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Stuck for a Start?

If the standard textbook advice doesn't work for you, let the OWL (Online Writing Laboratory) at Purdue University give you some wise words.

The following links are from The Writer's Web, which is maintained by the University of Richmond.

Let the following fill-in form on "Where to Start a Paper" help stretch your thinking.

Try these approaches:

Bludgeoned by "Writer's Block"?

Check out these tips for getting past writer's block

Consider common-sense suggestions from the UNC Writing Center for "Coping with Writing Anxiety."

Get ideas about "Freewriting: A Way Around Writer's Block."

Threatened by a Thesis?

What exactly is a thesis? How do you write one? The following site presents a lucid explanation of what a thesis is and what it isn't.

Learn about "mapping" with a thesis. Then follow the development of a thesis with an illustration. A printout gives you a useful form for your own paper.

Content in Confusion?

Check this user-friendly site for a splendid website about outlining.

For brief, clear information about "Organizing a Multiple-Subject Paper," check this site.

Questions About Paragraphing?

For finer tuning of content, check these sites:

At a Loss for Words?

Profit by suggestions for "Building a Better Vocabulary." Then test yourself on the accompanying quizzes.

Subscribe to Wordsmith at wsmith@wordsmith.org and receive a word in the mail every day.

Or subscribe to any of the other sites listed in "Building a Better Vocabulary." They'll also send mail faithfully, even if it's only a word to enrich your vocabulary.

Grammar Gotcha? 

There is no magic solution to grammar problems, but there is plenty of good help. If you know you make better progress with personal one-on-one instruction, come for grammar work with a tutor in the Writing Center.

If you like to work by yourself, call up the quizzes in this section:

  • Structural flaws (#67-79)
  • Punctuation and basic mechanics (#80-99)
  • Stylistic considerations (#109-122)
  • Notorious confusables (#123-130)

Check essential points of grammar and style in the most famous grammar book of the century: Strunk and White's "little book"-The Elements of Style.

Searching for a good summary of grammar issues?

Polishing Makes Perfect

Here are excellent "Proofreading Strategies" from Colorado State University to ease the proofreading pain.

Let advice from Harvard inspire you to go beyond running spell-check as the final effort in perfecting your paper.

Help cultivate your individual writing voice with ideas about "Putting Voice into a Paper."

Don't put your head in the sand. Read this: "Some Warning Signs of a Rushed Paper."

Ragged Over Research?

Check this site on "Strategies for Research Paper Writing" from Cornell University.

Avoid accidental plagiarism or misuse of sources by reviewing this "Avoiding Plagiarism" guide from Northwestern University.

Writing Online?

For everyone who sits down at the keyboard to write, here's common-sense advice worth hearing. The page includes "netiquette" cautions like avoiding "flames" and "spam."