Out with Outline, In with Wastebin

In English classes across the board, the outline is considered a vital part of the writing process. Teachers preach that without an outline, a student has nothing, there is no other way for a paper to get off the ground than by outline. The tedious process of writing out, step by step, you will say in draft number one, which leads then to draft number two, hinders creative energy necessary to progress a paper beyond its beginning stages. The outline is a plague that convinces students that their ideas are held within black and white boxes, that their ideas once written remain constant, and that their ideas are valued for their presence on paper rather than on their creation.

What is done in an outline can be done in the mind. The step-by-step approach a student takes to writing a paper can be formulated without expulsion from the mind. The ideas have the right marinate in the head where connections from one concept, to the next, to one previously unrecognized, to an overarching concept that directs the student and writer to an outcome that they initially had no conception of. When writing is put on paper, it is seen as absolute, that it is the very definition of what the writer wanted from the begging. But if we look at writing as the pursuit of defining life, the pursuit of discovering how oneself fits into the world around them, how the world around them fits in them, and how the world itself fits into the worlds of everyone else, then there is little room for absolutes besides the answer to the one question that truly matters that has yet to be solved.

Less experienced writers gravitate towards the outline for its formulaic benefits. Writing is no easy task, so to be given a structure as advised by the “supreme writer” in the room, the teacher, puts students at ease. I’ll put this idea in the form of metaphor. When moving to a new town, one considers first and foremost where they can acquire life essentials such as food, water, gas, and so on and so forth. This task is very overwhelming and requires a few days’ worth of exploration and discovery and rediscovery. By rediscovery, I mean that there may be better deals offered in one supermarket as compared to the first supermarket the person bought groceries from, or the pharmacy first chosen is located next to a ruckus inducing canning factory and the second is neighbored by a park filled with potential friends.

There is more than meets the eye, and it is up to teachers to guide their students to a place where they see writing as a reflection of the self rather than a tedious pursuit of empty endeavor.

The Writing Center’s Friendly Fued

Hey all you Writing Center Blog enthusiasts, we’re coming back at you with yet another installment. Today we will be diving deep into the history of the Carson vs. Lauryn battle for MPT, Most Prolific Tutor. This semester started with a challenge for the ages, one of a magnitude yet unseen and yet repeated, between the Chiefs of the Carson and Lauryn factions, Carson and Lauryn respectively. Tensions were high during the first tutor meeting, with straws being drawn and glares being fired, luckily, the group remained cordial, and the moment passed without conflict, at least none that could be seen. But let me tell you, as someone who was in that room, at that table, the competitive hostility was as sharp as their two minds. What started out as a friendly bet, had turned into an event, that when concluded, deserves the erection of commemorative statues.

Based on current numbers, such a statue has Lauryn planting her flag into the leatherbound spine of literary stardom while Carson desperately clings to the fraying bookmark ribbon limply hanging off the edge of the highest shelf. The leaderboard shows Lauryn with a whopping twenty-two total tutor sessions. How she was able to pull off such a feat is unknown, her critics call foul play, but her followers, who will remain unnamed for fear of collateral damage, insist upon her tutoring prowess. On the short side of the ribbon is Carson, slipping slowly but surely out of the picture, balancing upon his meager ten sessions, grasping for a second semester surge to supersede Lauryn in her quest to become the first MPT. At this point in time, the winds of change of gone still, and Carson’s futile hope for a last second push is what storm chasers would call blowing out a candle during a tornado. And this tornado, in the form of Lauryn, is not one to be trifled with.

Spring Break 2024

Hello all you Writing Center Blog readers, we are coming at you with another genre bending, time warping, phase shifting blog post. Today we’ll be looking into the not-so-distant future, Spring Break. Some call it the promised land others call it a week away; I personally call it a week to sit around and do nothing. This leads me to my next point, when there’s nothing to do, there’s something to write, so why don’t we go over a few ways to gain inspiration for that long-awaited short story or patchwork poem that has been nagging at the back of your mind. As cheesy as it is, go for a walk, there’s plenty to write about out there, surprising right. Who knows you may cross paths with another walker looking for inspiration and next thing you know you are swapping stories with your new best friend, or at least that’s how it seems, and then next thing you know you see a news report on a recent serial cereal thief on the loose and, low-and-behold, the forensic sketch even got their mole the shape of Fruit Loop right. What am I saying, the wildest thing you’ll see is a dog off the leash being tailed by their owner furious with their pup when they were the one who didn’t latch the leash properly. Even then, instant inspiration. Ask yourself, what does this remind me of, get fantastical, get realistic, get anecdotal, who cares it’s only words on a page.