Want to be a POWER-ful writer? Well…here’s how!

    Posted on Tuesday, Nov 01, 2016
    Dr. Peter Elbow, an author and well-known theorist of the writing process, said “The precondition for writing well is… the ability to write badly and to write when you are not in the mood”. I think most graduate students would agree – at some point in time we’ve all written badly and definitely not been in the mood to write. So according to Dr. Elbow, we should all be able to write well, right?!?! Well, I’ve got a Texas A&M University resource which will make your writing POWER-ful and help boost your motivation, love, and productivity for writing!

    The College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) houses the Promoting Outstanding Writing for Excellence in Research (P.O.W.E.R.) Writing Service which targets graduate students and faculty to help foster productive and supportive writing habits. P.O.W.E.R. helps graduate students and faculty improve their writing ability, learn how to write more productively, and how to overcome weakness in writing skill. The mission of P.O.W.E.R. is not to teach people how to write, but rather help people overcome the problems and complexities of the writing process. And the best part – P.O.W.E.R. IS COMPLETELY FREE! Graduate students can take advantage of this great writing service at no cost (This alone should hook you. We all know most grads are operating on a cheerio budget)!

    P.O.W.E.R. services consist of P.O.W.E.R. Hours where any TAMU graduate students can get one-on-one writing feedback from a trained peer consultant to help gain mastery over their writing and become more productive. The P.O.W.E.R. model utilizes 11 principles to build a sustainable writing habit which can make assignments, papers, thesis projects, and dissertations less overwhelming. Students meet with P.O.W.E.R. consultants on a needs basis and work through barriers and roadblocks with a writing sample. The consultant uses the 11 principles and provides the graduate student with quick, realistic, and helpful tools to make the writing process more efficient.

    So I bet you are wondering…..What are some of these magical 11 principles? Well I can’t give away all the secrets, but I’ll share 2 of my favorite writing strategies with you here:
    1. Write regularly. Just like brushing your teeth or driving a car, writing should be done every day. P.O.W.E.R. suggests that creating and sustaining a writing habit, which is DONE EVERY DAY, promotes productively in writing. Schedule a ‘Writing Meeting’ with yourself every day and hold yourself accountable!! If you physically put the appointment on your calendar then you more likely to make the meeting and spend time writing each day. Look at your calendar for Monday – do you have 30 minutes you can schedule a writing meeting with yourself? Do It!
    1. Use a Timer. Using a timer during your writing is a game changer! Go to HEB and get a cheat timer or use your cell phone as a time tracker. Set the timer for 30 minutes and work non-stop on the writing piece. When the timer goes off, YOU’RE DONE! Pacing yourself with a timer is a great way to maximize the time you have during the day and ensure you are making progress (even if it’s baby steps) on your writing pieces every day! For the tech-savvy reader, download the app Pomodoro, and use this timing technique to maximize time and writing efficiently.
    If you are curious about Principles 3 — 11 you should sign up for a P.O.W.E.R. Hour with one of the fabulous consultants. Also available are Basic and Advanced Writing Studios, offered monthly, which discuss and practice all of the writing principles and strategies. The studios are very popular and fill up faster than Best Buy on Black Friday! Check out the Texas A&M University P.O.W.E.R. Website where you can find all the information you need to get started! Read about peer consultants, the mission of P.O.W.E.R., and how to schedule a P.O.W.E.R. Hour today! This university provides top-tier resources for graduate students to help engage in healthy, sustainable, and productive writing! Bookmark the website at http://power.tamu.edu/.

    A mentor once told me “Writing is the currency of academia”. Being able to write productively and with POWER helps you get rich in more ways than one!

    Leigh Szucs | Health and Kinesiology

    Leigh is a PhD candidate in the Department of Health & Kinesiology, pursuing a doctoral degree in Health Education. Her research and teaching experiences focus on the effectiveness of teen pregnancy prevention program (TPP) implementation practices among curriculum-based intervention models.

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