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Metawriting for better writing

Updated on August 23, 2017

Learn how to be a better writer

Metawriting, a.k.a. metadiscourse, is writing about writing. Of course the real challenge of metawriting is the fact that in order to write about writing you must also think about writing.

The purpose of metawriting is to help the writer more fully understand what happens when writing so as to better manage future writing tasks and understand the writer's individual strengths and weaknesses.

Many struggling writers think the only way they can improve is for someone else to help them become a better writer, but in truth a good writing teacher is more of a coach or guide and knows when to get out of the writer's way. The path to better writing begins with metawriting. Even if you have the best writing teacher in the world there will come a day when you need to leave that teacher behind and write on your own. That is why good writing teachers prepare you for that day by helping you become a self-regulated writer. Key to this process is metawriting -- your intensive, thoughtful study of your own writing.


What was your writing task? What particularly challenged you about this task?

When you look back, how do you feel about your writing progress? Pleased, satisfied, disappointed?

How have you improved? Think of specifics, especially anything that makes you proud.

Do you do anything differently now when you write than you did before?

What are your goals for your writing?

What will you do differently the next time you write?

Look at some of your most recent writing projects. What are your str

Why metawrite?

Good writing doesn't just happen and good writers aren't born that way.

Good writers become so only after a lot of hard work and a lot of hard thinking about writing.

If you want to be a good writer, or at least a better writer, then you must write -- frequently -- but that alone will not help you improve unless you study the writing of others and make comparisons between the writing of good writers and your own work.

The only way to improve your writing is to fully understand your writing.

Do you think metawriting is useful?

Do you think metawriting is useful?

Questions or tips related to metawriting?

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    • julescorriere profile image

      Jules Corriere 6 years ago from Jonesborough TN

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      Ayngel Overson 6 years ago from Crestone, Co

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Meta-writing gives third dimension to writing. In some way I do practice it partly.

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      I hadn't heard of metawriting, but it makes prefect sense.

      Thank you for putting this together. Writing does take thought.

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      kellywissink lm 8 years ago

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      jipock 8 years ago

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      tdove 9 years ago

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      anonymous 9 years ago

      I have never heard the exact term "metawriting" before, however I understand what the concept is because I do this myself. From previous instructors I have had in the past, they have enforced the idea of me looking at my writing and evaluating it. I feel that this has made me grow as a writer and that I don't make as many little mistakes (grammar, spelling, paragraph structure, etc.) as I used to prior to being exposed to this concept.