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In this writing section, you’ll learn how to use a project calculator to break your writing assignment into manageable steps, design a spider map, brush up your grammar, and more. 

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Tips from Our Learning Specialists

  • To brainstorm: talk to a friend or record your thoughts on, walk and imagine topics, draw out concepts, or create an alphanumeric outline before embarking on the writing project itself.
  • While reading and conducting research, keep a running list of clearly labeled quotations and citations you might want to use in your paper.
  • Be confident about the instructions for the essay before you write. Are there any questions you need to ask about the prompt?


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Additional Resources at Stanford


  • Flower, L., & Hayes, J. R. (1981). A cognitive process theory of writing. College Composition and Communication, 32(4), 365-387. Read the article here.
    • We must emphasize the writing process over the writing product. Writing is a three-stage process of planning, generating, and revising. Additionally, this process is fluid; experienced writers go through all these stages at all times. Experienced writers monitor their texts continuously while novice writers overemphasize the superficial features of their writing and would benefit from focusing on the more global/macro level aspects of writing.
  • Kellogg, R. T., & Whiteford, A. P. (2009). Training advanced writing skills: The case for deliberate practice. Educational Psychologist, 44(4), 250-266. Read the article here.
    • Writing is less an innate skill and writers gain expertise through learning and growing from experience. Therefore, writing proficiency is strongly associated with the deliberate practice of writing. Timely feedback is also crucial to develop as a writer and delayed feedback impedes growth. Slow grading is often caused by the burdensome nature of grading long texts. Thus, if faculty do not give timely feedback on writing samples, then utilize the various student resources available, such as setting up an appointment with a writing tutor to go over your work.
  • Stewart, G., Seifert, T. A., & Rolheiser, C. (2015). Anxiety and self-efficacy's relationship with undergraduate students' perceptions of the use of metacognitive writing strategies. Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 6(1), 4. Read the article here.
    • Writing is not only influenced by skill but is also influenced by anxiety and self-beliefs about one’s writing. This research showed that, among undergraduate students, using metacognitive writing strategies reduced writing anxiety and increased self-efficacy. This research suggests that interventions that target the emotional processes underlying writing can improve student writing outcomes.