IMPROVING YOUR WRITING
Learning Commons Fastfacts Series©2004
You should consider each essay you write not as a fnalproduct in itsel, but as a step toward developing the writing skills you will need beore and ater university.
Use the ollowing checklist or each assignment as a guideto improving your own writing ability.Clariy the details o your assignment with the proes-sor i there’s anything you’re not sure about.Tink o writing as a process, and get started on anassignment early in the semester. Make a realistic timeschedule or accomplishing the three steps o plan-ning, writing, and revising.Do some brainstorming about your topic as part o the planning process – remember that spending timeplanning your paper will save you time and agony in writing it.Get eedback rom the proessor early in the semesterabout your choice o topic and proposed method o dealing with that topic.ry to write the rst drat in one sitting, without ago-nizing over and editing every sentence. Te rst dratis your opportunity to get your ideas on paper so thatyou can see how they are shaping up. Do not worry about grammar and punctuation while you create– leave that or the revising stage.Remember to put aside your rst drat or at least a ull day ater writing it beore you begin revising. Telonger you can leave it beore revising, the more objec-tive you can be about it and the more eective you will be at detecting problems.Put some time, eort and thought into the revising process. Remember that ‘revising’ does not just mean‘recopying.’ It means ‘re-seeing,’ or re-envisaging whatyou are saying. Even proessional writers do severaldrats o any piece o writing.Prooread your nal drat careully beore submitting,even i it was typed by a proessional. Most proessors would preer to see you correct a typo with a pen thanto assume you were careless enough not to catch it. When your paper is evaluated and returned, read thecomments thoroughly. Ask the marker to explain what he or she meant by a particular note i you don’tunderstand.ry to pick out one or two consistent errors on eachpaper, and aim to improve or correct them on yournext paper (see theFastacts series on writing skills.)I you can recognize and eliminate even one type o problem each time, you are on your way to becoming a more eective writer.Please note that this material is protected by copyright.For permission to reproduce this document in any orm,contact Writing Services, Te Learning Commons,University o Guelph. Tis document has links which areactive when the handout is viewed on our Website: www.learningcommons.uoguelph.ca/ByFormat/OnlineResourc-es/Fastacts/index.html
Need Advice or More Information?
Writing Services, located in the Learning Commons onthe 1st foor o the Library, is the best source on campusand online or advice and inormation on writing issues.Peer Helpers rom a variety o disciplines oer indi-vidual writing assistance to rst-year students and ESLstudents. And all University o Guelph students –undergraduate and graduate – are entitled to three reeindividual writing consultations per semester with ourproessional sta. Appointments are recommended. Walk-in help is available weekday aternoons at Writ-ing Central (1st Floor library) during Fall and WinterSemesters.Fastacts handouts (like this one) provide inormationon a range o learning, writing, and academic com-puting issues and are ree to registered students. Tecomplete range o Fastacts is available on theLearn-ing Commons Website.