Organize First or Write First? A Comparison of Alternative Writing Strategies
NORTH CAROLINA UNIV AT CHAPEL HILL DEPT OF COMPUTER SCIENCE
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Many adults were trained as students to write from an outline and continue to see the organize-first strategy as an ideal. They believe that they ought to organize their thoughts before they begin to write. The write-first strategy, as recommended by Elbow 1981 and others, provides an alternative. Using the write-first strategy, writers freewrite to discover what they want to say and then extract the organizational structure for their texts from their freewriting. They decide what they want to say by saying it. Drawing on cognitive psychology and common sense, I offer a number of arguments that support the write-first strategy as a way for adult writers to transform their ideas into written text, and I urge psychologists to try it.