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In Write to Learn, Donald Murray questions the rules for writing he was taught in school. He says, “They were absolute, unquestioned, always followed by the writers we studied.” He says they were “guaranteed to produce ineffective and graceless writing,” and he advocates “unlearning” those rules (12).
These are some of the things Murray says we have to UNLEARN to become writers. They are RULES he was taught that he had to let go of to discover his true writing voice: Remember as you read—these are rules he says must be discarded.
1. Know what you want to say before you say it
2. Form comes before content
3. Correct spelling, grammar, mechanics are essential in the first draft
4. Long is better than short
5. Don’t write as you speak
6. Always outline first
7. The first draft should be the last draft
8. There is one right way
9. Revision and editing are the same
10. Say what you are going to say, say it then say what you’ve said
11. Write in generalities for a general audience
12. Easy writing is bad writing
13. Study what is published and imitate it
14. Don’t make mistakes
15. You can’t teach writing
Murray claims, “THERE IS NOT ONE WRITING PROCESS.” In fact, there are as many writing processes as there are writers.