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How to Get After Your Next Writing Project

When I taught college writing courses, almost no one enrolled willingly. Whether it was required for their major or expected on their transcript for graduate school, many of my undergraduate students would have been quite happy to skip a composition course altogether. And with classes called College Writing or Research Writing or Advanced Writing, who could really blame them? 
 
Over the years, however, I noticed an interesting trend among the truly motivated. The students who admitted, even at the cost of their social currency, they wanted to become better writers generally had two reasons: 
  1. They would imminently face an important writing project. 
  2. They were graduating, and although they were almost ‘college educated,’ they felt their communication skills were poor. 
Both groups were dealing with as much fear and dread as the uninterested students, but they’d decided that becoming a better writer would make their lives easier and...
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How Writing Fast Tricks Your Inner Critic

These days most composition looks like whatever we write on a computer or touchscreen.
 
But what if I asked you to think way back. Back to the days when you learned to write by hand in school. What do you remember?
 
Is it the fat lines with the dotted center? The repetition of letter after letter? Or maybe it's the hand cramps? For me, I think about the callous on my right ring finger and the way I [still] rub it to help me sort left from right. Oh and possibly the way handwriting practice seemed to take forever! 
 
But then one day I learned cursive—the holy grail of writing fast! In fact, it may have been the undoing of all of my careful handwriting practice. But the speed! The efficiency! 
 
From print to cursive to eventual paragraphs, then book reports, research projects, essays, and more, our ‘writing’ education developed from the act of putting letters on a page to the activity of making sense out of words. And for almost...
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Messy Idea Theory

Messy idea theory is a groundbreaking mind shift about how nebulous ideas are translated into powerful prose.
 
Now you may have never heard of Messy Idea Theory because, well, I made it up and then gave it a name…but I did that to shake up and help you rethink how to create a great piece of writing. And it just so happens to be the process that’s helped hundreds of the people I've worked with learn to write better and sound smarter.
 
Alright so Messy Idea Theory goes like this:
Ideas live inside the messy houses of our brains. Even when we try to think of one thing at a time, an idea will wander outside, hop the tracks, or get all tangled up with other ideas. This really isn’t even a bad thing. It’s just a thing about our brains. 
 
The problem comes from the clash between the natural habitat of our messy ideas and the expectations in a polished piece of writing. If messy ideas live in a world that’s boundless, tangled, and...
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