Letter to the Overwhelmed Writer

Dear Overwhelmed Writer,

First of all, you are not alone. Even the most experienced writers can get bogged down in ideas, sources, and deadlines. I have learned from experience that writing assignments can definitely be stressful. Sometimes the page count is just too daunting, or the right words are hard to find. However, I have some good news: no matter what it is you’re struggling with, it can be overcome.

For starters, a good way to cut down on the stress of writing assignments, no matter what kind, is to go into the writing process with everything already prepared. If the writing process is for a paper, gather all of the sources, quotes, and information ahead of time and have them readily accessible. If you’re writing a story, write out the main idea and make sure that it makes sense and that all the important details are accounted for. Next, outline. Every piece of writing should start as an outline. Any easy way is to go scene by scene or paragraph by paragraph and write down the ideas and information you want to use in that section. The easiest way is to also include any quotes or statistics with their sources in the outline, to avoid having to hunt them down later. Then, when the writing process starts, it’s just a matter of converting the ideas into words. However, the key is to do all of the preparation ahead of time instead of the night before. Researching and outlining can sometimes be a long process, and an impending deadline can cut the writing time short.

Although the worst is now over, writing itself can sometimes cause anxiety. There are many times where the right words just aren’t coming to mind. For situations like this, a thesaurus will be your best friend. It helps a lot to be able to look up similar words that will often lead to a better synonym. Another tip that often helps with writing is waiting until after the work is completely done to do any editing. Getting caught up in going back and making changes slows down the process and sometimes the entire work needs to be complete to be able to tell if an idea makes sense or not. If necessary, cover the entire screen except for the line or two you are currently working on. Then, once it’s finished, go back and check for spelling, grammar, and fluency. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help if it feels like things aren’t going well. The Writing Center can be a great resource, and having a second set of eyes can help.

There you go: some tips to get you through the stress of the writing process. Now that you know how to beat the overwhelming feeling, you have all the power in the world. Next time you feel the anxiety setting in, start early and be prepared; you’ve got this in the bag. So, go forth and write!

Written by Taylor

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Letter to the Student-Athlete Writer

Dear Student-Athlete Writer,

First of all, you have my sincerest apologies. I’m sorry that Hollywood and the media have given the name “Student-Athlete Writer” an unfortunate, negative stigma. For some reason, along with countless other offensive and inaccurate archetypes, popular culture has crafted and exploited the false stereotype of the dumb jock. It’s unfair, it’s stupid, and we wish it didn’t exist.

Second, and more importantly though, you have our highest respect. The team here in the Writing Center does not view student-athlete writers in any negative light. You awe and inspire us, and if we’re being frank, most of us wish we had an inch of the talent God has blessed you with. We know that you work harder than many of your peers, are just as academically capable as your peers, and are going to achieve great things both now and in the future.

Refuse to believe the lie that you are not skilled enough, prepared enough, or designed well-enough by your Creator to hurdle the obstacles that stand between where you are today and the distinguished accomplishment of graduating as an athlete and a scholar. Sometimes the lies come from well-meaning loved ones, sometimes they come from ignorant strangers on the internet, and sometimes they come from your own mind. Wherever they come from, throw them out now.

Missing class to travel for games is tough, but it doesn’t mean that you cannot be fully prepared to write your papers. The consultants in the Writing Center are available to help you at every stage of your writing process. An assignment instruction sheet and a willing attitude are all that is required for us to begin helping you, and if you’re willing, we will stick with you through the rough draft, the revision process, and the final formatting. If you have access to Wi-Fi while traveling with the team, we can even help you via Blackboard’s Collaborate. We never correct papers because we view our services as a way to help students learn how to become better writers. Our goal in every session is to help you improve your current paper and future papers by equipping you as a writer.

Writing mechanics are not easy; thesis statements, academic language, and proper citations can be intimidating prospects for anyone, but you are better skilled for the task than you may imagine. The playbook you have memorized in your head is infinitely more complicated than the formatting packets we can walk you through step by step. While the rules for academic writing may be tedious and unconventional, they pale in comparison to the complexity of the penalties, scoring techniques, and winning strategies of your sport. Thesis statements are difficult to compose, but they are no more difficult than breaking a full-court press, snagging a game-winning out, or coming back from a love-40 deficit.

Most importantly, you have the capability to be a successful college writer because your brain is hardwired for success. As a student-athlete writer, you have the advantages of discipline, longevity, and perseverance to help you tackle your writing endeavors. Athletes do not see difficulties that result in defeat; they see challenges that develop champions. It takes incredible mental strength to push through two-a-day practices, and the analytical power it takes for a batter to calculate the speed of a fastball or for a goalie to predict the trajectory of a goal attempt is beyond most people’s comprehension. Only a special kind of person is willing to test the mental and physical limits of his or her body under the scrutinizing eyes of the public, knowing his or her performance will either be a delight or a disappointment.

If you can do that, dare we say you can do anything?

Please don’t hesitate to visit our office or call and schedule an appointment. We want to see you go above and beyond your personal academic expectations and become the proficient, effective writer that you hold the potential to be. Like a knowledgeable coach, an encouraging teammate, and supportive parent all wrapped up into one, the Writing Center wants to be there to assist you every step of the way.

-The Writing Center

PS: One of our director’s favorite former consultants was a student-athlete writer. We don’t just love student-athlete writers who visit; we love the ones who work for us, too!

Written by Savanna

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Take a Break This Spring

Resumes or relaxation? Mini-mesters or mani-pedis? Scholarship applications or staycations? This is the season in which most overachieving busy-bodies and perfectionists alike are just itching to immerse themselves into a pool of productivity and work, but this may not be the best course of action for a week dedicated to dalliance. Over the course of the New Year, spirits are most optimistic about getting ahead, and one may have internally debated the decision of how to spend spring break. Based on said debate, it can be determined that a recess is necessary. Many people may come to the same conclusion for these two reasons: there are no more breaks until summer, and this is a time for intense self-care and a chance for a strong return to the semester.

From preschool to university, spring break is the last mid-semester break of an academic year. It is the last opportunity to digress and de-stress before being bombarded with the responsibilities of the remaining semester, such as late-night studying for exams, participating in extra-curricular activities, or taking a part time job. This time is important as students and faculty sadly reflect upon the fact that summer is a ways away. Before being embraced by the warming sun and the comforting idea of successfully completing another academic year, they must first endure the stresses that the school year brings. Furthermore, rest from any activity is essential to its success; as one allows for his or her mind and body to process the abundance of new information received and recover from the strain he or she is placed under during extensive periods of activity, including school and career building. Enjoy this tremendous week, free of instruction, responsibility, and stress by doing leisurely things that promote both mental and physical rehabilitation and the chance to return to the semester with focus and energy.

With that in mind, spring break is a phenomenal time for a little TLC. One way to get the most out of this break is to sleep in. Due to busy schedules and responsibilities that take up most of the day, many people find themselves going to bed late and waking up early. While this, for most, is essential and often obligatory, it is nice to have the option to rise as early or as late as desired. Catching up on some much needed sleep will prove effective when returning for the semester, as it will supply your mind and body with energy and allow for better concentration and a happier mood, all of which are essential in academic success. Besides, this form of relaxation is completely cost free.

Another potential course of action would be to travel to a new place. Whether it be another country or that new outlet mall an hour away from town, a new experience in a new destination will produce a variety of benefits. These new environments will provide a feeling of adventure which will motivate those growing bored with their everyday routines. Traveling also allows for one to clear his or her mind and focus on the environment, thus eradicating overthought, anxiety, and stress. With this clear mind, people are able to think more rationally about their plans for the remainder of the semester.

Finally, spring break grants sisters, brothers, cousins, daughters, sons, best friends, and best-best friends the freedom to watch movies together, play together, eat together, and spend time together. Most people find comfort and relaxation when they get to spend time with loved ones, as these are the people who know them best. It is important to take advantage of time with those you don’t get to see often.

Taking a breather from school for this week will bring productivity and energy for weeks to come. After all, this is the last break for a while, and recess is necessary. Return to the semester relaxed, refreshed, and ready for the work and pressure it will bring. Take a break this spring.

Written by Ashley

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The Pen Dripped Red

To celebrate our recent 100th blog post, the UWC decided we’d look at the most popular blogs from each of our authors.

Mine… was from a year and a half ago.

My boss, who was just asking out of curiosity, inquired what the thesis of my blog post was. With some trepidation, I looked at the document and tried to remind myself what the heck I’d said. My memory was (and is) terrible. And, apparently, my grammar back then was just as equally despicable. I projected my despair to the general populace. How could I possibly reintroduce such a rough blog to the web? I wanted to either fix or re-write the entire thing. My wonderful supervisor thought showing the process of revision was a wonderful idea, and this was born. Behold, the markup of an author revising his own work! Enjoy its glorious, red-filled pages and the extent to which I tear my own words apart as they flee in terror.

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Presented by Isaac

Image credits: Header image, Evil Laughter Cat