• Explore what choices you made in describing your identity in terms of your name.
  • What aspects of your name suit you best? Which ones don't?
  • Write about the qualities in yourself that other people most obviously see and about the qualities you would like them to see.


  • Think about writing an email and writing an essay for school.
  • Describe some qualities, in relation to how you described yourself earlier, that would be apparent in these two forms of writing. Which are similar and which are different?

Discuss freewriting(p.13)

  • How does the form of your writing define the conventions you use?
  • Can you think of specific genres of writing that would involve more of certain writing qualities than another might?
  • Volunteers please!

Keeping a personal journal and developing your voice

Think for a moment about the kind of writing you do or might do strictly for your own benefit. Not everyone writes regularly in a diary or consistently journals their thoughts, but we all make notes for ourselves, even if they are mental. Journaling can be a good way to improve your writing, academically and otherwise. Consider keeping a notebook or notepad this semester to write down thoughts that relate to your assignments. You will not be graded on this, but I may ask you periodically throughout the semester to share something you may have written in a journal that has contributed to your writing or pre-writing process.

Style and preferences

Writing is highly individualized. While the things you write may have conventions and guidelines, your methods for getting to a (semi-)finished piece of work will necessarily be different. Let's go over some common practices of pre-writing and brainstorm about your own preferences for focusing and finding a comfortable environment for writing.


Let me know if anything is not clear to you in the syllabus, or voice any other concern you might have.


  • Find a social issue that you feel is important to you, whether in the newspaper (the New York Times is available at our library!) or in an article on the web or other source. Be prepared to write about and discuss it on Thursday.
  • Read chapter 2 in the Islander's Guide to Writing.