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In the academic and professional world, numerous myths persist with respect to writing that often hinder students’ development and progress. Given that writing as a skill is an integral part of academic and professional success, these misconceptions can create unrealistic expectations and obstruct growth and creativity.
In this article, I highlight five myths about writing, shedding light on the realities of learning writing thereby empowering individuals to embrace their writing journey with confidence, persistence, and a growth mindset. By dismissing some of these myths, I hope to foster a more accurate understanding of the writing process and inspire young students to hone their writing skills and unleash their full potential.
Writing is a talent not a skill
It’s often perceived that people who can write well are born and not made. It suggests that writing is a natural talent that some individuals possess, while others do not. On the contrary, writing as a skill can be developed and improved through continuous mentoring, practice, feedback and determination.
For young students this myth can be very debilitating as it discourages them to put in time and effort into learning how to write. This can not only obstruct them from honing their writing skills, it can deeply stifle creativity. Instead, a growth mindset encourages students to continually work on their abilities and practice it regularly, regardless of their starting point.
Good writers don’t need to revise
The belief that good writers don’t need to revise arises from the notion that good writers are born. It’s not only untrue but acts as a deterrent to developing writing skills, especially in young learners. The first draft of any good piece of writing is always messy and disorganized. Upholding the myth that good writers create a flawless first draft can lead to procrastination, and a lack of creativity and critical thinking.
Writing is a process that involves deliberate analysis of different ideas, research, defining the structure of the essay, refining the message through editing and multiple revisions. It’s only by acknowledging this process and following it with discipline that students can improve their skill levels. Whether you are creating a piece of writing for science, arts or your civics project, it’s a dynamic process and the essay that you create is never an unchangeable, static product.
Writing is just for book authors
It’s a common perception that one doesn’t need to develop expert writing skills if they are not aspiring for a career in literature. You couldn't be more wrong. Writing is a versatile skill that extends beyond the domain of book authorship. It holds immense value in a wide range of disciplines across art, science, technology and academia, to name a few.
Good writing abilities enable clear and effective communication in academic success, professional careers, and personal relationships. Even if you pursue a career in STEM, writing is a skill you would want to pay attention to. A Technology Product Manager or Software Engineer needs to convey the product requirements with their team and the customers clearly. A Scientific Research Professor should be able to articulate the findings of their work with the scientific community and the world.
Writing is a solitary activity
Many people believe that writing is a solitary pursuit and that one must be in isolation to create their masterpiece. While writing must include some periods of time where students must focus on their individual writing, collaboration and feedback from peers can significantly improve the writing process.
Engaging with fellow students can help with brainstorming new ideas, providing valuable feedback, and offering different perspectives on the same topic. Discussing the challenges and celebrating the successes of writing with peers can boost creativity and foster team building. Embracing the collaborative aspect of writing not only enhances the writing, it makes the whole experience fun and engaging.
One must feel inspired in order to write
This myth suggests that one must wait for inspiration to write. While it is true that some authors that have created great stories might have acted upon a sudden inspiration that stuck them, for most writing projects this is not how it works. Especially for writing projects that cover a wide variety of academic subjects, waiting for inspiration can be counter productive.
Developing writing as a skill is like developing a muscle. It requires consistent training, practice and patience. Additionally, the act of writing itself can act as a trigger to the brain and help generate ideas. It’s important that students cultivate a disciplined approach to writing rather than wait for a sudden spark of creativity in order to produce high-quality work.
A detailed discussion of these myths about writing provides awareness, helps disprove the misconceptions, and foster a realistic understanding of the writing process. It’s only then that students will feel inspired, stay engaged, and have fun while continuing to learn. It’s important to remember that developing any kind of acumen, whether it’s writing, art, or scientific knowledge, requires consistent practice, motivation, resilience, a growth mindset, and a collaborative approach.
Dispelling these misconceptions is one of my life’s work which is why I include many fun activities in our writing classes to inspire the next generation of thinkers. Want to learn more about our story writing classes? Check us out here.
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