Who writes for this blog?

Members of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at Stony Brook University.

What issues and types of writing are included?

Anything about teaching writing will do, including any issues that are relevant to the profession. The entries can contain:

  • teaching tips/methods,
  • current issues/debates,
  • thoughts about teaching writing or writing practices in other disciplines and professions,
  • reflections about research and scholarship,
  • discussions about teaching with technology,
  • theoretical discourse about  writing and rhetoric, etc, etc, etc. 

How long should entries be?

They should be within the range of 300 to 2000 words, unless the topic justifies otherwise.

How can I contribute a post for this blog?

Please send your ideas and pieces to Joseph Labriola, who facilitates the publication of this blog, by email.

Are there any “genre features” of blogging that I should keep in mind?

Depending on what you are writing about and how you want to write an entry, the following notes may be worth considering.

Blogs are more of a mode of conversation–especially a form of “social action”–than a genre of writing. But there are certain features that tend to characterize the nature of writing on blogging platforms.

  • Bloggers tend to share their thoughts while still exploring them–in contrast to conventional academic writers who publish more fully developed ideas.
  • An informal, even casual, tone best suits blogging. Blogs are successful when they generate rich follow-up conversations in the comments section.
  • Blogs are typically maintained by individuals who share their expertise/perspectives, using their own idiosyncratic styles. But even in collaborative blogs (like this one), contributors write in unique voices of their own (i.e., no need for a standard style!). 
  • Due to the quick turn around and lack of review processes, readers understand/ tolerate when blog entries are less than polished (both in content and writing).
  • Short paragraphs and plenty of space make reading on the screen easier. Varying paragraph length is a good idea when writing about more complex issues.  
  • Due to decreased quality and span of attention on the screen, readers prefer paragraphs where key points are foregrounded as well as stated explicitly (especially in the beginning of entries). 
  • Jargon, long sentences, and abstractions are also minimized. Although blogs have become a “social” phenomenon, they have the provenance and ethos of personal “logs” or journals.
  • Online sources are hyperlinked (bloggers also “trackback” by commenting from their own blogs in order to connect conversations). As with other types of writing, sufficient detail is provided about key external sources so that readers don’t have to leave the site. Citations of offline sources are minimized. 
  • Subheadings are used in longer entries, and bullet points are used for drawing attention to important details.
  • Images are captioned using key details; they are also linked to their sources and/or credited within their captions.
  • Bold and italic fonts are used for highlighting key points.

Who will read what I write?

Members of the PWR can be envisioned as a primary audience – to the extent that we share the blog on social networks, writing professionals beyond SBU may find our ideas worth reading and responding to. Comments on the entries will be moderated for preventing spam and maintaining decorum.

How can I help promote the blog/conversation?

Please feel free to share the blog or specific entries on your social/professional networks (Facebook, Twitter, any listserv, etc). Please also leave comments on any posts that you find interesting. Even simply “liking” posts will be encouraging to writers. Share and like links are placed at the end of each entry.

Finally, PWR colleagues, please consider contributing an entry for future weeks.

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