Writing For Sixth Graders
Are you in sixth grade? If so, you represent a scary statistic.
54 percent of United States citizens do not read or write beyond a sixth-grade level. Most have no apparent written communication skills past the level of a twelve-year-old, and I am not saying this to deter you. I am saying it to motivate you to learn that reading and writing are the central component of human communication. When you need to address a pressing issue, any idiot can jump on YouTube. Writing a blog or an article or a creative/written work of any kind only enhances your ability to write. Ready to learn more? Keep reading, we will try to make this quick!
Writing connects us on an anthropological level.
The paradox of this discussion is that I am writing well above the literacy rate is capable of, yet I keep adding big words to confuse you. This section is about anthropology, which is the study of the human species dating as far back as cavemen! What was the first form of viable communication? We have all seen images of cave art, i.e. drawings depicted from the journeys of cavemen. Writing was always a true gift mean only for the educated and the worthy. It was not popular until 500 BC. That is five-hundred-or-so years before Jesus Christ was even born…
How to avoid becoming a statistic to this failure.
Want to overcome your writing fears? Remember, writing is a primal act. It is cathartic and contains a massive cathartic experience if done right. I have been writing my entire life, but that is no excuse for those who are just starting. Many are unable to figure out how to string words together. Well, there is no way to “learn” how to write. You have to practice it, engage it, and avoid topics. If you want to be above the statistic, the first step is to pick up a good book and start reading. Download Amazon Kindle onto your phone or tablet and start reading free novels on their KDP Select program, i.e. free books that make money for every page read.
How to “learn” how to write to begin with!
Just like everything in life, we have to reach out to the source of our problems. If you cannot write, and that frustrates you, realize it is not hard. There is nothing at all tragic or impossible about sitting down and writing a poem or a song, or even just a sentence. In fact, if you keep sticky notes, you are already beginning to organize information into a concise summary (ever notice that your sticky note only has four words, yet it stemmed from an entire conversation that you condensed? You are not so bad at writing after all, in this case). This allows for confidence. Next, you have to practice or you will never get anywhere. I highly suggest trying one of the below.
Do one of these, see which works best for you.
You have two choices. One is to have a topic, an outline, and a synopsis/summary for your work. In other words, your writing depends on careful planning. I find this method is actually very misleading. When you look at the facts objectively, the more clutter you have as far as ideas written down or notes on main characters only supersedes your capacity for receiving internal stimuli. How would Romeo & Juliet look if they used careful planning in its writings. Writing is about letting out what is inside of you. So, we have established the two techniques: planning what you will be writing, and then trying to siphon through the mess and make a story out of it…or, you can freewrite, simply picking up a pen or sitting on your laptop jotting down thoughts and theories. Our world’s greatest men and women were all writers…
Don’t worry about vocabulary, worry about structure
Also worry about the tone. Many people forget that when you are reading a book, or a blog, or an article, it has a tone to it. That means that writing is perhaps emotionally engrained in us because of our primitive roots to communicate with writings and drawings of Mastodons, as an example. When you write from the soul, you will not need to plan your words carefully. In fact, the experience will benefit you more, which is the point! We are not here to impress others with our “great writings.” I have six books published. No one has read them. But guess what? I have, and I love them all! The point is, don’t expect to be read. Rather, write for yourself and no one else, and the thoughts and emotions will come pouring out!
Build a routine around writing every day.
If you want true greatness, you need to practice! As my Creative Writing teacher said in 11th grade: “The true epitome of a great writer is conquering the blank page.” In other words, you need to try to actively write at least 300-500 words per day. This can be a daily journal outlining your thoughts and feelings, or it can be short stories, or poems, or anything! Really, the only way to get better at writing is to practice. It helps a lot using Microsoft Word for your writing needs because the “Synonyms” feature they provide allows for you to expand on your own vocabulary. It not only beefs up the overall presentation, but also teaches you how to word things later on.
Write to publish, not just for yourself (not always)
This is a simple principle: if you want to be a great writer, you need an end goal. When you have an end goal (such as simply the ability to write 500 words a day or finish a 2000 word short story), you work harder for it! If you are writing for yourself, that is fine, but I have found that psychological mechanisms apply to our motivation to write. We find writing “hard” or “difficult” or “just not for me” only when we do not have a reason to be writing in the first place! So, go slowly.
Set milestones and objectives for yourself
As stated above, you need an end goal. You also need to keep track of your process. Do this: download Zoom, buy an HD webcam that plugs into your laptop, buy a cheap USB lavalier microphone and share screens while recording on the platform so while you write, you are actually able to record your screen, as well as use the webcam and microphone setup to document your processes. It may sound stupid, albeit pricey, but it really is not. When you are able to go back over your previous videos and see improvement, or an overall thought process, a pattern may emerge. Also, you will have content available to market with, as that is “behind the scenes!”
Last words of advice for learning to write?
Writing is not hard. It is not easy, but not hard. You need this skill in daily life. Whether you are a working professional or a fresh out-of-school graduate, the world is not as vacant of written content as we may think. Yes, YouTube has allowed videos to dominate but they are rarely used statistically as a viable source of information. Writing blogs and having written content is a publication; you cannot list “video podcaster” on a resume, but if you have anything written down and placed online, you are basically a published author. At that point, the resume can list the credit!