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The Art of Revision October 17, 2012

I am a writer. I write — and up until last year, I absolutely, under no circumstances, did not re-write. (more…)


Towards a Linguistic “Glocalization”: A Geographic Approach to Writing Center Theory. April 5, 2012

In 1997, geographer Erik Swyngedouw challenged the way that scholars viewed globalization with the publication of “Neither Global nor Local: ‘Glocalization’ and the Politics of Scale.” The idea of the “glocal” continues to impact geographers’ perceptions of how scale operates, but how might this phenomena, which acknowledges the way that local and global landscapes impact and inform one another, help shape Peer Writing Tutors’ perceptions of global and local writing elements? I facilitated an interactive Round Robin Session at this years Chicagoland Writing Centers Association’s “Winter Gathering” conference to explore how we as Peer Writing Tutors might glocalize our approach to language, and the responses I received from the session were phenomenal! (more…)


Finals Inspiration from Jack Kerouac November 7, 2011

Beyond the typographical errors (or stylistic choices? Hey, he’s following his own tip number 13.) of Jack Kerouac’s “Belief and Technique for Modern Prose” lie gems of wisdom, and some of the same advice peer writing tutors often dispense. Here are a few to guide you as you work on your final papers: (more…)


To Tag, or Not to Tag September 28, 2011

There has been a great evolution in my mind concerning the concept of graffiti. When young, I associated it with a disrespectful ugliness that surfaced on trips to see my grandma on the south side of Chicago or my aunt in Logan Square. Overpasses and freight trains were covered with bold, clashing primary colors in a distended script that conjured hood rats and foggy alleys in my mind. (more…)


Let’s Demystify the Writer September 21, 2011

Some have appropriated unto the process of writing a somewhat romantic picture. We imagine our favorite writers hunched over desks, grumbling to themselves through sips of whiskey in some dimly lit room on the Eastern Seaboard. Otherwise, they’re sitting in a bright and breezy space at a desk made of birch. The wind blows gauzy curtains back while the writer peeks out the window, smiles knowingly, and turns back to the page to write some moving meditation – in longhand of course. Where these images come from, we can only speculate. It could be Hollywood, our own projected veneration, or even from the writers themselves. Surely, (more…)


Camp is in Session July 6, 2011

Hey there again, writers. I know I’ve already lobbied for the awesomeness that is Camp NaNoWriMo, but let me give you a breakdown of the tools that are available now that the site is live and you can actually log in and all that.

If you’re unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo in general, the typical tools available involve a word count tracker which shows your progress over time and in comparison to your ultimate goal of 50,000 words. This site seems to be a little bit less streamlined, but I don’t really mind because everything is inundated with a kitschy summer camp theme. And for someone like me who never actually went to camp as a child and never lived out the desire to be the sassy, leather jacket-wearing Lindsay Lohan in The Parent Trap, a summer camp-themed writing website sounds pretty damn awesome.



Workshopping Outside of School June 29, 2011

Can you count on one hand the number of people outside of school who have read your work? This is a shame.  You may be thinking, “talk about a blessing, not a curse,” but allow me for a moment to express just a few of the reasons why workshopping is so invaluable to writers of all levels, and can be done even outside of a workshopping class at school.



Quick Questions — On Journaling for a Class June 22, 2011

Question: I am writing a journal for one of my classes.  Normally when I write a journal I write as if I am speaking out loud or tell a story.  My instructor reviewed my journal and stated there was a problem with my diction becasue I an using descriptions of myself.  She suggested I check with the writing center on problems when using casual diction.  She noted that was the major problem with journal.  I have written journals before and never had this problem.  Can you clarify for me the problems she is refering to in regards to casual diction?

Response: Casual language is fine for many things, and I can see why you would approach a journal with that tone. Of course, if the professor says you’re writing too casually, then you must be writing too casually, so let’s look at ways to change that.



Camp NaNoWriMo

Hello there writers. For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month—is an annual challenge for writers to write a novel (or 50,000 words of one) in the span of one month.

The traditional NaNoWriMo happens every year over the month of November. However, the good folks at NaNoWriMo are doing something new this year—Camp NaNoWriMo. In the words of Lindsey Grant, one of NNWM’s fabulous admins:

“This camp-themed version of National Novel Writing Month enables participants to write a novel in a month other than November. You bring the words and we’ll meet you there with the encouragement, tracking tools, and a tent!”



Font Size and Learning: Why Bigger and Bolder isn’t Necessarily Better April 26, 2011

Filed under: reflections on research — Fiona McMahon @ 10:38 am
Tags: , , , ,

According to a recent New York Times article, text written in bigger, bolder font doesn’t necessarily enhance the chances that you’ll remember it. (more…)



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