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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Although individual writing processes are vastly different, composition scholarship provides evidence of patterns across disparate writing methodologies. This section identifies and explains some of the most notable patterns of successful compositionists. We suggest that successful compositionist practice some of the following strategies: Return, Revise, Risk, Reject.

Researchers in the field of composition and rhetoric have uncovered important insights regarding effective writing habits. Below are a few of the important insights researchers have discovered regarding how college students and professionals manage writing processes:

  1. Return: Successful writers often describe their composing strategies as recursive.  By recursive, they mean that they engage in a variety of writing strategies in a non-linear manner.  For example, they may begin by collaborating with others, then try inventing on their own, then consult authorities and scholars via research, and then return to collaborating.
  2. Revise - and then revise again: From composition research and scholarship, we know that many students do not plan or revise as much as professional writers.
  3. Risk - be open-minded about trying new methods: Unsuccessful writers may become trapped in a single composing strategy. For example, they may get stuck researching, thinking they need to read absolutely everything before writing.
  4. Reject fatalism - embrace learning: Inexperienced students may believe they receive low grades because they weren't "born writers" when the real truth is that they aren't really employing the invention, revising, and editing strategies that more successful writers use. Writing well requires patience and practice.

How much do you know about how writers work? Have you ever researched the creative processes of writers? What do you know about ways to manage revision and editing so that you can write an effective document in less time? Perhaps most importantly, have you experimented with different ways to conceptualize and edit ideas?

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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