of what I want to say before I start crafting the prose — the writing that results is inevitably clearer and smarter. Because I have opened my mouth and practiced using the words, I now set them down with more care, precision and patience (one writer friend has said there’s nothing like telling a lot of people a story, over drinks, for years, to refine its structure)."


And she's been able to gauge the response of an audience so the words and ideas make more sense to the listener, which means she can weigh the words and their cadence for the reader.

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Tiina Airaksinen's curator insight, July 9, 6:27 AM
Kirjoittaminen on sekä yksilöllistä että yhteisöllistä toimintaa.
Sarah McElrath's curator insight, July 9, 10:49 AM

I strongly believe that a writing group of some sort will improve both your moral and your writing.

Writing Matters
About writing for school. . . and success
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Professors explain style of academic writing

Professors explain style of academic writing | Writing Matters | Scoop.it
Any student who
has poured through obscure textbooks on philosophical concepts or failed to
understand a professor’s paper knows that academic writing can seem like its
own language.
Elaine Roberts, Ph.D's insight:

And in many ways academic writing does require its own language: that of the discipline and reflecting the style of the discipline and the typical reader. Some really good insights here.

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3 Strategies to Improve Student Writing Instantly

3 Strategies to Improve Student Writing Instantly | Writing Matters | Scoop.it
Guest blogger Ali Parrish, educator and ed tech consultant, provides three strategies, low-tech and high-tech, for breaking through students' brain freeze when faced with the dilemma of what to write.
Elaine Roberts, Ph.D's insight:

This is true for anyone who struggles with getting ideas on paper or on screen. I often had my students record their words because that gave them the freedom to talk through their ideas. Then they could transcribe their own recording and edit as they went. The advantage is they wouldn't lose their ideas as they struggled with how to phrase something or which words to use. AND, we could listen to their recordings together to talk through those passages during which they struggled and talk about how and why they struggled so those moments of frustration could become times of clarity and learning.

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Suvi Salo's curator insight, October 28, 1:56 PM

I also like to share a common Google Docs page and write together.

Jimena Acebes Sevilla's curator insight, October 28, 11:11 PM

Para escribir....

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Keep Writing, and It Will Soon Be Automatic

Keep Writing, and It Will Soon Be Automatic | Writing Matters | Scoop.it
Analyzing the brain scans of experienced fiction writers.
Elaine Roberts, Ph.D's insight:

I'm intrigued by the articles offering quick tips for faster or easier writing. That flies in the face of experienced and published writers who tell us that writing is hard work. But I think there is some automaticity in writing for those who do it every day and have been doing it for a while. The result may not be great or even good, but the habit of firing up ideas and thoughts should be less daunting and perhaps even a bit easy.

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10 Easy Solutions to Business Writing Problems

10 Easy Solutions to Business Writing Problems | Writing Matters | Scoop.it
These techniques can help you sharpen your text to better reach your intended audience.
Elaine Roberts, Ph.D's insight:

Good advice for clear and focused writing.

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Why Little Free Libraries Are the Water Coolers of the Digital Age

Why Little Free Libraries Are the Water Coolers of the Digital Age | Writing Matters | Scoop.it
The popular, homemade ‘give a book, take a book’ boxes bring neighbors together.
Elaine Roberts, Ph.D's insight:

Little Free Libraries are just cool. And it encourages READING, maybe even the serendipity of reading a book or article or essay that seems appealing, which is one of the hoped for results after wrestling with a writing project.

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Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, October 14, 6:52 PM

As many Schools do away with libraries and librarians, this is a wonderful idea. It would also be wonderful if we retained libraries and librarians in School.

 

@ivon_ehd1

A.K.Andrew's curator insight, October 15, 10:53 AM

These are fantastic additions to neighborhoods.

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Science says those grammar rules you learned in middle school were a waste of time

Science says those grammar rules you learned in middle school were a waste of time | Writing Matters | Scoop.it
Steven Pinker on why you can split infinitives and use the passive voice.
Elaine Roberts, Ph.D's insight:

Oh pish tosh. Of course you CAN use passive voice or split infinitives. There have been numerous discussions on how much more powerful "to boldly go" is than "to go boldly" would have been. Now I wouldn't go so far as to try to outdo the venerable Strunk & White though I've not read Mr. Pinker's potentially self-aggrandizing tome. But any "mere" English teacher will tell you there are exceptions to many grammar rules, that many grammar rules have changed and others will change over time. They should also tell you, however, that any time you break a rule, know why you are breaking that rule and that your writing will be more effective because you have broken the rule.

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Nicholas C. Rossis's curator insight, October 10, 12:26 PM

I agree!  Just keep in mind that you are breaking a rule, explain yourself why, read out your sentence and continue.

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3 Ways to Stick to a Writing Schedule | Everything's Temporary

3 Ways to Stick to a Writing Schedule | Everything's Temporary | Writing Matters | Scoop.it
Elaine Roberts, Ph.D's insight:

I am a list maker. I often lose my list and too frequently I have lists of lists, but I make lists. And I write stuff down or somehow record it as it occurs to me--whatever the ideas--using scraps of paper, sticky notes, Evernote, voice messages to myself. Seriously. And then later, when I have time to sift, filter, and think through, I discard some things, make connections with others, and post others somewhere while I continue to think about them.


What works for me might not work for you. My friend Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) has a candle at her writing place. She lights it with a match and leaves the matches on the candle holder. At the end of the week, she should have at least five matches to help her hold herself accountable for writing at least five days a week. You'll figure out what works best for you and how it works best for you. Now figuring out what to say and how to say, well, that's a completely different story.

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David Mitchell on How to Write: "Neglect Everything Else"

David Mitchell on How to Write: "Neglect Everything Else" | Writing Matters | Scoop.it
The Cloud Atlas author keeps a James Wright poem as a reminder to live in the now.
Elaine Roberts, Ph.D's insight:

"We have a hard time remaining in the present: Our monkey minds are continually jumping through the jungles of the past and the forests of the future. But Wright’s poem says: Stop! Just stop. Calm down, be quiet, and look around. It’s an homage to, and an exhortation of, the act of seeing. . . The world is very good at distracting us." So when you can, yes, neglect everything else.

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A 50-Year Protest for Good Writing

A 50-Year Protest for Good Writing | Writing Matters | Scoop.it
A crisis of quality in literary criticism led Robert Silvers to found The New York Review of Books—and he believes the crisis continues today, online.
Elaine Roberts, Ph.D's insight:

"Do articles and book reviews have a calculable political and social impact? Frankly, it is simply a mystery whether anything you publish will get attention and change someone’s mind." But when writing DOES get someone's attention and influences that individual's thinking . . . WOW.

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The Source of Bad Writing

The Source of Bad Writing | Writing Matters | Scoop.it
The 'curse of knowledge,' writes Steven Pinker, is the result of writers' assuming readers understand the subject. This causes bad writing. Good explanations start with imagining what it's like to be ignorant of a subject
Elaine Roberts, Ph.D's insight:

And again: THINK ABOUT YOUR AUDIENCE. That combined with the other elements of the writing triangle--your purpose and your tone/style--will help combat the "curse of knowledge,"


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Writing for Business is Not Like Writing a Novel

Writing for Business is Not Like Writing a Novel | Writing Matters | Scoop.it
A quick refresher on business writing basics might help you more than any tip on the next big thing on the business horizon.
Elaine Roberts, Ph.D's insight:

This might seem obvious, but sometimes it's too easy to overlook the obvious.


For any kind of writing situation: THINK ABOUT YOUR AUDIENCE. In business writing, think about your secondary audience--the individuals to whom your text is going to be forwarded. As you craft your writing for your manager, imagine it will be read by those at one or two levels higher; imagine it is going to be shared with unexpected readers, perhaps even the media. That's not going to happen for many of us, but as we think about the audience, we think more carefully about the tone and style we use as we make choices about the words and structure we use because we think more specifically about the purpose for which we are writing.

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How Virtual Assistants Can Help Independent Authors

How Virtual Assistants Can Help Independent Authors | Writing Matters | Scoop.it

Over the last two decades, the internet has really turned things around for the publishing business, making it possible for a small, unsigned author to get noticed without spending a fortune.

 

All an author needs to do is set-up a blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter and maybe even an Instagram.

 

However, doing all these takes away a lot of time away from the author to do what they actually best: writing books.

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Good Grammar Implies Good Taste -- And Competence

Good Grammar Implies Good Taste -- And Competence | Writing Matters | Scoop.it
Hyundai is spending millions establishing the grammatically incorrect "Live Brilliant" as an accepted part of English usage. Smaller companies with more limited marketing budgets don't have that luxury, and bad grammar can dent your professional brand. Take the time to proofread and catch the typical errors most of us make. I share a few. You can use the comments to add more.
Elaine Roberts, Ph.D's insight:

"Using poor grammar in your marketing communications will do only one thing: Leave a bad impression with the 10-15% of the population that cares about it."


Apple introduced "Think Different" in 1997; I know that because I looked it up. But I do remember the brouhaha famously and condescendingly ignored by Steve Jobs because "Think Different" was intended to be avant garde and challenge the status quo just as Apple's products did, and do. In the 1997 ad, Apple hypes those who think differently. And yes, "differently" was used IN THE AD so they knew the difference, but simply choice to ignore what was correct in favor of what was, well, whatever it was supposed to be. A peccadillo for the sake of smug advertising splash? If so, it worked and millions have bought into thinking that because they buy Apple products they think different(ly). No small irony there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmwXdGm89Tk

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5 Things to Consider Before Becoming a Writer

5 Things to Consider Before Becoming a Writer | Writing Matters | Scoop.it
There are several things starting writers need to have before they take their first step to the exciting journey of becoming authors.
Elaine Roberts, Ph.D's insight:

Some day very soon I'm going to consolidate some of the writing advice I've posted here. The underlying message here is that whenever you are offered easy tips to improve your writing quickly, ignore them.

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Take Your Writing Seriously | Writing Forward

Take Your Writing Seriously | Writing Forward | Writing Matters | Scoop.it
If you want to be a serious writer, you need to take the craft seriously.
Elaine Roberts, Ph.D's insight:

Yes, the fabulous and gifted Nora Ephron is quoted: "What I find hard about writing is the writing." I like the emphasis on taking one's writing and one's writing process seriously.

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'The Rabble that Cannot Read'? Ordinary People's Literacy in Seventeenth-Century England

'The Rabble that Cannot Read'? Ordinary People's Literacy in Seventeenth-Century England | Writing Matters | Scoop.it
Mark Hailwood Those of us historians intent on exploring the world of ordinary women and men in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries conduct a lot of our research by looking at surviving example...
Elaine Roberts, Ph.D's insight:

This is fascinating as an historical perspective on what constitutes "literacy."


"The methodology was simple: given that it was customary in the period for people to learn to read before learning to write, it was assumed that people who could write out their own signature were fully literate: they would have learned to both read and write."

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INFOGRAPHIC: This Is Why Grammar Matters

INFOGRAPHIC: This Is Why Grammar Matters | Writing Matters | Scoop.it
BREAKING: words matter....
Elaine Roberts, Ph.D's insight:

It's not really breaking news, but it is important news. This could be an infographic worth sharing with high school and college students, too.

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10 Secrets of Successful Inservice Presentations

10 Secrets of Successful Inservice Presentations | Writing Matters | Scoop.it
Making a talk? Find ideas to convey your message effectively in this excerpt from “The Ten-Minute Inservice” by Todd Whitaker & Annette Breaux.

Via Patti Kinney, Mark E. Deschaine, PhD, Ivon Prefontaine
Elaine Roberts, Ph.D's insight:

A key to a successful inservice? Modeling how you believe educators should interact with their students.


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Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, October 7, 9:13 PM

Some good points are made in the article. I found some people appropriated stories that were not their stories. Making it relevant suggests we should have a sense of what teachers and students think is important in their daily work.

 

@ivon_ehd1

Elaine Roberts, Ph.D's curator insight, October 8, 7:41 AM

A key to a successful inservice is modeling how we believe educators should interact with their students.

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PUB 101: The Shift From Print to Digital Literacy – Procrinspiration by

PUB 101: The Shift From Print to Digital Literacy – Procrinspiration by | Writing Matters | Scoop.it
Elaine Roberts, Ph.D's insight:

I am not enchanted by the idea of being edited and yet, when I am edited, my work is better. Why? Because the individual who edits my work does not have the same personal investment as I do, so the phrase or idea to which I have an unreasonable attachment causes them no pain when it is excised. Even more importantly, an editors reads and hears my work as others are likely to read and hear my work rather than how I hope they hear it. So this shift to self-publishing comes with some potential challenges for the reading community. On the other hand, I've read some pretty lame stuff an editor and publisher thought worthy of their investment, so go figure. Write on.

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How Student Essay Writing has Changed Since 1969

How Student Essay Writing has Changed Since 1969 | Writing Matters | Scoop.it
Yes, you read that correctly. 45 years ago, I was teaching high school English at Niles East High School in Skokie, Illinois. In case you are wondering, I snagged that job right out of college. Nevertheless, if you do the math, you know you are reading the opinion of a former English teacher of a... Read more »
Elaine Roberts, Ph.D's insight:

We've been talking about machine scoring student writing for a very long time now (http://www.journalofwritingassessment.org/article.php?article=58). Most English teachers reject the veracity of machine scoring because we are concerned about context, about voice, about style; that is, we are concerned about the individual behind the writing. Software systems like Turnitin.com got its start as a plagiarism checker but the system has expanded. It does not replace teacher grading, but it amplifies and supports the peer review process, and it has some nifty resources for speeding the grading process. I've used TrackChanges in Word, but the GradeMark system adds some really nifty tools for the teacher to use in the process of grading. So the tools amplify and support the teacher in the grading process, providing consistency (as needed) for students who will inevitably compare their papers.

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Why Academics' Writing Stinks

Why Academics' Writing Stinks | Writing Matters | Scoop.it
Scholars aren't penalized for convoluted prose. But the problem runs deeper.
Elaine Roberts, Ph.D's insight:

Ahh, the provocative title which is certain to elicit response. The generalization that generates sputters of outrage and disagreement.


This notion of "academese" is akin to the "curse of knowledge." While there is considerable writing--of all types, I might add--that is terrible, I disagree with the generalization that academic writing is bad. It's different, and it's for a different audience. Can it be stuffy and overwrought as though trying to prove that one's lexicon is more substantive than someone else's? Sure. It is likely there is some attempt at obfuscation when a point or proof might be a bit wobbly? Indubitably. But that's a different problem. Even so, shall I say it yet again? Oh yes, I shall: THINK ABOUT YOUR AUDIENCE. I'll also say it might be wise to disrupt certain expectations with care as some institutions and ways of being, thinking, and knowing change ever so slowly.


This from the person who had to rewrite most of her dissertation because it wasn't sufficiently academic. My committee was most apologetic, but they asserted that without the rewrite, there might be others who would take my writing less seriously.


Once you are established among your peers, you can afford to be the iconoclast.

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The Trouble with Writing

The Trouble with Writing | Writing Matters | Scoop.it
The trouble with writing is that it is often a roller coaster pitching us between grandiosity and despair.
Elaine Roberts, Ph.D's insight:

If you read nothing else about writing--its joys and its frustrations and the elusive moment of "Ahhh!"--read this.

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7 Words to Make Your Business Writing Work

7 Words to Make Your Business Writing Work | Writing Matters | Scoop.it
Most jobs today require writing of some kind -- email, forms, reports, presentation slides, social media, instructions, ads. And if your job doesn't demand writing skills, your social life does....
Elaine Roberts, Ph.D's insight:

Good advice for any writing.

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What makes writing good?

What makes writing good? | Writing Matters | Scoop.it
Stephen King believes good writing can't be taught, but still shares insights from his teaching years. Plus, when to stop writing, the inner voice, and more.
Elaine Roberts, Ph.D's insight:

Apparently reading Stephen King's book On Writing will help. I've not read the book so I can't speak to that; therefore, the title question isn't answered. However, this article offers a link that focuses on the writer's inner voices. Yes, that's plural. If you are not writing fiction, perhaps you will hear only one voice: your own. But it is IMPERATIVE you learn to hear your writing voice as your readers will and do hear it. For those who have heard you speak, hearing your writing voice is less of a challenge. For those who do not know you except through your words, well, that's what they have: your words and how you present those words to your readers. So writers, know thy voice.

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