Writing Madness Consolation Post #5 – Repetition!

The first second of our Writing Madness bracket has concluded, which left us with four writing issues that won’t be participating in the next round of voting. The Learning Hub’s writing staff have picked two of these four, and over the next few days we will be presenting them along with specific resources to help you overcome your frustrations with them. This time? Repetition!

by Kaylan

When writing a paper, it is common for students to struggle with repetition.  This seems to be a common occurrence when students are running out of paragraph ideas to write about or students may not have the best grasp on a topic so they say the same idea in different words.  Repetition can come in the form of repeating the same word, phrase, or idea frequently.  While repetition can drive a point home, it can also distract readers because it can take away from the clear and concise nature of a paper.  A good, thorough read-through after writing a paper can help a writer determine areas of repetition.  In addition to a good read-through, here is a good list of rules to avoid repetition when writing a paper:

Essay Writing: 7 Rules to Avoid Repetition

This article offers seven quick tips to help writers avoid repetition within a paper.  Avoiding repetition in a paper enhances the flow and ease of readability of the ideas presented.  Although it may seem easy to fall into the trap of repetition, it is also very easy to avoid repetition following the rules listed in the article above.

Writing Madness Consolation Post #1 – Writing in General

The first round of our Writing Madness bracket has concluded, which left us with eight writing issues that won’t be participating in the next round of voting. The Learning Hub’s writing staff have picked four of these eight, and over the next week we will be presenting them along with specific resources to help you overcome your frustrations with them. First up? Writing in General!

by Michael

Writing can be an anxiety inducing activity, especially if you’re penning more than a personal rant on your social media account or a simple to do list for a busy weekend. An analysis essay for an English class, a research paper for a history course, or a narrative for a creative writing class takes time. These assignments can’t be finished in one day, unless you’re a painfully dedicated individual, or a lazy one who wants to finish an assignment for the sake of completing it. The point is writing is daunting. It can be a huge undertaking, and it’s important to understand a lengthy project like this requires more than twenty minutes of your day. It requires planning and dedication. Think of it as a marathon, kiddoes. It ain’t a sprint.

Writing anything of a respectable nature means you must think beyond your own thoughts and beliefs. You have to observe and connect to other material so you can make your own writing better. Think of yourself as a young Miss Marple or Perry Mason…or a socially awkward Sherlock for you young’uns. Ask questions. Research. String ideas together. Outline. Challenge yourself. Writing doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and to get you thinking about ways to write a successful essay, below are just a few suggestions to keep you hydrated on that metaphorical 26.2 miles it takes to get through that damn paper…

Read

…I know it’s hard, but get off your phone or Netflix account and pick up a book, a copy of Cosmopolitan or Sports Illustrated – whatever tickles your fancy – and read. It expands your vocabulary and helps you better understand writing structures.

Write Anything

Take a piece of paper whenever you’re stuck for ideas or have no idea where an essay is going and write until you fill the page. Whatever comes to mind. This will help with writer’s block.

More Practical Things:

Learning Hub Handouts

Yes, this is a shameless plug. The Learning Hub has many handouts that break down a variety of writing topics, including but not limited to the writing process, research methods, and even those diabolical citation styles most of us can’t stand.

Grammarly

You see this ad on YouTube all the friggin’ time. It’s an app that detects spelling, grammar, punctuation, and style errors. It is your own personal high-tech proofreader.

Infoplease

A website that offers articles and ideas to help students tackle writing issues.

Poynter

A blog for writers and journalists. It also features Fifty Writing Tools: A Quick List, which is an assortment of podcasts dedicated to writing topics.

RMIT’s Learning Lab/Writing Skills

A website that helps writers develop and hone their summarizing and paraphrasing skills.

Using English

A website dedicated to English as a Second Language students, teachers, and academics.

You see, with all the help in the world, you can overcome the struggle of writing. The above list is but a small number of ways to push through the pain and write anything you want. So, stop marinating in self-doubt and fear, and get writing. Or don’t and fail. That’s up to you. Not my problem.

Proofreading

by Brock

Proofreading is easily one of the most cumbersome stages of writing.  Nobody wants to do it. Nobody likes it.  It’s outright boring.  Regardless of these feelings, it must be done. People make mistakes, their mind thinks quicker than their hands can type, they pause writing and start later.  Whatever the cause of mistakes, there is almost always at least one way a paper can benefit from proofreading.

During proofreading, you can fix grammar mistakes, improve clarity, realize a different organization might work better, and notice logical or citation mistakes.  The purpose of proofreading would suggest that this is a process best done at the end of writing but before you turn in the paper.  You don’t want to turn in a paper and realize that you made a bunch of mistakes that your professor marked, such as a run-on sentence that comprises an entire paragraph, and then realize that your grade dropped because of your silly mistakes that could have easily been avoided by taking the time to proofread your paper and then you would wish you took the time to fix these mistakes so your paper was the very best that you could do because you are a student who is fully capable of producing excellent pieces of work.

Proofreading is not something to be rushed.  I get it – the last thing you want to do after writing a paper all night is to spend more time looking at it to find where you could make improvements.  You’re over the paper and don’t even want to look at it again until your professor hands it back to you.  You may think it’s as simple as running spell check and printing it.  Remember, though, that there is much more to accomplish through thorough proofreading than fixing grammar mistakes.  Set aside a good amount of time for proofreading and your patience will be rewarded.  This may mean that you need to finish your paper more than an hour before you turn it in, but in doing this you have a reason to reward yourself.

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So, a few tips on how to proofread would be helpful.  Each person has different strategies, so some might work for you and others might not.

The first tip is to read your paper backwards.

What?! Are you crazy! Well yes, I am, but this is a trick that works.  When you read your paper forward, your mind is trained to read right over what you wrote, expecting everything to be in its place.  By reading from the end to the beginning, you focus more on your word choice and sentence structure.  This is a good strategy to identify grammatical problems, especially the ones that spell check does not recognize.

Another tip is to separate yourself from your work.

What I mean is to write your paper and then walk away from it.  Take this time to relax and do something you enjoy.  Go play with your dog, Pundit, who is an absolute angel. Watch a movie. Do whatever you want. But whether you step away for an hour or a few days, you will notice that it is easier to read through your paper and identify areas to work on.  The more time spent away, the better this works because you let your mind get away from the stresses and ideas that produced the original work.  You enter the paper with a fresh mind and new perspective after having more time to process your ideas.

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The Learning Hub has a handout on editing and proofreading (see below) that covers these strategies as well as others.  It is a great resource if you want to improve your proofreading skills.  Also helpful are our other handouts on topics ranging from grammar to citations.  If you find yourself looking to reaffirm your knowledge or learn new skills, these handouts are amazing resources. The Hub is also giving a workshop later this semester on editing, revising, and writer’s block that will be taking place April 16th and 17th.

Hopefully you’ve broken your bad writing habits this month! Stay tuned for a post tomorrow kicking off our March theme. Hint: it’s gonna be MADNESS!

Entitled to a Title

By Patrick

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This month we’re breaking bad writing habits, and this week we’re specifically talking about how important titles are to a paper. They convey so much in so few words, so it’s very important to take advantage of its power to entice your reader to read what you’ve written!

Check out what Patrick has to say in the video below, and then see our handout on creating well crafted titles to help you break this bad writing habit!

 

Combat your bad writing habits by visiting with one of our writing staff in The Learning Hub! Make an appointment today!

Breaking Up is Hard to Do…

Everyone has bad habits when it comes to your writing process and writing skills. Don’t be ashamed to admit it! Knowledge of your bad habits is the first step toward breaking them and improving yourself as a student or professional.

Let’s all pledge this month to break up… Breaking up is never an easy process, but hopefully with the tips we’ll be providing this month, breaking up with your bad writing habits will be possible, and manageable!

In this video kicking off our February 2018, The Learning Hub’s writing staff admit to their bad writing habits. What are some of yours? Comment below!

Combat your bad writing habits by visiting with one of our writing staff in The Learning Hub! Make an appointment today!

Eating Your Turkey

Throughout the month of November, The Learning Hub has discussed how undertaking preparing and cooking the turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner is like going through the various stages of the writing process. In this final video of our series, Brock and James discuss how eating your turkey and surveying your Thanksgiving dishpocalypse is like the reflection process in writing.

 

 To learn more about how you can come up to The Hub for appointments, visit our website where you can find our contact information, helpful resources, and lots of other information!

Carving and Serving Your Turkey

Throughout the month of November, The Learning Hub will be discussing how undertaking preparing and cooking the turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner is like going through the various stages of the writing process. This video? Carving and Serving your turkey – it’s like going through the revising and editing step of the process, and Patrick goes over Office 365 and Microsoft Word’s grammar assistance functionality.

 To learn more about how you can come up to The Hub for appointments, visit our website where you can find our contact information, helpful resources, and lots of other information!