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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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?

2 . Purpose
What is the specific outcome your writing seeks to achieve--to entertain, inform, evaluate, persuade? Clearly define your purpose in as narrow terms as possible. What is your argument/story?

3 . Audience
What do you know about your audience? How can you find out more about them? What do you want your reader to do, understand, or feel? What counterarguments or questions should you anticipate? How interested in the subject or emotionally involved is the reader?

4 . Media
What media should you employ--academic writing, an oral presentation, a Web site, email, Instant Messenger, a magazine column, a video documentary? Why?

5 . Voice, Tone, or Persona
What voice, tone, and persona should you project as a consequence of your communication situation? For example, should you attempt to appear objective and detached, passionate and angry, or clever and satirical?

6 . Research
Can past research inform your writing project? What important texts have been written about the topic, if any? How can past research inform how you narrow your topic? What new ideas can you contribute?

7 . Length, Format, and Design
How long should your project be? How can visual language underscore your message? What figures and tables or other formatting techniques are commonly used? What form of documentation is required?

8 . Schedule

Complete the following set of due dates.

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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