Tips from Wesleyan Student and Faculty Staff

The Writing Process

Mindfulness for Long Writing Projects - strategies for developing a healthy writing practice, geared especially toward long projects but useful for anyone who wants to bring more intention and self-care to their work or to fight writing anxiety and burnout

Starting the writing process - four steps to revving up and putting your paper in gear.

The (pre-)writing process - how to maximize the value of the thinking you do before you start typing.

The revising process - tips for making even the best draft better.

Feeling Stuck? 

Don’t know how to start? We’ve all been there. Try putting on a timer (1-3 minutes depending on your energy levels) and answering these prompts based on where you’re at in the writing process. When you’re done you’ll have some writing, and hopefully some direction. If nothing else, you’ll have put words on the page and broken through that writer’s block!

Some of our staff really love brainstorming in color. Give it a try to see if switching colors helps you come up with different ideas. The key is to get started. Don’t worry about arriving anywhere or producing anything shareable. Just start.

Lastly, our staff encourages you to get off your screens and try some other approaches to writing. Check out the Wesleyan Writing Workshop’s video on “Feeling Stuck” for some techniques to get your head back into the writing process. 

Be Your Own Second Pair of Eyes 

Any writing tutor at Wes will tell you that revision is key to the writing process. Revision often happens after you’ve produced a draft, but before you polish and copy-edit it. At this stage, you focus on making sure your overall message is clear. You also refine your points, often condensing or elaborating and sometimes even writing new material and deleting paragraphs entirely). In this way, revision is not about correcting or fixing your writing, but re-seeing your writing and re-envisioning what the writing could be.

It’s hard to be own your second pair of eyes, though. Reverse Outlining is a tactic many writers use to see what their essay says. Many writers know their work so well that their brains fill in any gaps or correct mistakes. This makes it hard to know if your writing is, in fact, as clear as your brain makes it out to be. To help you see your writing, try a reverse outline or color coding your writing. And check out our tutors’ guide to the Reverse Outline.

Research: Integrating and Analyzing Sources

Wesleyan’s Guide to Citing Sources

Wesleyan’s Guide to Types of Sources

Wesleyan Student Handbook: Plagiarism

Quotations - A guide explaining the what, why, and how of using quotations.

Research Questions - A short guide to questions to ask yourself when writing a research paper.

Writing Mechanics

Conclusions - A short guide explaining why a conclusion is important and things to consider in structuring a strong one.

Introductions - A guide explaining important things to consider in order to write a strong introduction.

Paragraphs - A "how-to" guide on the important elements that a good paragraph will contain.

Thesis Statements- A guide explaining what a thesis statement does and things to consider in structuring a strong one.

Seeking inspiration?

Check out the winning essays in the 2020 FYS prize competition.

Other On-Campus Resources for Writers

Dean’s Office Peer Tutoring Program

CPI's Presentation Studio

Set up a personal research session with a librarian

Subject and Research Guides

The Jellybean Papers (for honors thesis writers)

Wesleyan University Library