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1.1: The Glyfada Method: A Writing Process

Created by: CK-12

Foreword for Teachers

I. Invention as an Approach to Teaching Writing

For many decades students were expected to make an outline with an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Although they were not sure what they wanted to say, they made the outline and wrote the essay to fit it. Sometimes reversing the process, they wrote the paper and then made an outline from the finished product. After marking the essays for correctness in spelling, mechanics, grammar, thesis, development, and organization, teachers returned papers to students who, in turn, stuffed them in notebooks or book bags. However, during the last twenty years, writing instructors have updated their pedagogy by focusing less on the composed product and more on the composing process.

In the on-going teaching of writing, some English teachers work from the whole to the part. They start with the whole paper by teaching outlining, organization, thesis, purpose, introduction, body, and conclusion. Then, as the semester goes on, they move into the smaller parts such as sentence structure, diction, and grammar. James L. Kinneavy found “much evidence that beginning with the whole and moving only incidentally to the parts (mechanical skills of punctuation, spelling, sentence skills, paragraph skills) does not seem to be entirely successful” (1). Other teachers prefer to work from the part to the whole, starting with perhaps a grammar unit before teaching the whole paper even though seventy years of research “demonstrate overwhelmingly that the isolated teaching of grammatical skills has little or no transfer to use in actual composition” (1). Essays are assigned and graded, while teaching focuses on general rules either starting with the whole and moving to the parts or vice versa. The connection between the teaching and the writing is not emphasized.

Whether a teacher starts with whole concept of composition and works to the parts (paragraph development, sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation) or reverses the procedure, the end result is the same: more time is spend evaluating the finished product than working through prewriting, drafting, and revising. Teaching and grading are both analytical skills; the student, though, is trying to learn generative skills. The proportion of class time and teacher time spent on the various stages might look something like this:

The heavy emphasis on grading not only inhibits the writing process but it also distances the student from the teacher because the final step requiring the biggest chunk of time does not involve the student. Because the valuable interchange of ideas does not occur, the student’s composing process is an isolated experience. Student involvement with his writing is minimized because he has little of himself invested in his work. He is writing to please his instructors and to get a grade for correctness.

Instructors have finally begun to realize that teaching occurs during prewriting, drafting, and revising, and the most effective test is the student’s own evolving manuscript. Teaching occurs effectively at any but the last step because grading is not teaching. When the student reaches the evaluation stage, the teacher serves as a judge. The real work has already been done during the stages of training and refining the presentation. Over the past two decades, the proportion of class time and teacher time spent on composition has gradually been inverted to look like this:

Instead of the whole to part or the part to whole, teachers are now concentrating on the writing process and spending much less attention and time on the product. Consequently, students are using the early stages of writing to list their ideas: that is, they write down all the words or phrases that come to mind about their topic. Using some of those ideas, they put together a draft of their essays, confer with the teacher and/or fellow students, and revise their papers--sometimes repeating this process several times before the final product reaches the instructor for grading.

The inverted triangle shifts the emphasis from product to process because the biggest chunk of time is allotted to the most significant step, prewriting. Students cannot go astray as they collect the right ingredients for a paper and decide what to make. In the next step, organizing, students need a crutch; they have to find a recipe that will help them arrange ideas. Simply listing ideas (ingredients) does not guarantee a successful paper because students must be able to select, add, and delete. Students need to identify what ingredients are required and have a plan for combining them. A new writer needs specific directions that a recipe can provide; if he follows those directions, he will make something that is satisfying. Having a specific set of cooking instructions becomes a life line for poor writers, a benefit to average writers, and an option for the good writers. Any recipe “that cannot be practiced by teachers, writers, or students and that does not produce increasingly effective drafts of writing must be reconsidered” (Murray 12).

Twenty five ago while teaching in an American college in Glyfada (Athens), Greece, I developed a recipe that could be practiced by teachers and students and that did produce more effective drafts. This formula approach, the Glyfada Method, took the fear out of writing in an English class, giving the students both a psychological advantage and an intellectual aid. It seems to conflict with many experts of contemporary research such as James Moffett who believes formula writing kills creativity. For some students and teachers the idea of writing with a recipe is distasteful and restraining. However, one student’s restraints are another’s life lines. The Glyfada Method takes students through twelve mandatory, but flexible steps that touch on each phase of the writing process. Those steps include a listing of ideas, a statement thesis with main points, an outline with support, and required transitions and key words in each paragraph. It is neither whole to parts nor parts to whole; both of these approaches emphasize product and analysis. Instead, the Glyfada Method is a process. Writing the natural way, students accept responsibility for gathering the ingredients for their papers and following a recipe for the sequence of combining.

The Glyfada Method frees the student of the cognitive overload of dealing with structure, content, diction, spelling, and punctuation all at once, thus reducing “writer’s performance anxiety” (Flowers 44). As Pirsig suggests, when a student does not have to face all his problems at once, the writing process becomes less overwhelming. In Zen And the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, when Chris has trouble starting a letter to his mother, his father gives him the following advice about writing:

I tell him getting stuck is the commonest trouble of all. Usually, I say, your mind gets stuck when you’re trying to do too many things at once. What you have to do is try not to force words to come. That just gets you more stuck. What you have to do now is separate out the things and do them one at a time. You’re trying to think of what to say and what to say first at the same time and that’s too hard. So separate them out. Just make a list of all the things you want to say in any old order. Then later we’ll figure out the right order. (Pirsig 271)

The Glyfada Method is a recipe to “separate out the things and do them one at a time.” It is a way to “make a list of all the things a writer wants to say in any old order.” Then, later he can “figure out the right order.” A student is able to concentrate on discovering ideas and organizing them before he has to worry about sentence structure, grammar, or spelling. Linda S. Flowers and John R. Hayes state

...the act of writing is best described as the act of juggling a number of simultaneous constraints (31). [They] suggest that one of the most effective strategies for handling this large number of constraints is Planning. Plans allow writers to reduce ‘cognitive strain,’ that is, to reduce the number of demands being made on conscious attention. (31-32)

The recipe approach will not solve the problems of awkward sentence structure, poor grammar, misspelled words, and incorrect punctuation. However, if a writer feels more secure with his organization and unity, he can afford to spend time working on other elements of writing.

Writing instructors, especially new teachers or student teachers, find that the Glyfada Method gives them confidence to teach writing. Because new teachers have not established their teaching methods and philosophies, they welcome a technique that is already set up with guidelines for success. For both new writers and new teachers, the method is similar to learning to ride a bike with training wheels. When they begin to fall, the training wheels support them and keep them steady. And, when these writers and teachers are fully confident, they can remove the training wheels and follow what works best for them.

Composition instructors want to present a plan to follow so that inexperienced writers can build their confidence. If students have a system for getting a topic, discovering ideas for it, and putting the material into an adequate form, they can be confident they will have an essay. However, if writers have no technique for getting started, they may either ramble until they get the required length, or they may not even do the assignment. The Glyfada Method will not solve all of the writing woes of teachers and students. It does not profess to increase creativity and enthusiasm among writing students. However, it will lessen some of the more frustrating problems that occur during each writing session, and students will eventually gain confidence and become coherent writers. As long as students know they have less of a chance of failing, they begin to take risks in writing. To use an analogy, although this recipe (the Glyfada Method) will not make them great chefs, they will learn how to be good cooks. The menus may not be elaborate, but they will satisfy the guests.

In developing this method during the last twenty-five years, I have formulated the following tenets:

  1. Putting the writing process into an easy-to-follow method helps students produce better essays.
  2. Each stage in the writing process contributes to a unified whole.
  3. A writer must inventory and crystallize his main points.
  4. The writing procedure can be adjusted to fit different types of discourse: expressive, persuasive, referential, or literary.
  5. Students who have a method are less likely to write their papers the night before or to borrow a roommate’s old composition.
  6. If writers have a checklist to use on their papers before turning them in, they will probably spot trouble areas in advance.
  7. Students who use this method are better peer editors.
  8. Students are better readers because the method becomes a conscious step that will, with practice, become part of them. “If he cannot abstract a thesis from what he reads, it’s not likely that he will have much success in formulating his own thesis sentence” (Corbett 49).

Whatever teaching method is used, it “should provide guidance during the process if students are to acquire the art of writing” (Lauer 54). If real learning is to take place during the writing process, the instructor must not place the emphasis on product and analysis. However, when writers spends the bulk of their time on the writing process, they are learning as they are composing.

Other methods work as well, but this recipe presents another option for those teachers and students who find it compatible to their philosophies. It should not be used in the classroom to the exclusion of other activities such as free writes, journal entries, and creative writing. The key to the Glyfada Method lies in giving both teacher and students a recipe that will take them through the writing process. By reducing the “cognitive strain,” that is, the necessity of juggling all aspects of the composing process, and focusing on one or two important aspects of writing at a time, the teacher and the students are not overwhelmed by a method that seems unapproachable (Flowers 40). Students are able to generate text by expressing their thoughts in the appropriately grammatical form versus analyzing a sentence for its grammaticality. Not only do teachers have an almost fail proof method for the classroom, but students also gain confidence in their own writing performance. Knowing that they have training wheels, students can concentrate on the process instead of the product.

II. Research on Invention in the Classroom

Invention refers to all mental activity preceding transcription. Once concerned with argumentation only, it is now used in all modes of writing. It “usually begins with identifying the crucial issue to be argued (a question of fact, definition, quality, or procedure)” (Young 36). With renewed interest in invention, writing instructors who have reevaluated their teaching methods in order “to provide effective instruction in....the ‘prewriting stage’ of the composing process and in the analytical and synthetic skills necessary for good thinking” (Young 33). Authors of writing texts come up with a variety of “schemes, lists, matrices, patterns, devices, and questions to stimulate the capacities writers already have for finding topics and ideas” (Ruszkiewicz 80). No one system offers the final solution to getting students to come up with topics and ideas. Rather, what works for the instructor seems to be the best approach.

In particular, four shifts in forms of invention used to teach composition have been prominent. The moving away from the composed product (i.e. the finished manuscript) to the composing process reflects the reemergence of invention (or heuristics) as part of the writing process. The first approach is classical invention. Classical rhetoric is the art of constructing persuasive arguments in five stages: invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery. In the first stage of the writing process, invention, the student discovers valid arguments by examining the issue at hand. The first kind of argument, non-artistic or non-technical proof (laws, witnesses, contracts, tortures, oaths) did not have to be invented because it was not part of rhetoric. In other words, the form and content were determined in advance, and no methods of discovering ideas were needed. However, the second kind, artistic proof, fell under rhetoric: rational appeal (logos), emotional appeal (pathos), and ethical appeal (ethos). Classical rhetoricians devised topics (topoi) as an aid in discovering ideas for the three modes of appeal. In rhetoric, “a topic was a place or store or thesaurus to which one resorted...it was a general head or line of argument which suggested material from which proofs could be made...a way of probing one’s subject...to discover possible ways of developing that subject” (Corbett 35). The first two stages of writing, invention and arrangement, have been particularly influential in that they are a means of discovering ideas and arranging them. It is a method of prewriting that is essential to the writing process.

A second approach to invention is Kenneth Burke’s dramatistic method, a “pentad of heuristic probes--act, scene, agent, agency, and purpose--for analyzing human motives and motifs in human experience, which broadly construed, include virtually everything we think and do” (Young 37). Burke (1955) states: “Any complete statement about motives will offer some kind of answers to these five questions: what was done (act), when or where it was done (scene), who did it (agent), how he did it (agency), and why (purpose)” (Young 37). Classical rhetoric and the dramatistic method are both similar and dissimilar: “The classical topics are aids in discovering possible arguments; the pentad is an aid in discovering the essential features of the behavior of groups or individuals” (Young 37). Instead of probing a topic for ideas, the pentad becomes a means of analyzing “language behavior” (Young 37). The who, what, when, where, how, why is a reporting approach, whereas the classical probing of a topic is designed to discover valid arguments of the issues. However, both approaches serve the purpose of getting information for development of a specific purpose.

In a third approach, D. Gordon Rohman’s prewriting method is to “develop the creative potential of the writer in dealing with his or her own experience” (Young 37). “’To what end do we teach writing?’ Rohman (1965) asks”:

If it is to ‘program’ students to produce ‘Letters and Reports for All Occasions,’ it is not only ignoble but impossible....However, if it is to enlighten them concerning the powers of creative discovery within them, then it is both a liberal discipline and a possible writing program...What we must do is place the principle of actualizing in the minds of students and the methods of imitating it in their hands. (Young 37)

In order to introduce students to methods of creation and to help them “assimilate their subject to themselves,” Rohman uses a procedure he has developed from interests in Thoreau and in theoretical and applied work on creativity and concept formation (Jerome Bruner. 1965; William Gordon, 1961; Arthur Koestler, 1964)” (Young 37). In practical application he has students “keep a journal, practice principles derived from religious meditation, and employ analogy as the primary instrument for probing experience” (Young 38). This method may work well as a means of self discovery, but it drifts from concentration on discovering ideas on a subject in classical invention. Rohman’s approach is the most contrary to the Glyfada Method. His emphasis is on creative writing and spontaneity, not on a formulaic approach that has steps to follow.

Four, another method of invention is derived from tagmemics, a linguistic theory developed by Kenneth Pike. “Since composing is but a specialized use of language, Pike argues, a theory about language behavior in general should also be applicable to composing behavior” (Young 38). In developing an art of invention, he set up a series of “heuristic procedures designed to aid the process of inquiry...it provides procedures for analyzing and formulating problems, for exploring problematic data in search of solutions, and for testing solutions” (Young 38). It also provides techniques for predetermining the basis of psychological change in an audience. Pike’s tagmemic method purports to do three things for the writer in dealing with experiencial material: “retrieval of relevant information already known, analysis of problematic data, and discovery of new concepts and ordering principles” (Young 39). Pike’s tagmemic’s invention differs from classical rhetoric and prewriting. Classical rhetoric concentrates on discovering arguments and bringing about a psychological change in the audience. Prewriting allows an ordering of principles and the appropriate changes in the writer. However, tagmemic invention is concerned with systems, processes, styles, and approaches in that it becomes a problem-solving exercise. It deals with the problems arising from one’s own experiences and those problems generated out of a need to change other people’s ideas.

Each of the four methods of invention emphasizes a different approach for using invention to teach writing. Classical rhetoric probes the topic and discovers arguments in order to present the issues clearly and forcefully. Invention as the first of the five stages of preparing for an argument is a more structured, analytical approach. Burke’s pentad takes a journalistic approach, answering who, what, when, where, why, and how. The reporting formula used here contrasts to the classical approach used to build an argument. Rohman uses a self-discovery method of journals, meditation, and analogies. This mention of invention is a creative, free-flowing style that works well with certain types of writing. But, students need more structured approaches for essays and reports. Pike’s tagmemics incorporates the probing of the writer’s experiences in the world and his ability to use those experiences to bring about a change in his audience. This approach uses problem-solving techniques which contrast to the discovering of crucial issues in classical invention. Regardless of the label it is interesting to note that these experts, along with thousands of other composition instructors, see a need for some prewriting activity in the invention stage in order to produce a better product. Whether it be journals, free writing, or heuristics, the emphasis has shifted from the composed product to the composing process.

In looking for a method that is appropriate for the classroom, we need to ask ourselves several questions.

  1. Does the method sound good in theory, but does it work poorly in the classroom?
  2. Does it accomplish the things it is supposed to do? Does it allow for adequate probing of a topic?
  3. Do students get frustrated in trying to use the guidelines? Does it hinder rather than help their writing?
  4. Do students begin to rely too heavily on method, thus keeping themselves from stretching their mental processes?
  5. Do students feel more positive or negative about writing? Apathetic?
  6. Does the method work with only certain kinds of writing, leaving the students and teacher to find other methods for other types of writing?

Not all approaches are compatible with all instructors. To sue a computer term, the method must be user friendly in order for all to benefit from it.

Using a method of invention offers an approach that will make writing less frightening and more comprehensible. Each of the invention techniques presented above has merits that can be gleaned and used in the classroom. When we choose a method of discover for maximum creativity and productivity, Timothy R. Donovan and Ben W. McClelland tell us to ask these questions: Is it accessible? Is it harmonious? and Is it feasible? (Donovan xii-xiii). If we can answer yes, then we will feel comfortable with that method.

III. Invention in the Classroom

“If we want students to write better, teachers in every discipline will have to insist that students write,” an activity that includes invention techniques to access ideas they have stored on a mental disc (Odell “Teaching...” 139). To teach these invention skills, we must start with a basic plan to help students identify what they want to say and a way to say it.

I am asking that we think of writing as a process of discovery, a process of exploring, a process of creating, testing, and refining hypotheses. As we teach students how to engage in this process, we increase their chances of learning and performing well in our individual subject areas (Odell “Teaching...” 140).

Invention refers to other formal methods “designed to aid in retrieving information, forming concepts, analyzing complex events, and solving certain kinds of problems” (Young 32). It usually begins with “identifying the crucial issue to be argued (a quest of fact, definition, quality, or procedure)” which helps to determine the thesis of the argument (Young 36).

For many years, invention activities in the first stages of writing had a low priority, if they existed at all. For example, in her study of the composing processes of twelfth graders, Janet Emig (1971) notes that “‘in school-sponsored writing, there is often no time provided for... [the prewriting] portion of the writing process’” (Young 34). Without the prewriting activities the quality of the product becomes a matter of luck. If the writer happens to pull it together with good ideas, the paper works; if he has no idea of what he wants to say, he may write a rambling, incoherent paper. The results can easily be failure and frustration; students end up hating writing because they do not know how to build a paper.

Invention does make a difference in any writer’s performance. Odell verifies this assertion from his own writing experiences:

At times, the process of discovery may lead us to make major changes in our understanding of a given topic; we may no longer think or feel as we once did. More frequently, for me at least, the process of discovery entails a revision of existing structures, a heightened sense of a relationship between X and Y, a clearer understanding of the implications of a given assumption. (“Teaching...” 143)

When we come to what seems like an impasse, we need a method to loosen ideas and let them flow freely, slowly forming a coherent picture of what we want to say. The invention method provides the impetus for good writing for many students who never thought they could fill a blank page. In giving advice to new freshman composition instructors, John J. Ruszkiewicz stresses discovery techniques as essential to teaching success: “Design a class that sparks the invention of ideas, that encourages exploration of structures and styles, that heightens students’ awareness of audience and purpose...” (80). He also states, “inexperienced writers need to be taught to probe into the recesses of any subject to discover what there is that is surprising, informative, pleasurable, or useful to a reader” (80). It is unfortunate that many instructors have never heard this advice.

Writing instructors must deal directly with the lack of inventive skills that plague inexperienced writers. In the age of prepackaged lesson plans, we must head Lucy Calkins’ warning: “After detouring around the authentic, human reasons for writing, we bury the students’ urge to write all the more with boxes, kits, and manuals full of synthetic writing-stimulants” (4). Instead of using these artificial stimulants to teach writing, we must help students understand the writing process. Understanding what happens as they go through each stage of composing eliminates anxiety and uncertainty. Students are amazed at how quickly they can fill a sheet of paper with prewriting ideas and at how the ideas build from the early stages to the final draft (Murray 3). Slowly, the unconnected words and phrases begin to build a scaffold and take on a natural order. As drafting and revision stages progress, development moves from superficial levels of planning to more sophisticated ones. What begins as a crude form develops into a solid framework that stands independently.

Invention makes discovering, arranging, and expressing material more effective. “It represents a positive approach to the problems of writing” (Corbett 43). Not only is the material directed to a specific end, it “can lay down general principles that the student can adapt to fit the particular situation...it can provide the student with a set of procedures and criteria that can guide him in making strategic decisions in the composition process” (Corbett 43). Corbett recognizes the danger of working with a predetermined model: “There is no denying that formula can retard and has retarded inventiveness and creativity. But to admit that formula can inhibit the writer is not to admit that it invariably does inhibit him” (Corbett 44).

If we do not limit the possibilities, invention proves to be a valuable aid. In the 70’s Frank J. D’Angelo observed the “shift from thinking of invention as the search for ideas before one begins to write to thinking of it as an on going process that continues throughout the arrangement of those ideas (41-42). With prewriting activities now being widely used in classrooms at all grade levels, we have to avoid thinking that searching out and discovering ideas ends with planning. Composition teachers need to tell students that as the essay progresses, ideas are refined and can be either deleted or expanded. In fact, the final draft may not even resemble the ideas discovered in the preplanning stage. James Moffett’s Teaching the Universe of Discourse (1968) elaborates the ideas of this continuum.

At one extreme, one talks about ‘what is happening,’ recording unselectively the phenomena that occur at the moment one speaks or writes. As one moves along Moffett’s continuum, one writes about subjects that are increasingly remote in time and space; that is, one abstracts from previous experience and reports about ‘what happened.’ Then one generalizes about recurrent phenomena, about ‘what happens.’ And finally one theorizes about ‘what will or might happen.’ (Odell “Discourse Theory” 5)

Moffett’s ideas encourage all types of spontaneous writing activities as a means of reaching the final draft. The first stages may include such assignments as journal entries, free writes, timed writings, or in-class directed essays.

Invention helps students become independent writers. A teacher can use prompts, but students have the ideas stored within themselves. Twenty years ago, in English classes the technique of invention would have put the teacher under scrutiny for not teaching writing. To tell the students they were in charge of their own writing would have caused a considerable stir. Even now, Murray speculates, “It is very hard for traditionally-trained teachers who are not writing themselves to believe that students can write without instruction from the teacher or without assignment” (14). Teachers have to experience the writing process themselves in order to understand it and help students work through the stages. Many teachers think they have to accept responsibility for the blank, crumpled pages of frustrated students. An understanding of the writing process helps students learn not only to be better writers but also to evaluate their own work. In English classes students are required to do more self-evaluating than in a traditional content course. Murray states that “As the student passes through the stages of the writing process and tries to bring the forces within the process into balance, there is a constant evaluation of the writing process” (17-18).

Works Cited

Calkins, Lucy McCormick. The Art of Teaching Writing. Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Heinemann Educational Books, Inc., 1986.

Corbett, Edward P. J. Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student. 2^{nd} ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1971.

D’Angelo, Frank J. “Paradigms as Structural Counterparts of Topoi.” In Linguistics, Stylistics, and the Teaching of Composition. Ed. Donald McQuade. 41-51.

Donovan, Timothy R. and Ben W. McClelland. In Introduction to Eight Approaches To Teaching Composition. Donovan and McClelland, ed. Urbana, Illinois: National Council of Teachers of English, 1980. ix-vx.

Flowers, Linda S. and John R. Hayes. “The Dynamics of Composing: Making Plans and Juggling Constraints.” Cognitive Processes in Writing. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, 1980. 31-50.

Murray, Donald. “Writing as Process: How Writing Finds Its Own Meaning.” In Eight Approaches To Teaching Composition. Eds. Timothy R. Donovan and Ben W. McClelland. Urbana, Illinois: National Council of Teachers, 1980. 3-20.

Odell, Lee, Charles R. Cooper, and Cynthia Courts. “Discourse Theory: Implications for Research in Composing.” In Research on Composing: Points of Departure. Ed. Charles R. Cooper and Lee Odell. Urbana, Illinois: National Council of Teachers of English, 1978. 1-12.

Odell, Lee. “Teaching Writing by Teaching the Process of Discovery: An Interdisciplinary Enterprise.” In Cognitive Processes in Writing. Ed. Lee W. Gregg and Erwin R. Steinberg. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, 1980. 139-154.

Ruszkiewicz, John J. “The Great Commandment.” In Training the New Teacher of College Composition. Ed. Charles W. Bridges. Urbana, Illinois: National Council of Teachers of English, 1986. 78-83.

Young, Richard E. “Paradigms and Problems: Needed Research in Rhetorical Invention.” In Research on Composing: Points of Departure. Ed. Charles R. Cooper and Lee Odell. Urbana, Illinois: National Council of Teachers of English, 1978. 29-47.

Learning Objectives

  • use heuristics to find a topic
  • determine the focus of the essay
  • identify a target audience
  • inventory a topic to determine main points
  • look at main points and decide on sub-points to develop paragraphs
  • decide on which appeal to use: logos, pathos, ethos
  • write a strong basic thesis
  • know how to organize an essay
  • understand the writing process (prewriting, organizing, composing, revising, and editing)
  • explain, analyze, and develop ideas

The Glyfada Method: Working Smarter, Not Harder

The most difficult part of starting a writing assignment is choosing a topic and figuring out what you want to say about it. The Glyfada Method is an amazing tool that helps you begin a writing assignment without anxiety or dread. There is no need to stare at the blank sheet of paper and wonder what to write when you have an easier way to jump start your paper.

What Does the Term “Glyfada” Mean?

The name “Glyfada” has nothing to do with writing. It comes from the suburb Glyfada, Greece, an area twenty minutes from the center of Athens. One day when I was teaching a beginning composition class at an American university in Glyfada, I started by suggesting we find a common topic and work through the composing steps together. I wanted to demonstrate how students could use my writing method. In the first step of the method, we listed subjects the class had in common. The class chose to focus on Glyfada, an attractive Greek resort town on the Aegean. We used Glyfada as an essay topic and took it through the entire writing process. Students thereafter called it the Glyfada Method.

What Can the Glyfada Method Do for You?

The Glyfada Method is a formula that guides you through writing an essay. It provides a structure for you to build a strong foundation. It focuses on the most difficult part of an assignment—getting started. You may ask if that formula restricts your creativity. The answer is no; it is the opposite. Once you have a structure, you are free to be creative. You have to know your rules (structure) to break the rules. The Glyfada Method helps you, the writer, figure out what your main points are and what you have to say about each main point.

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