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OASIS Writing Skills

Writing a Paper:
Why Set a Writing Goal

This guide includes instructional pages on the writing process.

Why Set a Writing Goal

Before jumping into to setting a writing goal, consider why setting a clear writing goal is important. Establishing goals is a common practice within professional and educational communities; however, setting writing-specific goals can have their own unique benefits.

Writing goals help you to:

  • articulate connections between current writing projects and broader professional skills.
    When writing a paper, it is hard to see the impact of that project beyond its immediate grade or completion. By setting clear writing goals, you can identify what core competencies you would like to possess and start to make progress toward developing those skills as a writer, scholar, and professional.
  • overcome reservations and build confidence about your writing abilities.
    Perhaps you have received writing feedback in the past and are doubting your abilities. Writing goals can help you face those concerns head on and discover newfound confidence as you conquer those writing anxieties one by one. In other words, setting strong writing goals encourages you to imagine what type of writer you want to be and what skills are needed to make that identity a reality.
  • establish a manageable path to success.
    Writing goals are more than objectives you hope to achieve; they are a road map to your writing success. Writing goals break down the abstract process of becoming a stronger writer into smaller, more tangible steps. You identify specific skills you want to enhance and then map out projects and resources to help you along the way. However, you don’t have to work toward these goals alone. Make a paper review appointment with our writing instructors to receive individualized feedback on your goal progress. Students who made three or more writing appointments per term showed statistically significant gains in grades, persistence, and retention (Irvin, 2014) as well as motivation (Robinson, as cited in Irvin, 2014). Set up a paper review appointment today! Set up a paper review appointment today.
  • develop motivation and reinforce focus.
    Writing is a process that takes practice and patience. It is easy to lose focus as you get deeper into a writing project or course work. For many, writing goals become sources of inspiration. They offer motivation to get started and keep writing as well as reinforce your purpose when your energy is low or you start to veer off track. They serve as little reminders of why your writing project matters and how it positively impacts your future.
  • build self-efficacy as a scholarly writer and professional.
    Part of becoming a stronger writer is the ability to assess your own writing. It can be difficult to step away from the research of your current project and consider how your presentation of information impacts readers. However, when you set clear writing goals and track your progress, you cultivate an awareness of how to evaluate your writing. This self-efficacy will prove invaluable as you progress to larger, more independent projects, including your program’s capstone.
  • create opportunities to celebrate success.
    Often overlooked in the writing process is the importance of celebrating your progress and success. Rarely in writing do we experience an overnight transformation of our skills as writers. Writing more often is characterized as a process filled with small victories and progressions. Setting a writing goal creates the means for tracking these accomplishments. So why not establish a writing goal? You deserve to celebrate your success!

Irwin, L. L. (2014). What a difference three tutoring sessions make: Early reports of efficacy from a young writing center. Writing Lab Newsletter, 39(1–2), 1–5.

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