University Writing

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Below are resources that University Writing has developed to support students and instructors across the disciplines in their writing and writing instruction. We define writing broadly, so you will find resources on ePortfolios, visual design, professional communication, and presentations in addition to traditional writing tasks like reflective writing, literature reviews, peer review, and editing and proofing.

Please use the keywords on the right-hand side of the page or the search bar above to navigate these resources. If you would like to use these resources in your course, please follow the Creative Commons information located at the bottom of each resource. If you plan to use the source in its original format, we ask that you leave the University Writing branding intact.

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Tagged Entries: Writing Process

A Storyteller’s Guide to Creative Writing

Taking on a creative work can be daunting. Whether you are gearing up for NaNoWriMo or looking for year-round support, these resources will help you work through the writing process for endeavors such as novels, novellas, and short stories. Specifically, these documents are useful for brainstorming, drafting, and organizing ideas for premise, plot, point of view, characters, worldbuilding, and dialogue. You will also learn scene blocking techniques and tips for finishing and revising your first draft.  

 

Materials designed by Autumn Frederick and Heesun Yoon 

 

This worksheet introduces you to premise, provides a breakdown of premise components, and helps you draft your own premise

This worksheet reviews two types of story structure: the Three Act Structure and Freytag’s Pyramid. Space is provided to help you map your story out in both structures to decide which best fits your writing style

This worksheet discusses five points of view found in creative writing, notes tips for helping writers select a point of view, provides resources for writing and reading for diversity, lists questions to consider for character creation, and provides fillable character profiles

This worksheet provides planning resources, an overview and list of decisions, and activity for delving into worldbuilding

This handout breaks down tips for improving your descriptive writing and provides examples and explanations for each suggestion

This brief handout provides an explanation of what dialogue is and how it is formatted and provides space for practice

This brief worksheet defines scene blocking and provides an activity for practice

This brief handout lists good habits for finishing your project and outlines tips and resources to aid you in revising your first draft

Academic Writing

Academic writing is a unique type of writing and can vary across disciplines. Use these materials to better understand the elements of academic writing, such as voice, disciplinary writing, and college-level writing. Reading academic sources is an important part of learning how to write in your discipline. For tips on how to engage with reading these sources, see our section on Reading Difficult Materials 

 

Materials designed by Christopher Basgier, Amy Cicchino, Megan Haskins, and James Truman

 

This worksheet is designed to help incoming first-year college students learn a bit about writing at the college level. There are also scenarios where students can consider what they would do in difficult writing situations 

The handout breaks down some implicit expectations related to academic voice, such as when and how to use first-person writing, jargon, style, and sentence variation 

This worksheet invites you to revise a piece of writing by paying attention to its voice within a sample paragraph 

This brief handout provides some examples of academic voice from various disciplines 

This worksheet provides excerpts from disciplinary writing and asks participants to guess the disciplinary context for the writing. By doing this, we hope you will begin to see how different disciplines structure and style their writing 

This worksheet helps you apply reading like a writer to your work by inviting you to examine written artifacts from a writerly perspective by paying attention to features like structure, key terms, signposting, and verb use

This worksheet is meant to help graduate students approach writing their first manuscript by making explicit options for manuscript section organization and looking at examples 

This handout invites readers to compare an excerpt from a dissertation to an excerpt of the same material, rewritten for nonspecialist or "general" audiences

This worksheet invites writers to plan a piece of writing for a general audience by leading them through the elements of the rhetorical situation

Finalizing Your ePortfolio

Before you publish, use these resources to review and revise your ePortfolio. 

 

Materials designed by Amy Cicchino, Heather Stuart, and Savannah Harrison

 

Once you have completed a draft of your ePortfolio, this worksheet can help you get feedback from professors, mentors, supervisors, family members, or peers

This worksheet can guide students in a peer review activity as they offer each other feedback on their ePortfolios

This checklist will help you self-assess whether additional changes need to be made to your ePortfolio before it is published 

This checklist helps you evaluate the accessibility of your ePortfolio site by reviewing your content and digital design.

Literature Review

A literature review is an evaluation of the available literature on a given subject. In literature reviews, you are synthesizing and analyzing research to tell a story about the work done about a topic and how it relates to present and future research. Use the resources below for guidance as your write your literature review. 

 

Materials designed by Katharine Brown, Autumn Frederick, and Layli Miron 

 

This worksheet helps you begin identifying scholarly conversations by analyzing an example literature review 

This worksheet helps you analyze an example literature review to identify the storytelling elements being used  

This worksheet parallels the moves a writer makes when creating a literature review with Freytag’s pyramid. It guides writers in outlining their own literature reviews by answering a series of brainstorming questions

Managing Large Projects

Large writing projects, such as dissertations, theses, and research papers, can be daunting. Use these resources to assist you with organizational and time management strategies needed to finish your project. Be sure to see our resources on The Writing Process as you engage in this work.  

 

Materials designed by G. Travis Adams, Katharine Brown, Amy Cicchino, Megan Haskins, Annie Small, and James Truman 

 

This handout provides strategies for approaching large writing projects 

This worksheet has tips and reflective questions to help you begin a large writing project 

This worksheet introduces you to and helps you begin creating writing goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. 

This handout offers you strategies to developing a regular writing routine 

This handout shares strategies for tracking your writing progress, like wordcount trackers, accountability logs, and goal planning 

This worksheet can be used to create a weekly writing schedule 

This handout invites writers to reflect on their academic identity, celebrate writing successes, and plan their next steps in their large writing project

This brief writing prompt helps writers plan how to use their time productively in a writing session

This worksheet provides two brief writing prompts to use as a warm-up as well as recognize and celebrate moments of growth in writing skills

This writing warm-up encourages writers to affirm their readiness for writing through identifying the strengths they bring to the project

This writing warm-up invites writers to reflect on a semester's worth of writing and recognize moments of growth

Managing Writing Anxiety

The writing process can be stressful, and it is easy to feel anxious about writing, struggle to start writing, or lose focus while writing. Use these resources to implement mindfulness strategies such as meditative pauses, progress tracking, and reflective journaling into your writing routine.  

 

Materials designed by G. Travis Adams, Christopher Basgier, Katharine Brown, Michael Cook, and Annie Small

 

This brief handout describes writer’s block and explains its causes 

This brief worksheet explains solutions to writer’s block and a short reflective writing prompts to help you begin overcoming your own writer’s block 

This is a handout useful for instructors as they help students navigate writer's block

This longer worksheet explains some of the causes of writer’s block and writing anxiety, and it offers reflective prompts you can use to manage writing challenges 

This handout describes the meditative pause, or brief moments in which you deliberately stop writing and check in with your body, your breath, and your mind, before returning to write 

The following meditation script, “Focus into Breathing,” can be used before you write as a way of slowing down a busy mind and focusing attention 

This activity helps you recognize your patterns of thought about writing and replace self-defeating thoughts with empowering ones to reduce the occurrence of writer’s block and writing anxiety 

This activity combines Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and contemplative and embodied pedagogies to help writers externalize and silence an overly harsh inner critic

This brief writing prompt helps writers plan how to use their time productively in a writing session

This worksheet guides you in using expressive writing for self-discovery. You will learn about different types of expressive writing, such as answering prompts or making gratitude lists, and can complete several reflective prompts.

This worksheet provides two brief writing prompts to use as a warm-up as well as to recognize and celebrate moments of growth in writing skills

This writing warm-up encourages writers to affirm their readiness for writing through identifying the strengths they bring to the project

This writing warm-up invites writers to reflect on a semester's worth of writing and recognize moments of growth

Personal Statements

Personal statements are often part of the application process for prestigious scholarships and graduate or professional school applications. Use these resources to identify your goals and the expectations of your audience so that you can craft an effective personal statement. If you are applying for a Fulbright grant, please also see our resources specific to Fulbright.  

 

Materials designed by Katharine Brown, Emily Cosgrove, Annie Small, and James Truman 

 

This toolkit introduces personal statements and offers step for producing an effective personal statement 

This worksheet will guide you in analyzing an example personal statement 

These open response questions will help you brainstorm and pre-write for your personal statement 

Once you have brainstormed, this worksheet will help you outline your personal statement 

This worksheet will help you reflect and self-assess a personal statement draft to consider opportunities for revision 

The Writing Process

This section contains resources for getting started on your writing and revising your writing over time for effective organization, flow, transitions, and editing and proofreading.

 

Materials designed by Christopher Basgier, Jordan Beckum, Katharine Brown, Amy Cicchino, and James Truman

 

This worksheet helps you apply reading like a writer to your work by inviting you to examine written artifacts from a writerly perspective by paying attention to features like structure, key terms, signposting, and verb use

This handout offers strategies and techniques for generating and organizing writing ideas

This handout breaks down the writing concept of “flow” at the whole text, paragraph, and sentence level

This handout provides an overview of strategies that different writers have found helpful as they make global changes to their writing

This handout provides an overview of useful strategies for making global revisions to a manuscript and an action plan

This handout invites readers to compare an excerpt from a dissertation to an excerpt of the same material, rewritten for nonspecialist or "general" audiences

This worksheet invites writers to plan a piece of writing for a general audience by leading them through the elements of the rhetorical situation.

This handout provides an easy reference list of common transitional words and phrases

This handout explains the difference between proofing and revision processes

This worksheet will help you apply the paramedic method of editing to improve sentence-level clarity

This worksheet lets you practice applying editing and proofreading strategies to sample text through two activities

Writing Groups

A successful writing group can help you take personal accountability for your writing progress and give you a support network of other writers. Writing groups can help you create a writing routine, give and receive feedback on your writing, and help you talk through writing blocks.  

 

Materials designed by Katharine Brown, Amy Cicchino, Megan Haskins, Margaret Marshall, and Annie Small 

 

This handout will introduce you to writing groups and offer some considerations for you as you organize your own writing group 

This worksheet introduces you to and helps you begin creating writing goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound 

This handout offers you strategies to developing a regular writing routine 

This handout shares strategies for tracking your writing progress, like wordcount trackers, accountability logs, and goal planning 

This worksheet can help your writing group determine what progress looks like for you and track that progress. 

This worksheet can be used to create a weekly writing schedule 

This reflective, discussion-based activity invites writers to evaluate their growth and discuss with group members areas of desired growth

This group conversation starter invites each group member to identify one writing skill of which they are proud and share it with the group

This activity invites writing groups to compose a letter to each other sharing how the writing group has been of support