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“Reading is a process; so is writing. By “process” we mean that both require the taking of sequential steps over a lapse of time. […] Virtually all writers are habitual read­ers. And while not all readers are habitual writers, it is still a prag­matic truth that habitual readers usually make better writers. Nor should this revelation be a surprise, since most learned processes improve with practice. The archer who shoots regularly is more likely to hit the bull’s-eye reliably than is the one who hasn’t touched a bow in years, and there is no magic or happenstance whatever in any of this. Practice, if it does not always make perfect, certainly does make better.

We bring all this up, at the risk of sounding inanely elementary, to point out another truth: Often, many students who think they cannot write well just do not understand the writing process. It is not that they cannot write, but simply that they do not know how to write and have a mistaken idea about what the writing process entails. Over and over again English teachers have found this to be true.

For example, many beginning writers will take one swipe at composing an essay, be dissatisfied, and interpret the outcome as damning evidence that they have no gift for writing. Professional writers, on the other hand, understand that writing is typically done in numerous sittings and passes over the interval of days, weeks, even months or years, depending on the length of the assignment. This essay you are now reading, for example, was composed over days, revised and reread numerous times, tinkered with, changed, and edited in several passes. And all this was done not because the writer is inept or neurotic, but because this stop-and-go method is part of the typical and expected writing process.” 

Anthony C. Winkler and Jo Ray McCuen, From Reading, Writing, 2nd edition, USA: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1993

Umm… I guess that I can take a deep breath knowing that writing and reading and learning take time.

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