| by Thuy Truong, M.A. Ed., TPT Teaching and Coaching, 4/6/2021|
Perhaps, one of the best activities to develop critical and flexible thinking is writing. However, writing, to some students, seem like an intimidating process that possesses stress-induced triggers. Good news! With a little planning ahead, the writing process can go much smoother and who knows, you may come to love it as a hobby and an academic skill set that will serve you for life once mastered. Below are the common academic writing mistakes to avoid:
Lacking A Thoughtful Outline
Writing is a careful process that requires patience and creativity. However, it will be much easier with a winning pre-writing strategy: An outline. By creating an outline for your whole paper before you dive in, you will reduce the time waster process of stop and think while you draft out your full blown rough draft. Think of it this way, if you have a thorough outline, diving into the actual rough draft process feels more like cruising on the local freeway. Without a detailed outline, rough drafting feels more like taking the city streets with many red lights forcing you to stop and go more frequently. Outline creation will give you a straight shot at writing a better paper with precision, purpose, and efficiency.
Not Having A Clear Thesis Statement
The thesis statement is the backbone of your argument. By having a strong thesis statement, you will save time by targeting your efforts into the right topic from the start. If you don't have a clear thesis statement, your paper will lose focus and you will end up spending time on topics you won't write about later on. To make the most of your time, you want to be sure of your thesis before you begin writing. That is, make sure your thesis makes sense and you can back up your thesis to create an outstanding paper. By constructing a clear central argument, your paper will have depth and substance from start to finish.
Writing The Introduction First
If you have ever attempted to write the introductory paragraph first during the rough draft process, then you will know it is quite difficult to form an opening and thus time consuming. After all, how can you introduce an essay when you have not written one yet. Therefore, it makes much more sense to write the body paragraphs of an essay first, then write the introduction followed by the conclusion. After you have drafted out the full essay, then you re-order the paragraphs in their original sequence, which is from introduction to body paragraphs and then the conclusion last in your final draft.
Academic writing is an art form as well as a skill set that will open many career possibilities. The key to becoming a skillful writer lies in your pre-writing strategies and your execution of them during the rough draft process. The careful attention you give to your paper during the initial stage will reflect brilliantly in your final product. The most vital concept to remember is, good writing comes from a good blueprint: The Outline. Happy Writing!
About the author:
Thuy Truong, M.A. Ed.
I am a licensed professional educator, executive function expert, former tenured high school teacher and college instructor with 15 years experience. I am also a student success designer. I enjoy recognizing the missing puzzle in the student's learning and personalizing that solution in a language that is unique to that student. I love the creative challenge of inventing a new language for every child.