College of Staten Island
 The City University of New York

  Harry Thorne,
  WAC Coordinator
  Office: Building 2S Rm 227
  Email WAC

Writing Across the Curriculum/
Writing in the Disciplines
for Students

 Find Your Place To Write

Write in the place that works for you, but don’t be afraid to try something new. People often get really attached to the places where they write, and the places are as different as the people who write there. When I was in college, I used to drag my computer to a Starbucks 30 minutes from my house so that I could write without friends and the internet distracting me (this was before wi-fi was everywhere).

Sometimes it is nice to have a few different places to work. Right now I type at a desk, but I read and edit my papers in a comfortable chair that is away from computers and my phone so that I can focus and not think all the time about what’s going on with my fantasy football team. You can walk, wiggle, and stand—don’t feel like you must stay perfectly still at a desk in order to get writing done.

Going to your writing place can help make getting work done so much easier. I have this really cool office in my house with all sorts of books in it and a super computer with a giant monitor, but I never really use that room for writing. I realized that I needed to pack up my stuff and “go to the office” outside my house each morning in order to get work done. I set a basic schedule for myself and I tell myself that I’m heading “to work,” as if I’m paid for sitting at my desk and writing. I’m so used to “going to work” that I schedule appointments at other times and don’t take calls when I’m at my desk. Trust me, it has taken a long time to get to that point! But it really works!

The other trick that you can use to keep yourself focused on writing is to write in places where other people are being really productive. It isn’t all that inspiring to write next to a bunch of people who are just hanging out. In fact, you might find yourself yelling at them. But if you find a place where people are really focused and busting through work, it can be helpful for keeping you on track. I write in a public computer lounge, so when I see people who are doing serious writing all day walk past to get their coffee at three in the afternoon, I feel pretty embarrassed if I’m just scrolling through Facebook status updates. This is an example of using good peer pressure to help stay on track with writing.

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