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EL-336. WM. Elbow. Writing Made Easy

"...we cannot usually produce a carefully-pondered and well ordered piece of writing by talking onto paper. In any piece of writing that has been a struggle to produce, there is often a certain smell of stale sweat. Freewriting or spontaneous speech may be careless or shallow (the meaning is in the words but the amount of meaning is very small). If we learn to talk onto paper and exploit the speech-like quality possible in writing, we can have the experience of writing words with presence, and thereby learn what such writing feels like-in the fingers, in the mouth, and in the ear. This experience increases our chances of getting desirable speech qualities into the writing we revise and think through more carefully." (Elbow p.150)
Random thoughts are exactly what they are, random! If a writer puts spontaneous thoughts onto their piece, no one will understand their words, except them. A true writer is one who carefully thinks out what they are going to say before writing it. This makes for good reading. I know because I do it myself. I write randomly at times, when I read it back to myself, it makes sense, if my classmates or professors read something I have written spontaneously, it does not makes sense to them. This is a hard habit to break. Quality over quantity.


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Random thoughts are exactly what they are, random!Anyone can say random words. It does Have favorable results. His attempts to woo -- But never all the way -- toward the cliff Conform to something so unlike yourself The other... [Read More]


Random thoughts seem, in our minds, connected, but the reader cannot see into our mind. Sometimes, when pressed to come up with a word count minimum, we tend to pad our writing and begin to ramble. By the time we are finished, the final product is incomprehensible. I think that a better method would be to disregard the word count while you are writing. It doesn't matter how many words you have if they're all crap. Minimal guidelines cause us to think more about what we want to say, to stretch ourselves. No one should start out trying to fill a quota. Rushed writing rarely makes any sense.

It should be quality over quantity, but when we're constantly surrounded by length requirements we get a different message.

Point taken, Kayla! But there's also the issue of depth.

The best arguments should have a lot of evidence to support the conclusion. Risky arguments should have plenty of counter-arguments that need rebuttals. It's just not possible to handle in 5 pages an argument of the same depth and complexity as one you would submit for a 10- or 20-page paper.

I would rather see a concise paper that runs short than a thinned-out paper that hits the magic mark... but a fat-free paper that meets the length requirements is more valuable than either.

It is true that free writing is often a mass of jumbled thoughts, but that is the beauty of this method of writing. It is about finding order within an unordered system. Frankly I don't believe that there's such a thing as a random thought. Every thing that we think, we think for a reason whether it is subconscious or not.

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