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How the Writing Process Can Help Kids Overcome Perfectionism

Written by Jennifer O’Shea  |  3 Jan 2019
Children working together and writing in their books

Perfectionism can come in all forms of ways. From having stellar handwriting to having a meltdown when there are corrections to the draft that was worked on hard. This is unhealthy perfectionism and it is fueled by the fear of failure and not being good enough. For years, parents have pushed their children to try to write perfectly and if they don’t do it perfect, they must do it over. This has caused stress and anxiety in the classroom with a need to be perfect. The Writing Process is iterative and recognizes that it’s okay to make mistakes! This article will give provide you the basics in how the writing process can help kids overcome perfectionism.

Teach children to take a break

Stress and anxiety happen easily with children when trying to make their writing perfect. Making one or two mistakes is not easy for some. By teaching students from the beginning that writer’s work in drafts, they will eventually begin to see that their writing won’t be perfect the first time. Once kids start accepting that their first draft is not the only draft, it will create a mindset. Many great writing lessons are taught in the mini-lesson format. This way teachers can emphasize specific strategies daily and work up to each draft through the Writing Process.

The Writing Process

The Writing Process is a 7-step process of writing where students are required to go through when completing a writing piece. Teachers are meant to teach to the process and help students to over time complete a piece ready for publishing. Here are the 7 steps in the process:

  • Brainstorm.
  • Pre-write.
  • Write rough draft.
  • Peer-review.
  • Revise ideas.
  • Edit.
  • Publish.

Each step has a purpose in the process and is used to help reduce anxiety in students and increase the quality of their work. By using steps to create writing, it helps students feel less anxiety and struggle with their writing. Each step will help students add onto their work they have already created. The Writing Process is meant to be taught over a series of days or weeks, spreading out the amount of work needing to be done. This will help lessen anxiety and the need for perfection will decrease over time.

Another great reason for using the Writing Process is that students will learn more during the process. Because the teacher has spread out the strategies through mini-lessons, when they apply it to their writing by editing it and revising it, this will increase their writing skills throughout each piece. Along with learning more, their quality of writing will gradually become better. By focusing on each step of the process, it helps focus on that specific piece of the writing helping to increase the quality of the final product. Making the writing process manageable and less stressful sets students up for success in the long run.

Utilize your resources

Many teachers are not provided with a decent writing curriculum. It usually takes the back burner of reading. Sometimes there might be a framework to start with for writing in the reading curriculum, but usually not living up to the rigor of what it expected on many state tests. This leaves teachers scrambling to supplement how to teach writing efficiently.

Luckily, BoomWriter has some great resources for teachers to use to help supplement their writing curriculum. Students can have a hard time beginning the Writing Process, so BoomWriter has provided lesson plans and story starter ideas. It also gives teachers different topics where they can provide vocabulary words to their students based on the topic. Students can login and create their own story using specific vocabulary words. These resources are helpful in the Writing Process stage of brainstorming along with the pre-writing stage. Students can type their drafts into the program and edit from there.

Set kids up for success

When kids spend too much time trying to make their writing perfect, it makes them feel less productive overall and will give up easier. Set your students up for success. Teach to the process of writing and refer to mentor texts to show the final draft. Pulling in some interviews with their favorite authors can be a great way to help them understand and buy into the Writing Process.

Final Thoughts

Teaching students to the overcome perfectionism can be accomplished through teaching the Writing Process and help set them up for success in the future. By seeking out resources such as BoomWriter to help teach writing efficiently can help give you the support you need in the classroom.

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