Writing the True Self


Write Attitudes

Recently, the National Council of Teachers of English defined writing as "habits of mind." I revised and condensed them into the "Write Attitudes," connected to my textbook, Writing the True Self. Think about your own theory of writing and whether it is working for you. Could applying some of these ideas in your process help you to access new ways of thinking, seeing, or being?

Consider that for authors, writing is all about attitudes: curious engagement, willing openness, flexible creativity, persistent effort, and caring responsibility. But a reader expects a "design thinking" approach: empathize with the user, define a point of view, ideate diverse solutions, prototype a physical form, test prototype and refine perspective. For a subject-focused strategy, John Swales suggests we establish a topic's importance, indicate a gap in the research, propose a study to fill the gap, write an appropriate piece, and submit for review. All are equally valid approaches to the goal of greater understanding.

Curious Engagement

Discover new themes, explore relevant topics, and empathize with others

Willing Openness

Consider changing your position on a field of inquiry or perspective

Flexible Creativity

Adapt to new situations, brainstorm/ freewrite ideas, and make solutions

Persistent Effort

Work hard on an essay, turn in good papers, and offer to respond to others

Caring Responsibility

Account for choices in your writing, ask the big questions, and share freely

Habits of Mind

Check out the NCTE's discussion of what good writers know and do