M. H. Abrams Quote

I think the hardest thing to teach a student is that what he or she puts down on paper is changeable. It's not the final thing, it's the first thing, which may just be the suggestive, vague identification of something that you have to come back to and rewrite. At first, students tend to freeze at the first effort. The breakthrough comes when they realize that they can make it better — can identify what their purposes were and realize better ways to achieve those purposes. That is the important thing in teaching students to write: not to be frozen in their first effort.


People's Education interview (2007)


I think the hardest thing to teach a student is that what he or she puts down on paper is changeable. It's not the final thing, it's the first thing, ...

I think the hardest thing to teach a student is that what he or she puts down on paper is changeable. It's not the final thing, it's the first thing, ...

I think the hardest thing to teach a student is that what he or she puts down on paper is changeable. It's not the final thing, it's the first thing, ...

I think the hardest thing to teach a student is that what he or she puts down on paper is changeable. It's not the final thing, it's the first thing, ...