Let’s Write

Please write continuously for the entire 10 minutes

Nov. 12

“What is the compelling problem, question, puzzle, contradiction or ambiguity” are you exploring in your project? Who (what type of person or reader) would be compelled by an exploration of it? How can you make it compelling to your audience?

Nov. 7

What’s interesting about what you learned through your “creative reading” efforts? What new questions came up? Who else should be interested in this? Why?

Oct. 24

Describe and explain the four strategies Graff and Birkenstein say writers use to connect separate parts of writing to one another. To what degree have you used consciously these strategies in your own writing? Which are new to you?

Oct. 22

What are the two most interesting paragraphs of your paper? What could you do in two specific other paragraphs to make them more interesting for readers?

Oct. 19

What question did you arrive at in the last paragraph of your draft? For what reasons do you find it interesting?  What kinds of people do you think will find it interesting? For what reasons should they find it interesting?

Oct. 17

Find and describe two passages in your reading that caught your attention by being or doing one or more of the following: surprising, confusing, making an unexpected connection, presenting a provocative example, using a term in a new or unusual way, or posing an idea or argument that’s difficult for you to accept?


Oct. 15

What “rules of thumb” about thesis statements have you brought with you to college? Where did they come from? Why do you think teachers or mentors earlier in your reading and writing development taught you to look for theses in reading and to start with them in writing? How is what Miller and Jurecic advise different? How do you feel about their advice?


Oct. 10

What does your question map reveal about Abumrad and Krulwich’s methods for asking and pursuing answers to questions? What have you learned about open-ended inquiry from the question-mapping activity that you can use in your own college reading and writing, including beyond this writing class?

Oct. 8 (7 minutes this time)

Write in response to this prompt from Habits of the Creative Mind: “Charles Darwin explains that species evolve through struggle and competition. If the fittest survive this struggle, how can we explain kindness, generosity, and altruism?”


Oct. 1

Why is paying attention important? Think about a time when it was difficult to give your full attention to something; what made it challenging to pay attention in that moment?


Sept. 24

What do you think of your paper? What’s been different about the way you went about writing this paper? What have you learned about college reading and writing that you can use in another class – either this semester or in the future?


Sept. 19

What did you do to improve your paper between Monday and now? What do you think of your paper so far? What else do you think you could do to improve it?


Sept. 17

Think back to the ways you wrote papers in high school and compare them to how you wrote this paper. What was similar or the same? Considering all the activities you’ve completed since Aug. 29, what was different about the way you went about things this time?


Sept. 14

Choose one:

  • Paragraphs 48-53: Describe some of the most interesting (to you) ways Polyface Farm raises and slaughters animals and think about the implications of those practices for Singer’s insistence that the animals we eat are due our moral consideration and his conclusion that, because they suffer, we should not kill and eat them.

  • In paragraphs 66-69, Michael Pollan sends an email to Peter Singer, asking him what he thinks about farms like Polyface. What do you think of Singer’s reply? Do you see any habits of the creative mind at work in their exchange?


Sept. 12

Describe your own initial attitudes about and reaction to animal rights activist and philosopher Peter Singer’s suggestion that eating meat is “a form of discrimination as indefensible as racism or anti-Semitism” and indicate what ideas, beliefs, values or facts underlie your initial reaction.

Describe Pollan’s initial attitudes about and reaction to the same suggestion: How does he react to the new idea? What does he do to stretch his mind around the new ideas or information?

Compare Pollan’s reaction to your own. What’s similar about the two reactions? Different?