WCC IAP Workshops

Tips, Tricks, and Tools for Productive Writing

When: Thursdays, Jan 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th
Time: 10-11:30am
Location: Zoom (pre-registration is required to receive the link)
Register here

During this four-session series, we will address topics that can help you avoid common pitfalls and become a productive writer.

Session 1: Managing Your Time and Expectations (Jan 7th)

Writing a dissertation can seem distinct from earlier work, with fewer deadlines, less structure, and less contact with others. At the same time, tackling this bigger project can be seen as a continuation of previous work, but one with more options for choice. During this workshop, Betsy Fox, a WCC Instructor and Communication Specialist, will offer suggestions on managing time, being productive, and making the long-distance journey of a dissertation more comfortable and companionable.

Session 2: Stress Management Techniques (Jan 14th)

Writing is a stressful business, for most. This stress comes from various sources associated with what we write about, how we write, and even where we write. In this workshop, Xiaolu Hsi, Neuropsychologist and Student Mental Health & Counseling specialist, will address the stress associated with writer’s block when the writer is stuck and cannot progress. She will talk about the writing anxiety associated with our fear that we do not write well enough to meet other people’s and our personal expectations. Finally, she will analyze how cluttered desks and computer screens contribute to stress. We will learn specific strategies to help us manage this stress when writing a thesis chapter, a paper, or even just an important email. This workshop will teach you how to recognize and quiet the anxiety, focusing your energy instead on how to become a productive writer.

Session 3: Constructive Procrastination as Part of a Healthy Writing Process (Jan 21st)

Society tells us that procrastination is bad, when in fact it can be a useful part of the writing process. In this workshop, Susan Spilecki,  a WCC Instructor, communication specialist, and poet, will help you brainstorm all the specifics of your individual writing process, from the beginning of a project to the end,  and discuss the usefulness of different strategies for different people. By reflecting on the way individuals actually learn, synthesize ideas, write, and revise, we can make our own processes more effective. Getting to know what you need for your particular process puts you in control of it, rather than letting it control you. In addition to gaining a better understanding of your existing writing process – and how you actually procrastinate constructively – participants will leave with resources and tools to better manage your process.

Session 4: Building a Supportive Community for Feedback and Motivation (Jan 28th)

This workshop will provide an introduction to the concept of peer review writing groups: small groups self-organized specifically as a space for workshopping drafts, staying on track with writing projects, and practicing scholarly communication with colleagues. In this workshop, you will learn about the advantages of peer review writing groups and the best practices for establishing your own group. Amy Cheung, a WCC Instructor and communication specialist, will cover different possible models and the “predictable pitfalls” that can occur in sustaining a group and running meetings. We will also introduce tools and resources you can apply to support structured and constructive ways of giving and receiving feedback on writing.

Creating Fluid Prose: Sentence Structure and Sentence Length

When: Friday, January 8, 2021
Time: 10:00am- 11:30am
Location: Zoom
(pre-registration is required to receive the link)
Register here

The sentence is the basic building block of prose, but how carefully do we think about how we construct our sentences? In this workshop, Pamela Siska, a WCC Communication Specialist and published scholar, will discuss how sentence length and sentence structure contribute to fluid, clear, and engaging academic style, especially in scientific and technical writing. 

Critical Thinking as a Critical Writing Tool

When: Friday, January 15, 2021
Time: 2-3:30pm
Location: Zoom
(pre-registration is required to receive the link)
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During this workshop, Marilyn Levine, a writer and a WCC Communication Instructor, will teach you how to scrutinize your own writing and oral presentations using a systematic process of inquiry. You will learn how to engage your audience by unpacking assumptions and identifying the significance of your written and oral arguments or claims.

Crafting a Compelling Abstract

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When: Friday, January 22, 2021
Time: 10-11:30am
Location: Zoom
(pre-registration is required to receive the link)
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For your paper to be successful, people have to actually read it. A compelling abstract is essential for capturing readers’ attention and making them want to read more. But writing an effective abstract is challenging because you need to summarize what motivated you, what you did, and what you found, in a small number of words. In this workshop, Thalia Rubio, a WCC Communication Instructor, a technical writer, and a textbook author, will analyze sample abstracts, discuss editing strategies, and guide you through revising abstracts. You’ll also have the opportunity to begin to develop your own abstract and will leave with a better understanding of how to write a strong abstract that clearly presents your research.

Writing Your Thesis Proposal in the Humanities and Social Sciences

When: Wednesday, January 27th, 2021
Time: 10-11:30am
Location: Zoom
(pre-registration is required to receive the link)
Register here

Before you write a thesis or dissertation, you are usually required to get approval of a “proposal” or “prospectus.” In this workshop, Bob Irwin, a WCC Lecturer and Communication Specialist, will address what makes a prospectus successful. Join us to learn how that smaller task can help you with the larger one.