How Do You Approach Getting Out of Writer’s Block?

This is an archived post from April 3, 2017 written by Pegah Mahmoud. We’ve all heard of the dreaded writer’s block: the figurative cement wall that blocks our ability to surround ourselves with creative and thoughtful ideas. And like a cement wall, it feels impossible to break through it when we see our mind as something much weaker than it. We groan, we curse, we become … Continue reading How Do You Approach Getting Out of Writer’s Block?

Archive: It vs. It’s, The Final Showdown

This is an archived post from 10/20/2014 by Paul Simon Yim. It’s really hard, sometimes, to know when to use its or it’s. We’ve been taught, since elementary school, that whenever we want to indicate a possessive noun that an apostrophe must be used. For example, This is Cindy’s car. That is Brian’s computer. What we often forget, however, is that when we want to use a pronoun … Continue reading Archive: It vs. It’s, The Final Showdown

Subtlety = Sub-Till-Tea

Subtlety sub-till-tea n. the act of avoiding an unpleasant situation through clever maneuvering. Literally: waiting under a rock until tea time. Words are pretty cool. They let you write a letter confessing your love to your crush, understand your favorite Friends episode, tell your roommate to stop stealing your food, or negotiate a pay raise with your boss. If you’re like me, you like words … Continue reading Subtlety = Sub-Till-Tea

On My Creative Writing Process

Picture this. You’re sitting at your desk, trying hard to come up with a good sentence, the kind of sentence that would make the likes of Isaac Babel and Joan Didion proud. Five minutes in, you lower your expectations—not everyone can write like Junot Diaz, you say. You settle for writing a relatively good sentence. Another five minutes pass by—your cursor blinks mockingly. Okay, you … Continue reading On My Creative Writing Process

Writing: Liberation or Revelation of our Innermost, Deepest Fears?

My relationship with writing has mostly been a positive one. Throughout my K-12 education, I was frequently praised for my wordsmithing capabilities, flowery prose, and succinct summarization skills. But as far as my creative writing went, I only wrote random diary entries regarding any interactions with my crushes and drama between my best friends. I rarely used writing as a means to truly connect with … Continue reading Writing: Liberation or Revelation of our Innermost, Deepest Fears?

The Chicken and the Egg: Reading and Writing

More often than not, students believe that the only way to improve their writing is to use fancy vocabulary words and to memorize arbitrary grammar rules. However, they’ll quickly find that blindly focusing on technical skills is not the answer. Rather, the answer may not even lie in the act of writing itself. Studies show that reading and writing go hand-in-hand: the more you read, … Continue reading The Chicken and the Egg: Reading and Writing

Introduction to Introductions

Writing the introduction paragraph is always my favorite part of any essay. A good introduction sets the tone and structure of the entire paper. Writing a strong, solid introduction sets your paper up for success. Different styles of papers (i.e., analysis, narrative, research) call for different kinds of introductions. In general, the “funnel” introduction is the most common for papers involving literary analysis. As the … Continue reading Introduction to Introductions

The Poetic Fallacy: On Why Anyone Can Write Poetry

Though it may not come as a shocker to many, I am an English major. What this means is that my classes often involve me reading hundreds of pages of texts each quarter, arguing in class about whether the color blue in a poem represents sadness or the sky, and writing papers about how the characters in “Miss Ogilvy Finds Herself” and “Albert Nobbs” are … Continue reading The Poetic Fallacy: On Why Anyone Can Write Poetry

Some Helpful College Essay Writing Rules in the U.S. to Follow

Write an outline, mind map, or rough draft of what you want to write. This will help you develop your idea in a more coherent way, rather than a random stream of your thoughts. Double space if you type. Write on every other line if your paper is handwritten. Leaving space between the lines allows room for comments. Book titles are underlined or italicized; the … Continue reading Some Helpful College Essay Writing Rules in the U.S. to Follow

Abbreviations and Milk Tea: Differences in Chinese and English

Pearl milk tea, or 珍珠奶茶 (zhen’zhu nai cha), is the staple, most iconic dessert drink of the Bay and Taiwan. Often abbreviated in English to PMT, the delicious concoction is never referred to as ZZNC in Chinese. Rather, its name is shortened from four characters to two: 珍奶 (zhen nai). So what are the differences in abbreviating English words versus Chinese words? In English, phrases … Continue reading Abbreviations and Milk Tea: Differences in Chinese and English

The Epistolary Genre

I have enjoyed writing handwritten letters ever since I was kid, but I never knew that there was a genre for letter writing called the epistolary genre. This quarter I am taking English M138 – Topics in Creative Writing: Letters and Letter Writing where we discuss epistolary fiction in different works and our own. I conducted the following interview with Professor Hollander to briefly discuss … Continue reading The Epistolary Genre

Hangul: The Democratic Alphabet

We see writing everywhere in our daily lives, but we rarely stop to think about where these squiggly lines came from and how they came to represent words. Some written languages came about thousands of years ago when they were developed from simplified drawings. Others combined writing systems that existed before them in a mix-and-match style to create their own unique writing. Still others sprung … Continue reading Hangul: The Democratic Alphabet

Subjecting Yourself to the Subjunctive Mood

In the eleventh grade, I took AP English Language and Composition with Miss Voss. She was one of the coolest high school teachers at Silver Creek High School, if not the entire district, city, state, or country. She often started the class with a small grammar lesson, a component of the English language that high school curriculums often neglect. For example, we’d learn about things … Continue reading Subjecting Yourself to the Subjunctive Mood

A Cello for Your Thoughts

Writing doesn’t come easily to me. Thinking about writing is a piece of pie, but when it comes to sitting down in front of the computer and trying to hash out my thoughts, I have a hard time. I get distracted first, and then I have trouble staying focus, and then I lose my direction and drive. My writing gets interrupted time and time again by sporadic thoughts, passing … Continue reading A Cello for Your Thoughts

How Do You Approach Getting Out of Writer’s Block?

We’ve all heard of the dreaded writer’s block: the figurative cement wall that blocks our ability to surround ourselves with creative and thoughtful ideas. And like a cement wall, it feels impossible to break through it when we see our mind as something much weaker than it. We groan, we curse, we become frustrated. “Why me?” Is the first question that comes to mind when … Continue reading How Do You Approach Getting Out of Writer’s Block?

“I Work Best Under Pressure” Part 2

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post where I wondered whether giving myself ample time to write an essay would result in better quality of my writing. Instead of my usual scramble to write my papers a few hours before the deadline, I would force myself to pace things out and take my sweet old time with my paper. Originally, I had planned … Continue reading “I Work Best Under Pressure” Part 2