Hege Library & Learning Technologies

Guilford College Writing Manual

This is the official Guilford College Writing Manual. A collaboration between the English Department and the Hege Library.

Informal vs. Formal Writing

At Guilford you will do both informal and formal writing. Let's look at informal writing first. The phrase is actually a misnomer. "Informal writing" suggests writing that is casual, unimportant. The true situation is just the opposite. Informal writing may be the most important writing you do.

Informal writing encourages independent thought, enlarges your capacity to make connections, makes you aware of yourself as a learner, increases your confidence by giving you a chance to get your ideas right with yourself before communicating them to others, affirms the value of your writing voice, and can serve as a springboard for formal assignments.

Informal writing tends to be:

  • exploratory
  • digressive
  • searching
  • speculative
  • talky
  • writer-based
  • uncorrected

Types of informal writing: impromptu writing in class, field notes, journal entries, initial drafts of papers, imaginative writing projects your professors will assign.

Now let's look at formal writing.