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The Process of Writing

The Process of Writing

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The Process of Writing

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  1. The Process of Writing CSE/ISE 300 Spring 2011 Tony Scarlatos

  2. Writing is a process, not a product

  3. An iterative process

  4. A creative process

  5. Process details

  6. 10 Basic steps: • Start with Heilmeier’s Catechism. Ask yourself the seven questions, and jot down your answers. Make sure you estimate and allocate adequate time for all steps of the writing process. • Research. Take notes. Start your bibliography. • Brainstorm. Mind mapping is a good way to visualize relationships between concepts. • Commit to an outline, as detailed as possible. • Following the outline, prepare your rough draft. • Seek editors to get feedback. • Revise your draft and solicit additional feedback. Seek new readers. • Incorporate additional comments, edit, proof-read, and polish. • Publish. • Start the process all over again.

  7. Heilmeier’s Catechism • What are you trying to do? Articulate your objectives using absolutely no jargon. • How is it done today, and what are the limits of current practice? • What's new in your approach and why do you think it will be successful? • Who cares? If you're successful, what difference will it make? • What are the risks and the payoffs? • How much will it cost? How long will it take? • What are the midterm and final "exams" to check for success?

  8. Mind Mapping

  9. Mind Mapping Software

  10. Outline

  11. Outline Feature in MS Word

  12. Editing

  13. Markup in MS Word

  14. General Best Practices for Writers • Write every day. Keep a journal or a blog to make sure you don’t forget your ideas, and to create a space for working out new ones. • Carry around a pencil and pad of paper. Jot down ideas promptly. Get into the habit of note-taking. • Read every day, especially writers that you would like emulate. David Pogue’s NY Times column (and his blog) is a very good choice for technical writers. Become a student member of the ACM so you will get the journal Transactions. • Share your writing with your colleagues. Ask them to share their work with you. Practice reading your writing aloud. • Attend talks and presentations on campus, such as the Distinguished Lecture Series sponsored by CS.

  15. The Creative Process • Orientation: pointing out the problem • Preparation: gathering pertinent data • Analysis: breaking down the relevant material • Ideation: piling up alternatives by way of ideas • Incubation: letting up, to invite illumination • Synthesis: putting the pieces together • Evaluation: judging the resulting ideas - Osborn, A (1953) Applied Imagination. New York: Charles Scribner.

  16. 6 Myths About Creativity • Creativity comes from creative types. • Money is a creativity motivator. • Time pressure fuels creativity. • Fear forces breakthroughs. • Competition beats collaboration. • A streamlined organization is a creative organization.

  17. Ways to avoid “writer’s block” • Expose yourself to new experiences on a regular basis – new music, new activities, new people, etc. • Practice drawing (doodling, if you will) – even if you think your drafting skills are poor, they will improve with use. You don’t have to be Rembrandt to get your ideas across. • Practice relaxation and meditation techniques (reduce stimuli). • Get some fresh air and exercise. Take a walk or ride a bike. Change your environment. Change your approach and your perspective. If you work at a desk, try working on the floor or on your bed. • Tackle big jobs in small chunks over time, don’t try to be brilliant in a single heroic flash of inspiration up against a deadline.

  18. Advice for this class All the assignments take some preparatory work. Here are some things you can do right now: • Identify some software you would like to review, that needs good user instructions. • Identify some faculty research project you would like to write about in a press release. Contact the faculty member or at least their Research Assistant(s). • Identify a problem or a research area in CS or IS that you would like to do a Literature Review about. • Think about some research you hope to do someday for your Research Abstract. • Gather supporting materials for all of the above and review them. • Find some “study buddies” who will read and review your work.