Janet Brown Scholarship Recipient: Amelia Vernon

Every year, the Writing Success Program and the Community Program’s Office awards student leaders who have encountered financial barriers, a scholarship in honor of our founding director, Janet E. Brown. We asked applicants for the story behind the most meaningful object in their lives. Read down before for this recipient’s story:   A flat. B. Or was it B flat? The notes all merged together … Continue reading Janet Brown Scholarship Recipient: Amelia Vernon

On Writing: How to start Journaling for Mental and Emotional Health

You have probably heard of journaling as a cliche therapy practice. Journaling is recommended to help you start to process your feelings and to help you start to get in touch with things from your past that may be affecting your emotions now.   I have spent the latter part of the last few years resisting journaling. I was always afraid of what I would … Continue reading On Writing: How to start Journaling for Mental and Emotional Health

Grammar Police: Less or Fewer

“15 items or less.” We see them whenever we go to Walmart or Target, but these ubiquitous signs are actually grammatically incorrect. Why? “Less” is used to describe something that isn’t discrete, but “fewer” describes a countable object. Consider this simple question to determine which form to use: can you count it? If you can count it, use fewer. If you can’t count it, use … Continue reading Grammar Police: Less or Fewer

Character Creation

Make characters that jump off the page and wag their finger at you; characters that lead armies into epic battles on your coffee table or cuddle up on your shoulder for a quick nap; characters that pilot jet planes in circle-eights around your head or trek into the great unknown called Underthebed with just a backpack. Your characters should come alive, enthralling your readers. Your … Continue reading Character Creation

Rejecting Thesaurus Temptations and Finding Comfort in Simplicity

On an episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, a classic American television sitcom, Joey struggles with writing a recommendation letter to an adoption agency for his friends Monica and Chandler. To make himself sound smarter, Joey decides to use the thesaurus on every single word. Sentences like “they’re warm, nice people with big hearts” become “they’re humid pre-possessing homosapiens with full sized aortic pumps.” Joey’s kind and sincere … Continue reading Rejecting Thesaurus Temptations and Finding Comfort in Simplicity

How to Start Writing Again

Writing is liberating. Writing is empowering. Writing requires vulnerability. How many of us have struggled with writing at one point or another? How many of us have felt guilt or shame for not being able to sit down and start typing those words and thoughts circulating in our minds? What are some things we can do to start writing again?    For when you are … Continue reading How to Start Writing Again

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?

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

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

The Writing SUCCESS Program and How It Prepares Your Future

Crazy to imagine that two years ago, my former boss Dennis Santiago, office manager and internship director, was trying to convince me to apply to WSP. I felt very doubtful because I really did not know much about academic writing. I was a creative writer but even then I had a hard time claiming that title. Fortunately I received the job and joined the team … Continue reading The Writing SUCCESS Program and How It Prepares Your Future

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

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