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Writing and Thinking 

Writing is a way of thinking about the world around us. As we experience the events in our lives we rarely respond to them in a formal way.  Writing about events requires you to think carefully about your experiences and to organize and express your thoughts in a way that others can understand and find value in. As you write, it is important to consider why you are writing (your purpose) and who might be interested in reading your writing (your audience).

Today, as we have come to rely more and more on computers, we are finding new demands on our writing.  The Internet has created a whole new era of written communication. Millions of people exchange messages on-line every day. The personal letter has been electronically resurrected in the form of e-mail. Business people, academics, scientists, fans and enthusiasts of every stripe use the internet to send and receive information. And the ability to write clearly is essential for academic success. Beyond the essays required for college courses, the ability to write clearly is recognized as an essential workplace skill.  

Writing with a Purpose  

Here are some of the main purposes for writing:

  • to express ourselves or our ideas to others.  Diaries, journals, personal letters and e-mails are examples of this type of writing.

  • to entertain others by telling stories or by describing things.

  • to explain or inform.  Writing that explains or informs is generally called expository writing.  Much of the academic writing required for college courses is a form of expository writing which uses methods of development such as process (how to), compare and contrast, classification, division, cause and effect, definition, and illustration or example.

  • to persuade.  Persuasive or argumentative writing is an attempt to convince your readers to accept or reject an opinion and/or to take action.

Before you begin writing consider your purpose and your audience.  Would anyone other than your instructor be interested in reading your paragraph or essay? Why? Does your writing entertain, inform, or persuade?  If you begin your writing with a clear sense of purpose, you will find it easier to stay on track and complete your writing assignments.

Approach developing your writing skills as you would developing any other skills.  If you work regularly with a sense of purpose, you will experience steady improvement. 

Writing well involves many skills, so don't expect everything to happen at once.  You wouldn't expect to be in great shape after three visits to the gym.  You would probably have to work out for several weeks or months before you noticed much difference.  Similarly with writing, your improvement will be gradual, but at a certain point you will recognize that you have improved.



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This page was last updated September 14, 2005

This is a personal web page. The information contained herein does not necessarily reflect the views of Camosun College or its employees. This page is not maintained as part of the Camosun website.