Sunday, November 24, 2013

The DOs and DON'Ts of Writing
I recently came upon a list that described the Do's and Don'ts of writing a paper from the University of Tartu. I wanted to share this list, not because I found it amusing, but also because it seemed pretty relevant to what I see here in the Writing Center.

Here is my (abridged) version of 10 Do's and Don'ts when writing a paper:

DO be conscious that  phases of writing exist and differs person to person. One person may benefit from writing a complete introduction first while others like to dive right into the body.
DON'T go into a paper without any plan!

DO define your topic! Then refine it with a good hypothesis.
DON'T attempt to cover everything that your class has taught you within the semester.

DO collect information that is relevant to your topic and make sure you take good notes. This will make the highly feared citation process easier.
DON'T copy word-for-word from a resource. It's not cool and it's plagiarism.

DO write on a regular basis. Pace through the paper.
DON'T write the night before a paper is due or "when you're in the mood".

DO organize your arguments and explain each step.
DON'T accumulate facts without any explanation.

DO write first, correct later.
DON'T expect a perfect rough draft. It's rough for a reason.

DO realize writing is a learning process. Hence the existence of the WC!
DON'T set high standards for the first draft. It'll frustrate you more.

DO be trouble-shooting oriented when writing. Go back one phase in your writing process and re-work it until you have overcome the issue. If you get stuck ask others for advice or see us at the WC!
DON'T work through issues you have questions on alone.

DO build confidence as a writer!
DON'T be hypercritical of yourself when writing or set unrealistic goals.

To see the original list, go to

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