A Writer’s Three-Week Trajectory
material adapted from Dr. Gregory Fraser’s handout,
“Three-Week, Twelve-Step Writing Trajectory”
Because writing is an “unruly” process, I urge you to set up a schedule using this trajectory that will help you navigate this process and give you plenty of time to reach your full potential on each assignment.
Ä Know the assignment: its guidelines, expectations for length, form, etc.
Ä Ask questions concerning the text or the assignment!
Ä Is this question or query well sized for the length of the assignment?
Ä Does this question truly interest me, and will it continue to interest me over the next few weeks?
Ä Will this question drive me to deeper levels of critical inquiry? Consider the strategy of moving from more “obvious” to more complex responses to your driving question
Ä The text might lead you to new insights in your analytical inquiry
Ä Keep the all-important “questioning mentality” alive—be open to new directions
Ä Brainstorm responses on paper
Ä Research, when necessary and appropriate to the assignment (key idea: your research should complement, not control, your thinking)
Ä Respond to your driving question in the form of a thesis statement (key idea: remember, the thesis idea may take more than one sentence to establish, keeping length requirements in mind)—refer to the thesis links on the syllabus for guidance.
Ä You might do this in multiple stages, composing an outline first, or body paragraphs before you write the introduction … whatever works for you. Consider writing a paragraph a day. Putting the essay aside allows for additional contemplation on the topic and thesis.
Ä Continue to ask questions as you write
Ä Commentary from your instructor or the Writing Center
Ä In-class peer review
Ä Revise your writing based on the feedback you’ve received
Ä Revisit those areas that could be more persuasive
Ä Keep pushing yourself to raise local-level questions that might stimulate new ideas
Ä Finally, polish the essay: revise for style, clarity, and mechanics