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

Joe Moxley, Founder, WritingCommons.org

Joe Moxley


Dear Colleagues and Students,

At Writing Commons, we are happy with the overall success of our project. Since 2011, when we launched at WritingCommons.org, we have hosted 6,315,882 users who have reviewed over 11 million pages. We are thrilled that students and faculty find our site to be helpful. Our ongoing mission is to be the best writing textbook possible. We also happen to be free. While we cannot perhaps claim yet that we are the best possible textbook for technical writing or creative writing courses, we are working on that.

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While playing the believing game–setting aside doubt and overly critical comments–is crucial during the writing process, playing the doubting game is equally important, especially during the latter stages of the writing process.   Successful writing partially rests on being critical and reflective about your rhetorical situation, the quality of your evidence, and the best way to organize a document for reader. Other doubting game activities include: OrganizeFocusInventFormatEditRevise, and Publish.

"It's important to try to write when you are in the wrong mood or the weather is wrong. Even if you don't succeed, you'll be developing a muscle that may do it later on”

Regrettably, there is no simple formula for determining when you should play the believing game versus the doubting game.  In general, successful writers emphasize believing over doubting during the early stages of a writing project, although overemphasizing the believing game can be problematic.   If you launch into a project without first stepping back and Think Rhetorically, perhaps even pre-writing and collaborating, then you may set off on a fruitless journey.  If emotion and positive thinking overwhelm skepticism and critical thinking at the early stages of the writing process, you might find three weeks later or even a semester later that your essay fails to successfully address a professor's assignment.

The video to the right of this passage provides a nice illustration of the quandaries a writer can face when trying to decide whether evidence is  credible or possible. In this example it appears as if the man successfully shoots out of a waterslide into a small pool of good distance away.  Thanks to Myth Busters, though, we know the video is fraudulent!

Suggested Resources

Elbow, Peter Writing without Teachers

Cassandra Branham, Editor-in-Chief WritingCommons.org

Cassandra Branham


Dear Colleagues and Students,

Welcome to Writing Commons, an open-education resource for instructors and students of writing across the disciplines. Our mission is to provide a high-quality, cost free resource to support students in the development of writing, research, and critical thinking practices.

This summer, we have been working on a site redesign in an effort to increase the usability of our site for both instructors and students. Our most significant change has been the inclusion of additional categories and subcategories to create a more intuitive hierarchy within the site.

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