Are you holding yourself back because you believe that writing should be grammar-perfect? If so, chances are that you never tried writing, even though you have so many ideas spilling out of your brain.
Instead of writing your own ideas, you might have become an avid reader of other people’s ideas. Their stories keep you distracted from writing. Their ideas keep you safe from exposing your own. Their opinions give you a ready-made tribe to agree or disagree with. All the while you think, ‘I could do that’ or ‘oh, how I wish I paid more attention to English classes.’ Inwardly, you want to be the person who writes an engaging article, a delightful story or a quirky poem. But how? Your English teacher was never happy with you and you never could keep up with the PETAL and PEEL ways to write a paragraph. So that means you cannot write…right?
Renowned English and Education professor George Hillocks published a review of research on the teaching of writing in 1984. He came to the following conclusion:
School boards, administrators, and teachers who impose the systematic study of traditional school grammar on their students over lengthy periods of time in the name of teaching writing do them a gross disservice that should not be tolerated by anyone concerned with the effective teaching of good writing.
If teachers are going to spend time on grammar instruction, Hillocks argues that they should do so through actual writing rather than skill and drill worksheets or endless lectures on the use of proper English. Another study that monitored three different groups of teen students in writing skills, observed that the two groups which received grammar instructions didn’t fare much better than the third group that did not receive any instruction. To make matters worse, the first two groups came out of the experiment (where they underwent grammar instruction) with a distinct aversion to writing!
So now you know why so many hopefuls who associate writing with correctness, give up before they begin. Don’t be one of them.
You can’t learn to ride a bike unless you get on one, and you can’t learn to swim unless you get in the water. Writing is no exception.