Graduate Writers’ WorkshopWeek 1 Step-by-Step Guide Through the Master’s Thesis or Dissertation Erica Cirillo-McCarthy Assistant Director of Graduate and ADEP Writing
Today’s Workshop: • Workshop Format • Setting Goals and Writing Groups • Writing Process: Invention, Drafting, Revision, Editing • Free writing/ Discussion
Workshop Format • These workshops will be interactive and collaborative. There will be a short lecture on each topic, models or examples of writing, followed by a discussion of specific writing strategies. Afterward, students will be expected to work in groups on their own work, so please bring your laptops/ sources/ drafts/ brainstorming/ ideas.
Setting Goals • Consider daily, weekly, and semester-long goals • Goals must be: • Measurable, Specific, Quantifiable • Achievable
Moving toward Specific, Measurable, and Achievable Goals • “I’m going to work on my literature review” • “I’m going to gather some sources” • “My parents are in town and I have to plan a baby shower, but I can still write 20 pages this weekend” CAN BECOME….
Moving toward Specific, Measurable, and Achievable Goals • “I will write 8 pages of my literature review” • “I will gather AND evaluate 10 sources” • “I have a big commitment this weekend, so I will read and annotate 2 sources and double up on writing goals next week”
Benefits of Writing Groups What: A group of peers meet weekly or bi-monthly to announce their achievements and declare their future goals Where: Anywhere comfortable with space to spread out. Someone’s home, a coffee shop, a conference room in the library How: Everyone agrees to be honest and supportive Why: Low stakes, supportive writing groups have been proven to motivate writers at any level in sustained writing projects
Understanding the Writing Process • Invention • Drafting • Revision • Editing
Invention • Invention can take the form of any type of activity that helps you, the writer, create, connect, imagine your ideas, concepts, arguments: • Visual (sketches, concept maps, webbing, process maps, hierarchy maps, flowcharts) • Freewriting, brainstorming, listing, outlining, • Invention as inquiry, talking with others, thinking aloud and recording, writing a narrative • A combination of strategies
Drafting • Low stakes, putting ideas and thoughts down • Could be electronic or long hand • Do not worry about word choice, grammar, sentence structure at this point • Find the right time that works for you • Find the right place for you to spread out and not be distracted • Disconnect the internet or find a program that does that • The more you get down on paper, the more confident you become • Take your freewriting or selected quotes and begin there
Revision • Now is the time to stop and carefully look for: • Idea development • Use of evidence • Synthesis of ideas and sources • Logical Flow (Does one idea flow into the next? Are the relationships between ideas clear to the reader?) • Word choice (Define your terms)
Editing • Come up with a plan that works for you • print it out and read it aloud • Have someone else read it aloud so you “hear” your writing for clarity and flow Consideration of audience • Eliminate redundancy, in word choice, in ideas, in sentence structure • Parallel structure • Get to know your patterns of error and look for those • Finesse the formatting, in text citation and references page • Go through and make sure all of your sources have a bibliographic entry and that you don’t have a bibliographic entry that you haven’t cited (use the “find” function in Word) • Look for your writing ticks—over usage of certain transitions or phrases
Let’s Set Some Goals! • Let’s take some time to write down our personal writing goals • Then we can go around the room and find out each person’s goal • Take these goals and put them on your fridge, your computer, your bathroom mirror • Stick to these goals
Thank you! • Set an appointment with a Writing Center tutor to talk about your goals and writing obstacles • Find strategies you can use to overcome writing obstacles • Work with like-minded, supportive people in writing groups • Work closely with your advisor and always advocate for yourself • Just keep writing and coming to the workshops