Remember: the thoughts in your head are good ones.
It’s just a matter of getting them to flow onto the page in words.
But what if the words just won’t come?
There’s another little trick that might help.
You can all talk, right? My guess is that you do it all the time. Put a group of kids together…
… well, I haven’t noticed any of you standing around in silence looking at each other.
And I believe there’s this other thing called Facebook or Instagram or whatever the thing is today? And what about texting?
Young people now communicate with each other more than just about any generation that’s ever been.
And guess what?
A lot of it is written.
So what is it that’s so hard about writing an essay? It isn’t as if there is some special essay language that we’re looking for.
(Yes, you will need to correct the grammar but that comes wa-a-ay later. There’s a lot of advice around about writing correct English. But don’t even think about that now.)
So here’s an idea. You all know how to talk and Instagram and text. If you’re having trouble getting thoughts onto a page, why not …
pretend you’re telling a friend?
Tell a real friend if you can get them to listen, or even, if you are totally desperate!!! a parent.
Or … I know! Maybe it would be better if you find someone who won’t interrupt.
Yes, OK, your family are going to think you’ve lost it, but they probably thought that already.
So. You get your friend…
in the category of people who won’t interrupt,
an imaginary friend would be perfect!
Maybe this is the time to step back into your childhood and drag one out.
Of course, some of us might still have imaginary friends.
Did I say that? Of course, I don’t mean me.
Anyway, whoever your silent friend is
tell them what your paragraph is about and then write down what you said.
Hahahaha. Yeah. I’m that old.
All right you could tape yourself on your phone. Or your Dad’s phone. It doesn’t really matter. The point is …
If you’re better at talking than writing, then talk.
And then write down what you said.
Tell your friend what the paragraph is about. Write that down. Tell your friend what the evidence for this paragraph is. Write that down. Tell your friend what example you have chosen and why it supports what the paragraph says. Write that down. There you are. A whole paragraph.
Here’s another important thing.
The words you use don’t have to be anything special.
They don’t have to have a high-brow school-work sound. You don’t have to pretend you are a teacher or a brain or the Prime Minister.
Just say your thing to your friend …
and remember what you said and write it down.
It doesn’t even have to be good English. You can fix the English later. (As I said, there are lots of places you can go for help with that.) We have computers. It is easy to fix things.
The hard part is producing something from nothing. Putting words on the page.
And now you’ve done it. And that was the hard… the second ha…
Actually maybe this was the hardest part.
Which part actually is the hardest part of this process for you? Why? Tell me.
OK, now there’s one more thing and then I’m done.
Thanks to these people for the images
“Anthony van Dyck – Five Eldest Children of Charles I – Google Art Project” by Anthony van Dyck – rgETLGbnb2EzxQ at Google Cultural Institute, zoom level maximum. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Anthony_van_Dyck_-_Five_Eldest_Children_of_Charles_I_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg#/media/File:Anthony_van_Dyck_-_Five_Eldest_Children_of_Charles_I_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg
“Take a good look adams kovacs 1960” by ABC-TV – eBay itemphoto front photo backTransferred from en.wikipedia by SreeBot. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Take_a_good_look_adams_kovacs_1960.JPG#/media/File:Take_a_good_look_adams_kovacs_1960.JPG
“Terrier mixed-breed dog” by Chris Barber – Flickr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Terrier_mixed-breed_dog.jpg#/media/File:Terrier_mixed-breed_dog.jpg
“Sloth in the Amazon” by Carol Schaffer on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/praziquantel/30950009 under Creative Commons licence Attribution 2.0 Generic
“Leafar is my imaginary friend” by Rphael Labbe on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/ulikleafar/2408033451/ under Creative Commons licence Attribution Share-Alike 2.0 Generic licence
“Allison looks embarrassed” by Jeremy Keith on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/adactio/5834647244 under Creative Commons licence Attribution 2.0 Generic
“Dictaphone cylinder machine” by Columbia Phonograph Co. – Downloaded 2008-1-12 from Clarence Charles Smith (1922) The Expert Typist, MacMillan Co., New York, USA, p.123, fig.37 on Google Books. The photo is credited (p.122) to the Columbia Phonograph Co.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dictaphone_cylinder_machine.jpg#/media/File:Dictaphone_cylinder_machine.jpg
“Summer Laughter” by bmiz on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/benmizen/9438876982