Once upon a time there was a girl who loved stories. She liked to write and she liked to edit and think about how words and phrased expressed ideas. However, she didn’t write very often. And since she didn’t write, ideas and important things built up inside of her until she was overwhelmed with the amount of writing she needed to do to express everything. On top of all of the things that she wanted to write about and say, as well as the stories she wanted to tell, the girl had school assignments such as essays and research papers that required time and thought and lots of writing. The girl thought a lot about the essays and papers she needed to write, and often felt like she shouldn’t write the other things because the school papers were so important. But she didn’t write the things for school. Or if she did write, she didn’t write enough and she didn’t write soon enough. So the papers didn’t get done, or if they got done at all they didn’t get done very well and the girl didn’t feel satisfied with them. The girl felt bad because she liked her teachers and her classes, and she knew her teachers would be disappointed that she didn’t write her papers because she knew they wanted her to do good in their classes. A lot of times she did do good in their classes, but when she didn’t write her papers her teachers had to mark her grades down and that made them sad. The girl was disappointed too. She wanted to write good papers, but she just never got them done ... or anywhere near done. She didn’t know how to make it better. She changed her strategy for doing research and started to incorporate the writing process in with her research reading. That worked pretty well, except she didn’t start her actual research reading and writing soon enough to get enough information for her paper. The girl thought she might still be able to put a short paper together, but it didn’t work. She didn’t know why. But she did know that if her papers weren’t done – or almost done – within the last one or two days before they were due, then the papers wouldn’t get done. It just didn’t happen. No way.
Maybe it was because she didn’t like writing under stress; writing involved such emotional engagement that writing something large and good under pressure was almost unbearable. She didn’t like to do it. Sometimes she tried, but it was horrible. She hated it. The girl knew that if she wrote regularly things would be better, but she wasn’t very good at keeping routines. And she usually fell asleep in all of her extra time. The girl had a couple of ideas that she hoped would help her write more so that she wouldn’t be frustrated and make her teachers sad. She would focus on getting into the habit of writing over the summer when she didn’t have any school assignments. She would write all sorts of things: her stories, journal entries, warm up exercises, memoirs, letters, and most of all, she would write a research paper. She would finish one of her papers that never got done. She would prove to herself that she could do it. She would go through the process and find out what it felt like so she would know how much time she would need and what kind of organizational goals and schedules she would need to make to do it. The girl felt hopeful about her ideas and plans. She loved writing and felt whole when she wrote. Maybe, if she wrote and wrote and wrote she wouldn’t feel stuck within herself when she knew she needed to write.
8 May 2006