Before You Write

In this section, we will discuss things to consider before you start to write, as well as how to start writing for academic purposes.

two people sitting at a table with tablet, cell phone, and paper notebook
Photo by Alejandro Escamilla on Unsplash

Activity A ~ Brainstorming about Writing & Noticing Writing in Your Daily Life

  1. On your own: On a piece of paper, write down all the types of writing you have done in the past week (grocery lists, social media messages, homework, etc.). Be specific.
  2. With a partner: What kinds of writing do you need to do in college? Is all of the writing graded? What kinds of assignments or exams require writing? Make another list with your partner.
  3. With your class: What was the purpose of your writing? Who was your audience?

This week, pay attention to the types of writing that you do and see in your daily life.

Start today by noticing the kinds of texts you see and hear around you every day: street signs, signs and posters at the college, news articles, podcasts, etc. How does that kind of writing affect the world?

Take a photo of writing that you notice in the community around you.

In college, you will have many opportunities to write: lab reports, business proposals, timed short-answer responses and essays, annotated bibliographies, term papers, and so on. Each of these types of writing has its particular audience, purpose, and context. In many cases, you will be writing to discover more about what you believe, or to show what you have learned.

In ENGL 087, we will also be writing to effect change. Over the next few weeks, think about the activity below; later in the semester, you will write more about your ideas for change.

Activity B ~ Change in Your Community

What communities do you belong to? Describe them to a partner.

In your communities this week, notice things that could be improved. What changes would you suggest?

In our class, we will write to create change. Throughout the semester, we will talk about your ideas to make the world a better place. Keep a list of your ideas so that you are ready to write an essay later in the semester.


Activity adapted from from Teaching Academic Writing p. 38 Activity 2.1 An introduction to the purposes of writing.



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ENGLISH 087: Academic Advanced Writing Copyright © 2020 by Nancy Hutchison is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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