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

 Super-secret advanced techniques:
 Using rewards to produce writing.

There was a point a few years ago when I just couldn’t write. I was a mess. I hated writing, I wanted to drop out of school, and study to be a chef. Boo. Not surprisingly, this was before I was diagnosed with ADHD.

In those dark days, I came up with a killer writing trick that I think can get anybody on a roll when they’re really stuck. Here’s how it works: think about the thing that you really want to do more than writing. TV works great, particularly shows with tons of episodes available to you that you’ve never watched before. Come up with a reasonable exchange rate for each page or paragraph of writing. I decided that I would write one page for each 44 minute episode of House I got to watch on DVD. The page would have to be pretty good, then I would get to collect my reward instantly. This really works well when you can reward yourself immediately. This strategy is also awesome because it allows you to work for a reasonable length of time, then take a good break, and then work again. It is good preparation for making the most of smaller breaks you might have throughout the day in which you can actually get a good deal of work done, since I got to the point where I could crank out a good page in under an hour.

The other awesome side-effect of this is that you begin to associate writing with fun things that you like, and it doesn’t feel so awful to sit down and do it because it is sort of surrounded by this happy glow. The other fantastic thing is that if you really, really want your reward, you’ll end up producing incredible amounts of good writing. I somehow managed to make myself go from completely stuck and unable to write anything at all to cranking out pages and pages per day, all because I had many seasons of House to catch up on.