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

The Writing Process

Use the Weekly Progress Report to keep your instructor apprised of your efforts and to help you focus on completing a project in a timely manner.

Writers often find it useful to log their work and to provide regular progress reports to themselves and those they are accountable to--such as supervisors or editors or teachers (see Log Your Work).

Avoid procrastination and gain some control over how you manage your time while developing documents.

One of the most important lessons writers must learn is to handle the language of time. Judging from the multitude of books dedicated to time management--indeed whole forests have given way to time-management
specialists--many of us have difficulties overcoming procrastination, knowing when to research, when to write, and when to collaborate.


Understand the psychology of writing, particularly the importance of balancing believing with doubting. Learn how to overcome "writer's block" and manage difficult writing assignments.

When it comes to writing projects, do you tend to procrastinate and then binge-write around the deadline time? Do you ever have difficulties scheduling your writing work so that it doesn't become aversive?

Use the common topoi and tagmemic questions to stimulate your creative abilities.


What is it? What are the unique features of the subject?

Example: What were the unique achievements of the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission?


How is the subject similar to or different from other members of its class?

Example: What did the Apollo 11 mission accomplish that previous or subsequent missions did not?


How much can a subject vary, and how can it vary over time without losing its essential nature?

Example: What facts does NASA or a conspiracy theorist present as evidence?


How can you observe the subject? How often can you observe it?

Example: What pictures, video, or physical evidence do we have regarding Apollo 11?


How will the subject change over time? How is the subject changing over time?

Example: How have interpretations of Apollo 11 evolved? What conspiracy theories have been raised since 1969?


What's the larger, systems view? In other words, how do the parts of your subject relate to one another? How does your subject relate to other subjects?

Example: Many web sites and television shows have argued that the Apollo mission was a hoax. contWhy is that? What science was required to carry off the lunar landing and what evidence does NASA have to prove the Apollo mission?

When we proofread a document, we are looking for small errors such as misspellings or accidental omissions.

Have you ever sent off an email message or submitted a school paper only to later discover that it was full of typographical errors?  How could you have missed all of these errors?

The answer seems to have something to do with how our brains work.  Our brains recognize patterns.  This is part of the reason why people who read frequently tend to read faster than infrequent readers: their brains more speedily recognize and process patterns of words on the page.

Why does correct spelling matter?

When a word is misspelled or is mistakenly substituted for a word with a meaning that is inconsistent with the ideas surrounding it, the inaccuracy can create confusion in the mind of the reader. The flow of the passage is temporarily interrupted; frequent spelling and meaning errors can compromise the credibility of the writer.