Weekly Writing Tips from the Writing Center

submitted by sonquisi@augsburg.edu

1) Don’t be afraid of cut and paste! Sometimes a really good sentence or idea shows up in a paragraph that you don’t eventually need. Salvage the best ideas from your first draft and build your paper around those.
2) Write your outline with topic sentences. The first sentence of each paragraph shouldn’t just introduce the “topic” of what you’re talking about, it should also make a point or argument about each topic (in this way, think of the topic sentences as baby thesis statements for each paragraph). Good academic writing is argumentative, not just informative, and it’s helpful to organize your ideas around arguments, not just topics.
3) If you’re unsure about your thesis statement, that’s the best time to come to the writing center. The rest of your paper will be a million times easier to write if you can center it around an effective thesis statement.
4) Don’t try to “sound smart” in your writing – it’s always better to make sense than to use big words. Professors can tell when you’re trying to write in a way you usually wouldn’t. Just write in your own voice (guaranteed you’re smart enough already)
5) Talk to other people in your class about their papers: their thesis statements, the evidence they’re using, even the important feedback they’ve gotten from this professor before. Hearing other ideas will make you more creative.
6) The best way to become a better writer is to read more. This is true of your field – the best way to become a better poet is to read more poetry, the best way to become a better writer about sociology is to read more sociology articles.

From Writing Center Tutor, Anne Liners