By WIC Team

The 2016 WIC Culture of Writing Award winners were asked to give writing advice for students in their respective majors/disciplines. Here is what they had to say:

Alyssa Froman, History:
“I have found in history courses that you have to be open to change. That is, if you set out researching one topic, and halfway through realize that it’s irrelevant or less exciting than a new lead, go ahead and follow your gut. If you’re passionate about what you’re writing, it will always be better than something forced. Another tip is to print out your paper and edit it by hand — we stare at computer screens for hours upon hours and it drains our eyes. Mixing it up by reading a real piece of paper can help you zero in on sections that you would otherwise gloss over.”

Alyssa Rollins, Public Health:
“My biggest piece of advice for undergraduate writers is to not be afraid to make edits. Even the most experienced authors can’t write something perfectly on their first try! Appreciate when your professor or a friend hands back to you a draft covered in red ink; it shows that your writing has potential and they care enough to help you take it to the next level.”

B. Lauren Stoneburner, Religion:
“Writing never gets easier but you get better the more work is put into it. It gives back to you in ways that you don’t expect. Work to write out of who you are and uncover your own voice. And the work is always worth it.”

Breanna Hagerman, Sociology:
“The advice that I would give to undergraduate writers in sociology would be to always meet with their professor before the paper is due, even if all they have is an outline. Clarifying details and getting a better idea of what is expected makes the paper easier to start and to write in the long run! Also, I find it more successful to just pick a spot in a coffee shop for a couple of hours and write as much as I can without focusing on the details. Instead of spending all of my time on one paragraph, I’ll add comments in places I want to use quotes or highlight sentences that I want to go back to. Always continue writing, you know what you’re doing and you’ll get there! It is a process.”

Brian Dougherty, BioResource Research:
“Don’t procrastinate on starting your thesis. It may require several rounds of editing and revising before you submit it. A draft of the introduction and literature review can be completed before or during data collection. Starting early reduces the stress involved with meeting your deadlines.”

Joshua Zheng, Psychology:
“The end goal of any piece of writing is to communicate something as clearly and as simply as possible. Thus, when you edit your work, never be afraid to rip apart everything you’ve written and write it all again. Don’t be afraid to throw away an entire paragraph if you can convey the same meaning in a single sentence. It’s like cutting a diamond: the process is rough and vicious but the end result is beautiful and refined.”

Mudra Choudhury, BioResource Research:
“Make sure your scientific writing is clear and concise, and that you accurately describe the broader impacts of your project. When conducting research, document all of your progress regularly. This helps avoid having to recall details when writing the scientific paper later on.”

Samuel Kowash, Mathematics and Physics:
“You can start writing sooner than you expect. Even if you don’t have results or fully understand the theory yet, you always have some idea of what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it. Write this down the way you would explain it to a classmate or professor, then update and revise it as your project evolves. This keeps old knowledge from fading, solidifies new knowledge, and saves you time later on.”


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.