Exercise #1 – The No-Risk Argumentative Paper

The exercise: Write an argumentative paper to seriously argue something low-stakes and silly.

The purpose: To become more confident with writing in general and arguing in particular

The steps:

  1. Pick a topic below or come up with your own.
    • Why is your favorite food the best food there is?
    • Should we have robots take over our jobs? Why or why not?
    • Should everyone be required to roller skate to work? Why or why not?
    • Should government funding be used to track down Bigfoot? Why or why not?
    • Why should everyone watch your favorite television show?
  2. Set your timer for 15 minutes.
  3. As soon as the timer begins, write continuously. Even though you are arguing a certain position, the most important goal of this exercise is to get something down on paper (or the computer).
  4. After the 15 minutes is up, read through the paper. Underline the main point (something akin to the thesis). Circle all of the points with which you are arguing.
  5. Highlight every sentence that you feel proud of, that sounds good to you or that sounds like your voice.
  6. Now that you’ve had fun arguing something silly – check out these resources to help with academic writing: Handout on Argument, from the UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center Introductions, Body Paragraphs, and Conclusions for an Argument Paper, from the Purdue OWL
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