Keeping a Writer’s Daybook, Pamela Mitzelfeld, English 380, September 1, 2011

By on September 1, 2011

ENGLISH 380
ADVANCED WRITING
MITZELFELD

Keeping a Writer’s Daybook

The idea for a writer’s “Daybook” came from a book called Write to Learn by Donald M. Murray. Murray’s idea is that a Daybook should be an ongoing volume that essentially functions as a place for a writer to try out ideas and record impressions and observations. Your Daybook will take things a bit further by including vocabulary and reflections on passages from our readings.

The following points will help you begin the process:

  • The Daybook should be in the form of a small notebook (9×6).
  • The Daybook should NOT be used for class notes.
  • The Daybook entries must be dated-each beginning on a new page.
  • The Daybook should contain (but is not limited to) the following:
    • New vocabulary defined and used in a sentence (these can be taken from class readings or everyday life)
    • Passages of interest from each reading assignment, with an explanation
    • Responses to all EE and King readings
    • Freewriting/brainstorming for essay assignments
    • Daybook assignments and in-class writing prompts
    • Observation logs: People, places, etc.
    • Creative entries of your own
  • Daybook entries are not graded on spelling and punctuation; be the creator, not the critic!
  • Penmanship counts! If I cannot read it, I cannot grade it!

Please keep in mind that the Daybook will be randomly reviewed three times during the semester so that I may assess your progress and effort. Thus, you must have it with you at every class session. Thoughtful entries and responses, as well as evidence that you are using it as the tool it is intended to be, will result in a favorable assessment.

Finally, try to relax and allow this to work for you. It might just become a permanent part of your writing life.

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