Posts for the Topic writing process

"I hate everything I write"

girl sadly looking at her notebook

Most of us, and especially those of us who engage in creative writing, have experienced this thought before. Oftentimes when looking back at something we’ve written, we are either ashamed or embarrassed by the quality of our work. It’s a similar sensation to hearing your voice on a recording; do I really sound like that? Did I really write that? There are countless times where I have written something then later crumpled it up and tossed it in the trash. I’m sure many people are familiar with this feeling. But why do we feel it, and what can we do about it?

The art of taking negative feedback

Image of Ned Stark from the TV show "Game of Thrones" which reads: "Brace Yourselves. Constructive Criticism is Coming"

Knowing you did something wrong is tough. Being called out on it can be even harsher. As students, however, feedback is something you often get. While we usually gloss over the positive feedback, when we face negative feedback we can become pretty defensive. And that’s natural. Your writing is something special that you created and thus when you receive criticism, it can seem like an attack on you. However, while some of this criticism can come across as demeaning or confidence shattering, there are usually helpful things to be taken from the notes your marker has left for you.

Holiday Wrap: Reflecting on the Past and Planning for the Winter Term

New Yorker cartoon captioned "I had my own blog for a while, but I decided to go back to pointless, incessant barking"

Seeing as this will be my final posting, this is a perfect time to reflect on the fall term and project to the upcoming winter term. Fittingly, one of the big takeaways from my experience with a vastly diverse group of students is plan ahead. And I don’t mean that in a remedial or punitive way at all. It’s more of a general sentiment on developing a process, a process which you’re concurrently tweaking as it develops. Perhaps this is too meta (considering this post is prefaced on looking forward), but I’ve heard that being self-referential on the internet is the thing to do.

9 Tips to Ace That Timed Essay

Image of a happy dog with the caption "Good luck on the exam, hope it isn't too ruff"

Exams are almost upon us, and a familiar sense of foreboding has settled over the campus. One exam element that can be particularly intimidating for some students is the timed essay: an exam question which demands a full essay on a topic that is typically revealed for the first time during the test. While these kinds of questions may seem scary, there are plenty of ways to make them easy for yourself. Read on for tips about how to prepare in advance of the exam and how to approach timed essays before, during, and after the writing process.

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?

An introduction to university writing

An introduction to university writing

You have graduated from high school and been accepted to The University of Waterloo. Congratulations! As you begin your university studies you will encounter many kinds of writing assignments. To help get you started, here’s a brief guide to expectations for university-level writing.

Writing at university follows specific conventions

On Stephen King's "On Writing"

Stephen King’s On Writing is a great resource for anyone who wants to become a better writer. Although King’s memoir mainly targets fiction writers, I believe that many of his opinions on writing can be used by all writers. Whether you are writing a blog, co-op report, literature review, cover letter, etc., King’s tips about writing will be useful to you.

Here are four of King’s tips about writing that will help you and your writing process.

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