Make a Plan
Before starting to work on anything, make a strategic plan. What does that mean? Pull out a calendar/agenda/planner, pull out/up all of your classes' syllabi, and mark down everything required of you during the entire semester. You are going to have a difficult time balancing the requirements of all of your classes if you don’t know when things are happening. College is meant to teach personal responsibility along with everything else, and time management falls under this category.
The worst thing you can do is short-change yourself with time. Unfortunately, no one has discovered a way of regaining lost time, so you need to plan and plan well. Only you know how long an activity is going to take. Give yourself the proper amount of time. You will thank yourself later when multiple things start needing your attention simultaneously.
Okay, now we can tackle writing.
The Three Phases of the Writing Process
We are going to split the process down into three overarching phases:
- The Thinking Phase: Reading Comprehension and Organizational Thinking. This section includes: reading space, active reading, note-taking and annotation, understanding the assignment, brainstorming, critical thinking, and skimming.
- The Writing Phase: A Comprehensive Guide to the Writing Process
- Breaking Down the Essay. This section includes: outlining, thesis statements, active vs. passive voice, topic sentences, argumentation, paragraph structure, introductions, and conclusions.
- Finding the Evidence. This section includes: how to find the right quote for evidence, block quotes, quotation integration, analyzing quotations, an overview for scene analysis, and paraphrase.
- Decoding Academic Language. This section includes understanding scholarly language, comprehending and incorporating academic sources, character analysis, explanation of different types of college essays (analytical/rhetorical analysis/argumentative/comparative), close reading, and deductive vs. inductive reasoning.
- Research. This section includes Brainstorming an Idea, Searching for Sources, Creating an Argument, Drafting the Assignment, and Revising the Final Draft as well as a curated list of resources provided by the library and video essay examples.
- The Editing Phase
- Revising the Final Draft from our Research resources that we outlined above.
- Grammar Resources. This page includes curated resources for verbs, punctuation, word choice, and a few additional grammatical aids.
- Proofreading and Editing Resources. This is a curated page of resources to help with editing your paper.
I know it might sound stupid, but even if you don’t know what to write, the act of writing itself will help generate ideas. Next time you get stuck, just start writing anything that comes to mind. Describe the room you are in; break down the plot of the text you are working with; you can even just write out that you don’t know what to write. Literally, write out "I don’t know what to write". Just write something. Eventually, your brain will kick back into gear. Be aware, this could take time – even up to an hour – so don’t get discouraged. Just keep writing.
- Writing in the Majors: The Writing Center has compiled a page with writing resources tailored to the available majors. By clicking on the corresponding major, students will also be able to identify an approximation of how much writing could be required as well as the types of writing assignments in any class.
- Writing Resources: This will take you back to the prior page where we have curated lists of resources for students to utilize.
- Citation Style Resources: This page covers the main citation styles (MLA, APA, Chicago) as well as contains resources for a few others. If the citation style you need is not on this page directly, please check out Writing in the Majors for your specific major. We should have the proper citation styles listed therein; if we don't, let us know.
- Formatting Resources: This pages helps you setup Microsoft Office as well as Google docs. We have also included MLA and APA downloadable documents for convenience.
- Online Writing Tutoring: This page provides directions on how to get remote tutoring assistance through our center as well as Smarthinking and Grammarly.