You are not alone. Many students feel like this. Here are a few tips on what to do to help yourself.
When you are given a writing assignment to do at home, brainstorm and develop an outline, the way your teacher taught you. Then, spend only an hour writing the whole composition. it should be completely finished. Don't use a dictionary because using it will interrupt the flow of ideas. Write double spaced so that you can change things later. After an hour of writing and a complete composition, put your pencil down and walk away from the piece. Don't come back for one whole entire day. Don't even consciously think about it. (You may find yourself unconsciously thinking about it).
It much easier to hear changes that should be made than to see them. It is also much easier to hear them one or two days after you have written the composition itself .You are now beginning the real writing. Add the information you think is missing. Change the information that you think might be confusing or that sounds like translation. Move information to where you think should go instead of where you have it now.
Then take another break and come back for the real proofreading of mistakes. Again, read your paragraph out loud, slowly, sentence by sentence. Listen for possible grammar mistakes. Should this be an "ing" instead of a "to". Should you be using past tense all the way through this narrative story instead of present tense? Is this a run-on? Do you need s or ed at the end of these words. Does it sound wrong. Say it another way. Does it sound better? Change it based on your ear.
Then, go back and read silently focusing as many times as you need to, once for each major kind of mistake you tend to make. For example, if you have a lot of sentence fragments because you keep forgetting to use the verb "to be, " especially with adjectives, or you keep putting in an extra "be" on present perfect sentences. Do you usually have a lot Run On sentences and comma splices instead of a period and a capital letter, or worse yet instead of a lovely joining word. Do you always forget about subject verb agreement. Go back look at every verb and every noun. Does it need an "s"? There are several different kinds of errors in writing, but one that is based on carelessness, or laziness is unforgivable. It means you did not bother to proofread when you knew the rule and could have easily fixed the mistake.
I absolutely want to stress, however, that this process sahould not be done in a four hour period in one day. If this is what you are doing, of course, you hate writing. I wold too. Give yourself time and distance from the subject. Have fun doing something else. Then, you will come back refreshed and ready to have another go at it.
Now, unfortunately I know this does not apply to in class writing when you are under a huge amount of pressure and when you inevitably forget a lot of t he vocabulary you actually know. That is the subject of an entire different discussion.
My next post will be about reading and how to make that a much easier, and pleasant process.
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