Activity Sixteen What kind of a shaper are you How do you plan your writing

Reread the above descriptions of writers planning their writing. Note down your answers to the following questions:

• What do you think might be the advantages and disadvantages of these different ways of organizing writing?

• Which way of planning and shaping is most like your own approach?

• How do you think your way may be different from any of these?

Now try to describe how you plan and organize your work.

Of course, you may not always adopt just one way of planning and shaping writing. You may in practice adopt different strategies for different kinds of writing that you have to do, and as you get more experience you will find you can become more flexible in your approach.

The writers quoted above demonstrate that the process of shaping their writing is not simple. They all stress that they have found their own way that works for them even if it seems messy and time-consuming. Therefore, although advice on writing an assignment usually emphasizes the need to 'make a plan', these writers, all of whom have some experience, do not follow this advice in any simple way. Some writers do seem to be able to get an outline easily at an early stage, and we suggested one way of working towards this in Chapter 4. There is no doubt that this is useful if you can do it, but, as we have seen, many writers have to do more preliminary thinking or practice writing before they can get a clear structure. However, they do all know that their aim is to get a well-shaped piece of writing in the end.

All this means that there is not just one way to organize a piece of writing. It is important that you do not to try to follow someone else's advice slavishly, because it can dry up your own thought processes. Even when you have been able to plan what you want to say there are often some points in writing an assignment when you don't know what to say next, and most people find that their original plan gets changed as they are writing.

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