About Composition

The Art of Arranging Words

Composition and the Complexities of Writing

Writing can feel like a daunting task, especially preparing a research paper for an academic course.  This website is designed to provide tools to help students prepare papers for a variety of academic disciplines.  Although the focus will be on English Composition courses here at Heartland Community College (English 101 and 102), it's my hope that these resources will be applicable for almost any course that focuses on writing and research.

In my experience, the four major steps in preparing an effective research paper involve Research, Organization, and Drafting, and Revision.  Unfortunately, the pressures of classroom expectations lead many students to compress these steps together, often attempting to hunt down sources and fit quotes into a document that will be submitted to the teacher within a day or two.

Ironically, this can lead to some very thoughtful writing — writing very quickly leads us to compose words in a more natural manner.  This helps perpetuate the myth that "I only write well during an all-nighter."  Often, we call this kind of writing "bullshitting," and students who are good at bullshitting may receive excellent grades on papers that are poorly researched.  Conversely, students who do thorough research may end up over-thinking a paper - their writing may feel stiff or forced, and their grades may be reduced because the quality of their research isn't fully perceived.