October Writing Tips

Since I have had a handful of students recently request assistance with improving their writing skills I decided to focus on Writing Tips for this month’s Coaching Topic.

In this day and age it is often easy to sneak by with basic writing skills. In fact for most of us our writing only improves when we find ourselves struggling to perform well in school, or when an instructor or employer recognizes that our writing skills are not where they could be and then we tend to do something about it. There is no better time than in school to polish and fine tune one’s writing skills.

For those of you that are in online courses, I came across a great website that talks about how to write A+ discussion posts:


Here are 3 quick tips on writing a paper, assignment, or discussion post:

1.  BRAINSTORM, BRAINSTORM, BRAINSTORM – I know it may seem like extra time prior to getting started, but that time will be well spent.  Think about the main topic of your paper and everything you want to tell your audience (instructor) about that topic.  Be sure to write down all ideas that come to you.

2.  ORGANIZE.  You have your ideas and your focus, let’s make sure we don’t simply have a bunch of random ideas.  In order to make sure you are communicating everything important about the topic that you want to discuss make a checklist of those important supporting topics.  Make sure they are included in the paper, then add those details and additional ideas as they fit in, but be careful to make sure they support the main topic and do not take the reader off on a tangent.  This is where you outline or diagram, whatever technique works best for you.

3.  CLARIFY.  Make sure your point is understood.  Have someone else read your assignment, paper, or post prior to submitting them.  Does it makes sense to them?  Does it make sense to you?  Pretend you have never heard about the subject you are writing on and look at it objectively.

Go for it!  Start sooner than later.



Doodling in Class: Beneficial or Not?

Do you doodle?  You know, making shapes, lines, pictures, words, etc. in your notebook or on a scrap piece of paper.  While most of us think it might be a bad habit or something we do because we are bored, a new study has found that doodling can actually increase information retention and be a positive activity.


By no means will I encourage you to doodle in class because I will have a handful of angry instructors knocking on my office door, but I would suggest trying it while doing a listening activity of less importance.  Perhaps if you have a phone conversation with a relative or friend doodle while you are on the phone with them and afterward see how well you can recall dates, times, or specific details about the conversation.  If it seems to work for you, perhaps try it with slightly more important activities 🙂