This semester I’m serving as a co-instructor for a course on climate change at Tulane University. My role is to expose students to ways of using text to advance personal and social objectives, of harnessing narratives to confront truth, and of using writing as an agent of cultural transformation.
It’s easy for any writer, new or experienced, to become overwhelmed by the intricacies of such a complex topic, so I developed this worksheet to help the students write strong, persuasive short essays.
Before you begin to write, you should be able to say the following out loud:
I’m writing [ form ] for [ readers ] about [ topic ]. I believe [ thesis ] about this because [ examples ]. This matters because [ reason ]. So, [ conclusion ].
Use this checklist to fill in the blanks:
- Personal essay
- Creative nonfiction
- Lay readers
- Political leaders
- The opposition
The topic (in a few words)
My thesis (in one or two sentences)
Three examples that support my thesis
Reasoning; why this matters
There has to be a way to apply a similar form to business emails. Just this morning I received three emails where I had to reply with “what are you asking for.”
As I like to say, “Writing is thinking, and thinking is hard.”
Was it Sartre who said “hell is thinking for other people?”