Posts for the Topic strategies

One and done: some tips and tricks on drafting

Person editing their writing

Have you ever looked at a finished piece of writing and wondered how someone could ever write something that amazing? Have you ever looked at one of your own first drafts and wondered how it could ever be something worth reading? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then this is the blog post for you.

Beating Procrastination

pieces of paper saying NOW, tomorrow, later, next week etc.

“I’ll do it later” seems to be one of the most common phrases we say and it seems to be the most common phrase when it shouldn't be. Procrastination is one of those habits that the majority of us just can’t seem to beat. It hits everyone at some point, but can be much more difficult to shake for some people. Except, even our most productive students or colleagues face the same feelings of procrastination; however, they know how to beat it. Recent research regarding procrastination has shown that it is much more complex than a simple “I don't feel like it” attitude.

Revisiting Google Ngram: What we can learn from Corpora

Ancient inscription captioned "It doesn't mean a thing, but boy, will it drive them crazy a thousand years from now?"

So I’ve been thinking about Google’s Ngram Viewer and how it applies as a teaching tool. Although it doesn’t directly translate, Ngram reminded me of a really handy tool that we use regularly at the Writing Centre. I’ve also realized that many people may not have encountered it before. So, I present to you: the Now Corpus.

The First Word is the Hardest: How to Get Working on a Writing Assignment

Often, the hardest part of completing a writing project is getting started. Whether you’re working on an essay, a lab report, or an online discussion post, there are all sorts of problems that can prevent you from penning those first few words. Let’s break down a few of those problems and explore some solutions that can help get the sentences flowing.

Black tie blunders, part 2: how to correct formality errors

woman in puffy prom dress standing beside woman in business suit

In last week’s post, we covered the many misconceptions that exist around the concept of formal writing, with a particular emphasis on the belief that formal writing should be full of polysyllabic words and complicated sentences. As we discussed, formality in writing is all about following a specific set of conventions and has almost nothing to do with shoehorning big words into your work.

Figuring out your ideal writing space: an excuse to go for a ramble

Following up from last week’s blog that dealt with procrastination and getting started, it seems intuitive to consider one of the (potentially) underrated parts of the writing process: finding your ideal writing space. Sometimes, I find that people identify their favourite writing space with a binary. They either like total silence and undisturbed time, or they need some kind of background noise and a bit of chaos to get motivated. However, this self-identified requirement for a writing space can get us into tricky situations. How so?

Writer's block explored through sweet, sweet music

“Writer’s block.” Two dreaded words for any student, first year undergrads and PhD candidates alike. Most other problematic writing habits stem from writer’s block; procrastination is when you’ve convinced yourself that you will write something, just not yet. The timing isn’t right, or you don’t have enough time to get enough of your thoughts down, or you need to perform your pre-writing rituals like binge-watching The Wire or cleaning the kitchen. Everyone is different, but the problem remains the same. Where to begin?

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