By Rachel Popa
As Robert Graves once said, “There is no good writing, only good rewriting.”
That quote is one of many printed on the walls of Roosevelt University’s Writing Center, where about 15 students gathered on Feb. 17 to learn how to make their papers flow better.
“The writing process is longer than what people think,” said Talea Hughes, a junior english major and tutor at the Writing Center. “Being open to positive input and change helps.”
Hughes also said that students can benefit from learning writing skills and techniques such as using transitional sentences and organizing paragraphs logically. One concept that the workshop was based around was “flow,” or how smoothly a paper can be read by an audience.
“Flow is the logical procession of ideas that sounds appealing when you say it out loud,” Hughes said, explaining to the students what flow is. “You don’t want to go from zero to 100; you want a person to be able to follow what you’re saying.”
Hughes said that while flow can be hard to achieve in a paper, many students already understand what it is just by reading other written works.
“All writing benefits from flow,” Hughes said. “It’s really good to be able to transcribe that into text.”
The workshop also entailed students breaking into groups and arranging paragraphs based on how individual sentences flow with each other.
“Sometimes the connection isn’t always going to be obvious,” Hughes said. “The way you can circumvent that is to use transitional sentences.”
Hughes said that students can make ideas connect in any kind of writing, as long as they use sentences that tie ideas together within a paragraph.
Additionally, the Writing Center has guidelines for students on how to create flow in the form of questions that the student can ask themselves when they are revising, including whether or not the paper is organized in a logical manner, or if it has proper transitional and concluding sentences.
Also discussed were “common themes” within a paper, such as a certain topic that the paper focuses on.
“If you’re looking through your paper and you see that there’s a common theme, then you know your paper is on track,” Hughes said.
One of the students in attendance, senior biology major Sahand Tsay, said that he liked how interactive the workshop was.
“If I wasn’t working in a group, I would have just sat there. It helped me participate,” Tsay said.
The Writing Center is offering additional workshops in March and April on flow and other techniques for students looking to improve their writing.