I am sure you have been in this situation before: your teacher gives you a continuous writing piece to complete. You read the question and look at the pictures. You decide on the picture you want to use in your writing and pick up your pen. You start writing.
Stop! You are missing an important pre-writing step - planning your composition. I know many students find planning a chore and given a choice, they prefer to start writing straightaway. However, in this post, I will try to convince you why planning is important and should be carried out before the actual writing.
Let me share with you 3 reasons why it is essential that you plan before you start writing your composition:
1. Planning helps you to break the writing process down into manageable parts.
Writing is a complex process. You need to remember to write grammatically correct sentences of varying lengths, use appropriate and vivid vocabulary while adhering to the given topic. You also need to come up with a believable plot and interesting characters.
As you plan, you are going to break down your story into the different parts of the plot so that each part is more manageable. This allows you to better process and join each part together to form the entire story. At the same time, a rough sketch of what your main characters will be like is likely to emerge too. Writing the story becomes easier and smoother because you have something you can refer to.
2. It helps you to organise your ideas (and saves you time!).
Without planning, you might start writing based on the first idea that popped in your head. This may not be the most interesting idea or you may even change your mind half-way through when a more interesting idea hits you. I know of some students who end up re-starting their composition even though they are mid-way because they are not happy with the way the story is going. This wastes a lot of time; time they can better spend checking or editing their work.
When you set time aside to plan, you are allowing yourself to brainstorm as many ideas as possible associated with the topic, before choosing the best one. You may even realise that some ideas can be combined to make the story more interesting.
Planning also allows you to think through what you want in each part of the story; for instance, the kind of beginning you want to have, how to develop the problem and the most suitable solution for the ending.
When you plan and stick to it, you will be able to write a coherent story. You will be able to see how the different parts of the story come together to form a complete whole and there is less chance of you forgetting an essential element, for example forgetting to have a solution to the problem in the story.
3. It helps you to stay on topic.
Having a plan means that you have thought out the story thoroughly and how it is linked to the question. When you follow the plan, you are less likely to go off tangent or to focus on elements that are irrelevant to the story. There are some students I know who do not plan their essays and then write out of point because they get carried away with their own ideas. When you have a physical plan to refer to in front of you, there is less chance of this happening.
I hope you believe me when I tell you that even the most brilliant writers plan their work before they start writing their books. Planning helps you to see the overall picture so that you know where you can add details to write an interesting story. A good plan helps you to create characters that are life-like because they have reasons for their actions, instead of having events happening ‘all of a sudden’.
So the next time when you are faced with a writing task, I hope you will take some time to plan. It only take a few minutes but it will definitely save you time in the end. If you are wondering how and where to start planning, we are ecstatic to share with you a piece of good news. Come April, Lil’ but Mighty is going to launch our first online course and our focus is on this very important area of writing: Planning. For those of you whose plans have not been working or simply need help to get started, find out more information on “The Write Recipe: How to set your story up for success” over here.
A CRASH COURSE ON HOW TO SET YOUR STORY UP FOR SUCCESS!
I will end my post with these wise words from Benjamin Franklin, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” And I very much like to see you succeed!
About the Author: Nora is an English Teacher at Lil' but Mighty. She is committed to providing students with a dynamic and nurturing environment in which they can grow and develop. One of her greatest strengths as an educator is instilling a love for the English Language in her students.