Last Modified: 2011-06-28
- ...getting words onto paper
- listen to your feelings
- start small
- stockpile data
- pose some tough questions
- get an organizing principle--a thesis
- imagine a good audience
- freewrite a "zero draft"
- critique your draft
- revise and edit your prose
- look for alternative strategies to incorporate into your own writing habits and method
- pick a subject that means something to you
- if you are assigned a topic, you have to create a stake in it
- learn the subject thoroughly
- treat it as a challenge
- prepare to teach others what you have learned
- choose something manageable and reasonable in scope
- find out what you think
- *the process itself is your teacher
- collect facts and data because readers like to be taught, preferably with concrete rather than abstract ideas
- if you have just enough solid data, you don't have enough; with a big surplus, you're primed to write
- to generate facts and ideas, formulate a variety of questions
- stretch out tentative answers to them
- prewriting has two major virtues:
- 1. you can write as much of your paper before you even begin
- 2. you can organize your thoughts systematically
- a thesis is a viewpoint, a contention; it is above all arguable
- your thesis is not your subject; it's your take on the subject
- choose how you wish to envision your reader/audience
- a "zero draft" is a piece of freewriting that allows you to warm up, get into the flow, work past your inhibitions, and bust through writer's block
- never pause more than a second or two; don't censor your thoughts; the key is to keep everything moving
- rapid writing encourage the mind to function freely
- writer's block occurs when the creative process gets short-circuited by the picky critical process
- if you force yourself through blocks:
- the problem will work itself out merely through the act of verbalizing
- you'll stumble on an important new insight
- or you'll discover something about your arguments that you need to know
- take a break
- reader your draft critically
- does your thesis still make sense? does it explain all your points?
- look for places in your argument that need more support
- when you are at the final stage of the writing process, you should be able to answer the question: "What am I really trying to say in this piece?"
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