Copyright Kelli McBride 2003-2009

Graphics designed by Kelli McBride and are for her exclusive use.

All documents on this site written by Ms. McBride are copyright protected.  Please email her for rights to use.

A Writer’s Inventory

Socrates, the teacher in Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” said, “Know thyself.” He believed this was crucial to living an enlightened life. To become a better writer, we must take a look at what we know and do as a writer.  We must build on our strengths and eliminate our weaknesses. We must recognize that good writers do not fit one template, for individuals differ greatly in their methods of approaching writing. Though we can simplify good writing into a system, these rules only provide general patterns of success: methods that work for most writers in most situations.  Writers learn to experiment and concoct their own method for producing quality work that meets the needs of an assignment. You must learn to take inventory of yourself as a writer, and thus be able to respond to different writing assignments in ways that will not only streamline your time but will also produce better finished writings.  That is one of the big “secrets” of good writing: know yourself as a writer.  The following questions will help you begin that journey of writing awareness.  Answer honestly, even if the answer is unflattering. Be ready to share your responses in class discussion (type or use blue/black ink).

1.      A definition tries to present distinguishing characteristics of something.  How would you define yourself as a writer?


2.      What are your strengths?


3.      What are your weaknesses?


4.      When you write, what are the first things you do?


5.      How do you solve problems when you write?


6.      What is the most important thing that writers do in an essay?


7.      Concerning the following list (adapted from Clouse’s Working it Out), which are true and which are false beliefs about writing?

a.       Writers are born, not made.

b.      “Good” writers rarely struggle.

c.       Writers should wait for inspiration.

d.      “Good” writers get it right the first time.

e.       “Good” writers write fast.

f.        Introductions should be written first.

g.       The best conclusions summarize the main points.

h.       The longer the words, the better they are.

i.         The longer the writing, the better it is.

j.        Revising involves reading over a draft and fixing spelling and punctuation.


8.      What does it mean to identify the purpose of your writing?


9.      Is writing ever an enjoyable experience? Why or why not?