A free, comprehensive, peer-reviewed, award-winning Open Text for students and faculty in college-level courses that require writing and research.

Planning

Why is it important to pay close attention to assignment requirements?

When a writing project is assigned, the instructor (or the department) will usually spell out specific assignment requirements; these expectations are often communicated verbally, inscribed on a white board, or made available through an electronic or paper document.

Use a writer's journal to organize your work, develop new projects, and nurture and sustain existing projects.

Consider using these categories to help organize your journal, whether you publish it online (with or without security) or keep it in a three-ring binder.

The writer's journal can help you to write more efficiently and more originally. Your journal provides a place to organize your work, develop new projects, nurture and sustain existing projects, and provide links to completed projects.

Use a variety of invention strategies to stimulate your creative abilities.

Many people do not perceive themselves as creative. They reserve the terms "creative" or "innovative" for people who write literature, create art work, invent products, or lead scientific breakthroughs. People who develop new theories, products, and ideas certainly deserve to be called "creative" or"innovative," yet the vast majority of us can be creative, too.

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As children many of us heard the classic fable about the tortoise and the hare. The moral of the story is that rushing straight from point A to point B is not always the swiftest way to the destination. Sometimes it makes sense to pause for a few moments and ask yourself, "Do I really want to go there? What obstacles can I expect to encounter? Do I need to take a compass and a map? Is the path well marked? What provisions am I likely to need along the journey?"

Like many children's tales, the tortoise and the hare has implications for adults, too. For even though logic tells us that we can save time by quickly writing a first draft, we in fact might manage our time more effectively by doing some preliminary planning and prewriting.

Consider the Document Planner to be a living document. It's a snapshot of a fluid process. As you write, your ideas about audience, purpose, media, context, voice, tone, and persona will change, becoming clarified.

1 . Context
Beyond fulfilling a course requirement, what motivates you to explore this project? What are the unique elements of this writing situation? Is your context formal, semiformal, informal? Is this a class assignment; a Web site; a workplace document; an online communication; a text for a community, service, or special interest group; an essay for a magazine, newspaper, or journal; a letter to family and friends? How does the context influence what you need to do next?

Understand how writers organize their commitments by organizing work under development into a notebook.

Although the thought of maintaining a notebook may at first appear intimidating, you will probably be surprised to find that it is actually quite easy to keep one on a day-to-day basis. Indeed, the following comments are fairly representative of how most students feel after keeping a notebook for a semester: