The 7 Habits of Mind & The Writing Process

In the “Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing,” the Council of Writing Program Administrators, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the National Writing Project (2011) report on seven habits of mind that are “essential for success in college writing.”:


Curiosity is the driving force that compels individuals to explore and learn about the world around them. It involves the desire to ask questions, seek answers, and continually expand one’s knowledge and understanding. In the context of the writing process, curiosity is essential for generating new ideas, exploring different perspectives, and creating a comprehensive understanding of the topic at hand.

Intellectual Openness

Openness refers to the willingness to consider new ideas and perspectives, even those that challenge one’s own beliefs and assumptions. In academic writing, embracing openness allows students to explore diverse viewpoints, engage with conflicting evidence, and develop a well-rounded understanding of the subject matter. Moreover, openness facilitates a healthy exchange of ideas and fosters intellectual growth.


Engagement encompasses active involvement in the writing process, which includes critical thinking, problem-solving, and the integration of knowledge from various sources . Engaged writers take ownership of their work by actively participating in the research, drafting, revising, and editing processes. This level of engagement is crucial for producing high-quality writing that effectively communicates the writer’s ideas and perspectives.


Creativity is the ability to generate innovative ideas, think outside the box, and explore new ways of approaching problems and challenges. In college writing, creativity can manifest in various ways, such as developing original arguments, employing unique organizational structures, or employing vivid language to engage readers. Embracing creativity can enhance the quality and impact of a written work, setting it apart from other pieces of writing.


Persistence is the commitment to persevere in the face of challenges and setbacks. Writing is an iterative process that often requires multiple drafts, revisions, and edits before reaching a final product. By exhibiting persistence, students can overcome obstacles, learn from their mistakes, and continually improve their writing skills.


Responsibility in the context of college writing involves acknowledging one’s role in the writing process and taking ownership of one’s work (Council of Writing Program Administrators et al., 2011). This includes adhering to academic standards, such as proper citation practices, avoiding plagiarism, and demonstrating intellectual honesty. Additionally, responsible writers ensure the accuracy of their work by conducting thorough research and incorporating credible sources.


Flexibility is the ability to adapt to new situations, challenges, and requirements (Council of Writing Program Administrators et al., 2011). In college writing, flexibility is crucial for navigating the varied expectations and guidelines of different writing assignments, disciplines, and instructors. By developing flexibility, students can more effectively respond to feedback, revise their work, and tailor their writing to meet specific requirements.

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