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Overcoming Writer's Block with iPlanToWrite and IEW
For professional writers the worst feeling is staring at a blank sheet of paper or white computer screen and trying to get started. This can be devastating to a person that makes their living in writing but for a student who has not yet mastered the writing skills and thought process behind writing it becomes their major roadblock.
"What do I write about? Will I be judged for my writing? What tools do we give our children to help them begin the writing process?" We have been using Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) with our children which provides a structural model for thinking and writing. Andrew Pudewa states "As you learn to write, you learn to think better."
The primary method used by IEW is to summarize an existing story in your own words or to use sources to prepare an essay or report. Note taking, preparing outlines, and summarization of notes are skills critical for both essay and creative writing. In IEW the topics are given to the young learner to help them overcome "writer's block", however as one begins to write on their own some suggest carrying around a notebook to capture notes, ideas, and reference material for future writing applications. This is the first problem we tried to solve with iPlanToWrite. We designed the app for capturing notes that can be applied to stories, reports, and essays.
Secondly, when does one get ideas for writing? Sometimes it may be late at night before drifting off to sleep or early in the morning getting ready for a busy day. Other times it may be at the market, after seeing a good movie, browsing the internet, at the library or at the book store. The time for capturing those notes can be fleeting and capturing the notes within an app may be the best way to fully leverage them. Let's say you see an interesting person on a bus ride who would be a great character in your next story. Quickly describe the character in iPlanToWrite Stories as a reusable resource which can be linked to future story chapters. This character may become a recurring hero in a whole series of stories.
Thirdly, how does one write? Writing can be like painting a picture or writing a song. It is iterative over a period of time. One usually wants to organize the chapters of a story along a plot line, summarize, and then come back and refine each chapter. A student may order topics in a research report associated to references and come back with new research which should be mentioned first, second, or last to help the logic flow of the research report or essay. Iterations are typcially planned over a period of time until the writing is complete or when one runs out of time because the paper is due and must be turned in. Thus iPlanToWrite provides the "planner" tools where each component of the essay, story, and report can be scheduled, copied, versioned, refined, and reported upon. Final outlines and summaries can be emailed and copied into a word processor for ongoing refinement.
Well, last spring our daughter put her Product Manager hat on and came up with the idea to take our iPlan series in another direction... why not help track all her resources, references, ideas, characters, stories, and settings that spin through her head when producing writing assignments... Some of you may remember our littie dialog. Overtime we shall see if iPlanToWrite actually does succeed in complementing the excellent teaching of IEW. One thing is for certain, we woud like to thank Andrew Pudewa and our daughter for inspiring us and helping us to become better writers in the end.
Side Note: How's that for a 5-paragraph Persuasive Essay?
For more information on IEW - see the video below: