Feeling pretty cold this week? I know I am. It's only the second week of school, and I'm already dreading classes--not because of the coursework, but because of the time spent outdoors to get to said classes! The temperature has been pretty close to zero this week, and, consequently, so has my tolerance for these drastic weather changes. Living in Morgantown, though, this weather is just something we have to accept. There's nothing we can do about it. The cold is going to come--we just have to be prepared to face it!
Similar to this cold weather, writing assignments are also inevitable with the start of a new semester, and, again like this cold weather, we just have to deal with it.
Like all skills, writing requires practice. After a month off from school, during which there was no required writing, we might experience a little bit of stiffness when starting to write again. The reason is simple: our writing muscles are cold! In order to get back to the proficiency we had prior to Christmas break, some warm up exercises are drastically needed.
One warm up we can do to loosen up our writing muscles is to choose an event from Christmas break and write about it. For example, I might want to write a brief, reflective piece about my New Years. I could start by writing about the delicious steaks I cooked for dinner, and then I could write about how my boyfriend and I watched The Tigger Movie until 11:30 and then drank some champagne as we watched the ball drop in Times Square from the comfort and warmth of his apartment. Then, I could write about the next day and how ridiculously delicious my parents' wedding soup is. I could also write about how I almost had enough tickets to purchase a toaster at Dave & Buster's later that evening. Anyway, just writing about an event is a good exercise that will definitely warm up our writing muscles and bring us a step closer to composing some good academic writing during the next couple weeks.
Another warm up we can do is brainstorm. If you have a writing assignment already and you aren't quite sure where to start, brainstorming is always a great starting point. All you need to do is take a blank sheet of paper and write down your subject in the middle. To make it stand out a bit, try to write your subject a little bigger than you normally write or simply draw a circle around it. Let's pretend your subject is gun control. JUST KIDDING! Let's pretend your subject is puppies! Next, write down everything you know about puppies: cute; cuddly; fluffy; adorable; small; playful; biters; lickers; snugglers; squeaky; loving; lovable; man's best friend; etc. Okay, I know you probably won't be writing any papers on puppies, but anything to get the juices moving in both your hand and in your brain is helpful and effective!
This last warm up suggestion doesn't involve physical writing at all, but mental writing. If you have a writing assignment and you haven't had the time to sit down and physically write or type anything out, just taking the time to think critically about your subject before writing anything is very helpful. If you don't put any thought into it before you sit down to write, you aren't going to get very far. So, when you're walking to and from class in this crazy weather, try to keep your mind off the cold by deeply focusing on your writing topic. If any good ideas come to mind, make sure to jot them down on a piece of paper or in your phone!
That's all I got. Stay warm, everybody, and don't forget to do some writing warm ups before your first writing assignment is due!