August 29, 2014

Students: U of L provides a healthy atmosphere for writing

Regardless of your major, you will have to take a course that includes writing. Whether you are writing an essay, term paper, short story or poem, it does not matter. Some of you may find that composing well-melded words is as easy as breathing. For those of you that do not, here is a set of tips to help you through.

Location, location, location

Where you begin your work is just as important as actually writing it. If you concentrate better in quiet places, then maybe you should head up to the third or fourth floors of the library. If you concentrate better will a bit of noise around you, go to the SAC for continuous noise (but avoid the SAC from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. because you won’t be able to focus with the swarming lunch rush). You may think you can write with the TV on as “background noise,” but we all know that is not true. You are just going to end up watching it and completely forgetting about your paper. When you chose your location, make sure it is a space you can solely concentrate on your writing.

Choosing a subject

Pick a subject you are passionate about. Emotion is where good writing comes from. Whether it is a negative emotion or a positive emotion, if you find the subject compelling, odds are you will be able to write that way and engage your audience in a strong piece. Even if you have to write a book report or a paper on a very specific subject, you can still angle it to make an interesting argument or a persuasive paper.

Asking for help

Everyone knows the saying “it never hurt to ask for help.” Well, it is true. Asking for help is neither a sign of defeat nor stupidity. Needing a little assistance every once in a while is perfectly fine. First, ask your professor for advice on how to improve your paper. Since they are the ones grading it, it only makes sense that they guide you to the grade you want.

If, for whatever reason, your professor cannot help then there are a couple on-campus options. If you are writing an essay, visit the Writing Center on the third floor of the Ekstrom Library. There are plenty of recourses available to lead you to an A, such as one-on-one mentoring and a collection of flyers with helpful hints. If creative writing is what you are struggling with, the Crimson Quill Writing Club is more than happy to help. They are a creative writing RSO on campus who encourage people of all genres to come and strengthen their writing skills. Their meetings are on Tuesday nights at 5 p.m. in Davidson 104.

Becoming an editor

Once you have completed writing your paper, do not think you are finished just yet. Revision and editing are vital parts of the writing process. Re-read your paper to make sure all your grammar, spelling and punctuation are correct. Reading your paper out loud is also a good practice. Hearing your words can help you catch things you corrected in your head while writing your paper. Getting a fresh pair of eyes to read your words can also help cut down on silly mistakes, so get a friend to go over your paper with you. Turning in your paper without giving it a second look is a huge no-no, so make sure you have looked at every single word, comma and period before giving it the okay.

Happy writing!

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