Due to the change of events in our country, students are staying home to study and work on assignments. We understand this may be new territory for some, so here are some great writing tips from Dr. Lisa Marzano, Director of Writing Programs and Assistant Professor of English.
Find quiet space. We often think we can work with noise, like music, but it actually blocks our ability to think at the highest level.
Put your body in a position to write. Lying down or sitting in a cozy chair might be comfortable, but they don’t promote academic writing. Put your body in an upright, go-to-work position.
Keep yourself in the chair. One of the most difficult aspects of writing is simply sticking with it. Often, people who should be writing have very clean houses! Set a timer to work for a certain period of time, then take a break shorter than the length of time you’ve worked.
Gather all your materials together before you begin to work. This helps you avoid getting up out of the chair.
Write during your best hours. If you know you think better in the morning, write then. Choose whatever time of day you think the most clearly.
Focus on your work. It’s extremely difficult to write well when there are distractions such as Facebook, Instagram, texting with friends, or you name it. The reason is because writing is really about thinking. If you don’t think well, you can’t write well. Put away your phone and only have your word processing program open while you work.
Give yourself time between and within steps in the writing process steps. Revision, where you focus on aspects of your paper like organization and integration of sources, is more successful when it’s done over time. Take a look at one aspect of a paper, like organization. Then let the paper rest. Then go back and look at how sources are integrated. Revision is the most important phase in the writing process.
Don’t be afraid to use paper and pencil. We can often be more creative when we’re off of the computer. Use paper and pencil to brainstorm and do outlines, for example. When we write rather than type, we access different parts of our brains. It’s amazing how differently we can think.
Collaborate! We often think of writing as an isolated process, and parts of it are just that. However, no one writes well without feedback.
Use the Center for Writing Excellence. Our writing coaches are standing by for online, synchronous appointments to collaborate with you regarding whatever project you’re working on. Whether it’s a paper, speech, or other project, we can help you improve your work. You can make an appointment at: pba.mywconline.com
Remember, put yourself in the best position possible to think successfully and write well.