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

 Set a timer and journal about writing
 for 10 minutes.

Tell yourself that it doesn’t matter what you write or how good it is, just that you only have to write about your writing for 10 minutes.
You could write about what went well on past assignments:

    • What have you done in past assignments when you couldn’t start?
    • What did you do in your past essays that were really good?

Writing about what you did well on past assignments can be really great for remembering the writing strategies that work best for you. It’s also a nice way of giving yourself a pep talk to sort of fire up before starting a paper.

You could also write about why you’re having a tough time getting started:

    • Why is the assignment so hard?
    • What are you nervous about on this assignment?

Research shows that writing for ten minutes about all the negative thoughts flapping around in your brain is a really effective way to clear your mind and do better work. Students who were really stressed out and did this for ten minutes before exams earned much better grades than those who didn’t. The researchers who did the study think that the reason is because taking all of those distracting thoughts and putting them on paper gives your brain more space to focus. You can do the same thing before writing to maximize the space in your brain for composing sentences and coming up with ideas.

Another strategy is to use journaling to pull out some ideas for your paper. You could ask yourself:

    • What am I trying to say in this paper?

Next: Go back and work on your writing plan. ->