Myths about writing and reading

Myths about Reading, Writing, and Learning

Myths to Give Up

Nearer Truth




School essays should be five paragraphs long. No professionally published work has paragraph requirements
(though they often have length requirements).  However, they do all
have introductions, paragraphs that supply reasoning and evidence, and conclusions.
Essay writing is not creative writing. It’s true that essays are not poems or stories.  But engaging essays
require creativity just as much as novels do.
The thesis is always the last
sentence in the first paragraph.
Having the thesis be the punch line
of the last paragraph can be fun, but it’s not required.  Besides,
sometimes introductions are longer than one paragraph.
You can never use “I” in an essay. While it’s true that some academic
journals accept no writing with an “I” in it, much academic writing accepts
“I,” especially when some personal evidence or perspective is appropriate.
Check with your instructor in any class where you have to write a paper.
Good writing only comes when you’re inspired. Although good writing does require creativity, simply waiting for the right moment is
often disheartening and counterproductive. Learning how to freewrite, research, and talk about
your ideas is a more sure-fire way to find inspiration.
Writing is easy for professional
writers and writing instructors.
Writing is rarely easy, even for the most experience writers.
Writing is good as long as it’s clear. Clear writing that is simplistic is
lousy writing.
Reading always has to be
immediately interesting to be worthwhile.
Sometimes a writer’s thinking is
complex but interesting, and careful active reading–and rereading–can be
Some readings are really boring. Sometimes.  But often,
the response “that was really boring” is a clue that you can
discover something about how to read in a different or better way.
Your professor doesn’t have time
for your questions and uncertainties.
The more you ask questions about things you genuinely don’t understand, the
easier your professor’s life is:
S/he doesn’t have to read your mind.
Feeling confused and overwhelmed in
the first few weeks or more makes you unique.
Coming to college is one of life’s big transitions.  Psychologists have
spent whole careers pondering the confusion and trepidation you may be going through.  It’s a natural
and normal process.