This Article was written by Gabrielle and edited by Ana Darhma

Fear of Words (and Other Writer’s Block)

Why it’s useful.

   If you’ve ever freelanced as a copywriter, you’ll find out soon enough that your hard-earned work can become much more undervalued than you’d expect. A freelance copywriter can spend countless hours and drinking two whole pots of coffee while editing a story of 1,000 – 2,000 words, just to end up getting paid a measly compensation of .01 cents or .04 cents per word, which would barely hit the minimum wage standard in some states. Nowadays, even though the internet has made available a larger scope of work for professional writers, access to the work means increased expectations for fast turn-arounds and consistent delivery.

   Friedman recognizes this overlooked value of written content. She mentions the idea that since people run across writing on a daily occurrence (ex: on the internet), people may think writing is an easily accessible skill. While that is true, there is a big difference between writing essays for school and writing effective copy that resonates with a wide range of readers.

   Having worked with both native and non-native speakers, I’ve observed that translating thoughts onto paper is still a difficult task for many. From the examples and strategies Fieldman offered, I’ve gained more perspective into the minds of people who lean more towards visual thinking, and as a result, I’ve decided to try harder in accommodating others that have different thinking mechanisms than I do. Because writing is one of my own unique strengths and the people I’m helping have their own unique qualities, Friedman’s perspective should be taken into account.  

   Friedman went outside of her comfort zone in order to understand the experiences of visual thinkers when asked to write something. Others can try to do likewise. By trying out different things to do in their day, like taking a different route to work, or trying out different hobbies that don’t exactly line up with their strengths, they can ironically might gain a different outlook and new perspectives. When we put ourselves in others shoes, we tend to grow more empathy and understanding for non-professional writers.

   It’s one thing to recognize that people may not have the necessary writing skills, but we can still take steps to help others improve their writing. Friedman’s strategies will be really useful for both professional writers that may work with visual learners, or for teachers who assign writing assignments. Teachers can also think of more ways to incorporate different kinds of media into the classroom. If writers are able to recognize some of the signs of visual thinkers that Friedman points out, we can develop easy solutions that visual thinkers can use the next time they put their writing to work.

The article mentions the rise of graphic novels as one mixed-media technique that helps visual thinkers. I want to find out some other ways as I work with students and am interested in incorporating different learning styles into my lessons as I have students practice writing.

A quick search has turned up a couple different ways to accommodate these learners:

  1. Comic books strips: Visual thinkers can be given pictures with empty speech bubbles, where they can fill in their own story. Other modified options can include having students illustrate a certain scene or illustrating their own story.
  2. Word puzzles: Crosswords and word searches are ways to assist visual thinkers in seeing the written words, which may help them recall by memory later on.
  3. Graphic Organizers: To help make concepts and words clear and easy to recall, graphic organizers are one way to assist visual thinkers in mapping out their thoughts.

Reading, Writing and More!

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