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Remote Discoveries: A Synthesis of Advice for Writing at Home


As we all continue to adjust to the “new normal” new difficulties emerge in different facets of our lives. One of the academic challenges I have been struggling with is maintaining my writing output for classes and my thesis.

Although merely a small wave in a sea of much greater challenges many face, writing is, I am sure, a struggle under the present circumstances; however, we still are pressed to do so.

By no means am I suggesting self-help tips that could bear the title “Follow these five steps to make your quarantine a productive one,” or any other nonsense that glosses over the structural failings and inequalities that led to this crisis. Rather, I put these suggestions together with hopes that writing may help some of us cope with the frustration, sadness, and anger that accompanies these times.


Considering that many of us have different comfort zones, I wanted to provide a couple methods, as writing is certainly not a one-size-fits-all affair.

Deborah J. Cohan offers some guiding points to maintain writing output while dealing with numerous responsibilities. Although this piece is geared more towards faculty who must balance numerous pressures, this also applies to students who have multiple responsibilities.

Nue Lee espouses a daily writing schedule, embracing the repetition of a strong structure as a means to reliably get words onto the page. On tip I found particularly helpful was, “Write fast now, edit slow later”. This type helps me avoid getting bogged down in specifics, holding off on deep reading until editing.

Finally, Christine Tully provides alternative suggestions for those who prefer to do all of their writing on a single day of the week. Her suggestions focus around properly planning that single day of writing, in order to not procrastinate or become overwhelmed at the prospect of writing for hours on end.

Most importantly–and this is my own personal thought about writing currently–write for a reason. Whether this be to cope with the situation, working towards your own betterment, or to make our own small contribution to solutions in the future.

Nate GosweilerNate Gosweiler is a graduate assistant for Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication department. He is currently distraught over Bernie Sanders dropping out of the democratic primary.



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Last Modified: April 9, 2020

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