It’s NaNoWriMo!

Attention all aspiring writers!

This month is National Novel Writing Month, AKA NaNoWriMo.

What is it?

All throughout November, those participating will write a novel. The goal is to write 50,000 words by the end of the month. Sounds daunting, right?

Why participate?

The purpose of NaNoWriMo is to help writers work towards a goal and set workable deadlines. It’s a great and constructive way to establish a good work ethic, especially if you struggle with procrastinating.

How do I sign up?

Here is the link to the offical NaNoWriMo page if you are interested in participating!

Do I have to sign up?

Not at all! You’re free to do this on your own. It’s a great exercise to help get your creative juices flowing and set deadlines for yourself.

Can I go to the Writing Center for help with my novel?

Absolutely! Many of our tutors have been through a workshop on creative writing and may be able to help you out. If you’re experiencing writer’s block, we can help with that too. Our motto is any paper, any time.


Good luck, and happy writing!

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Happy Mentoring Day!

In order to give students plenty of opportunity to attend Mentoring Day sessions, we will not be open this afternoon from 3-5. Feel free to come see us this evening from 7-10 though!


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October 25, 2017 · 6:05 pm

Happy Fall Break!

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October 5, 2017 · 3:56 pm

Every writer STILL needs a reader!


Few writers use typewriters.  Writers no longer need correction tape or correction fluid to fix their errors.  They may  no longer need a trash can near their desk where their crumpled, mistake-ridden drafts of an essay can be tossed.   Computers have changed the way we write – and not only how we get word to paper (or screen).  Writers often turn to websites and smart phone apps to make sure that their writing is creative and polished.   In the Spring 2017 Writing Fellows course, students located websites and apps that they found potentially beneficial to writers.   One popular tool to use to help brainstorm and organize ideas is spiderscribe.    Several tutors use grammarly.  One tutor found a unique tool to help writers freewrite without pausing or censoring themselves.  This tool is ‘Write or Die’ and it will keep a writer on their toes!   Many of us really value OWL at Purdue for its plentiful information about grammar, advice on how to write papers, information about citation styles, and so much more.  (One tutor indicated that she looks at OWL on occassion …. just for fun!).   While these and other tools can be very useful,  the tutors at the Writing Center believe that nothing beats engaging in conversation with a real person in real time about your writing.  The need for other eyes to review writing is one aspect of writing that has remained the same over the decades.  Every writer (whether using pen and paper, a typewriter, or a laptop) needs a reader!!


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Scholes Young returns to Monmouth College

Dr. Melissa Scholes Young, author and Monmouth College alumna, visited campus on August 31 to deliver the first ILA convocation of the semester, meet with students to talk about her experiences as a first generational college student, and provide a reading from her new novel Flood. 

In an essay published in The Atlantic on May 6, 2016,  Dr. Scholes Young revealed the value of faculty members in her own development as a writer.  She recalls a moment in her first semester at Monmouth College in 1993 when a history professor called her into her office and asked to see all of the resources she used to write an essay.   Scholes Young, who never wrote lengthy papers in high school,  got a lesson that day on how to transcribe notes and how to cite sources appropriately.   She admits the experience left her feeling ashamed.  Yet, she also was grateful for that transformative moment and for the composition book loaned to her by the professor which she took to the library and read for hours.

Today, Scholes Young teaches writing at American University.   She has not forgotten what it felt like to be a student struggling to write.   When her students lack writing experience, she works closely with them as well as encourages them to visit her campus’s Writing Center where tutors can coach them as they develop as writers.

Congratulations to Dr. Scholes Young on her many successes as an author and as a professor of writing.



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September 4, 2017 · 1:34 am

Writing Center News

The Writing Center opens on August 27 at 7 pm.

The hours of operation during the semester are:

Sunday – Thursday from 7 to 10 pm

Monday – Thursday from 3 to 5 pm

24 trained writing tutors are ready and eager to work with Monmouth College students in Fall 2017!  Stop by at any point in your writing process – from brainstorming to editing.  Every writer needs a reader!

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Be concise!

What can any writer learn from a scientist? Be concise!

Check out Robert Day and Nancy Sakaduski’s Scientific English, A Guide for Scientists and Other Professionals (Oryx Press, 2011).  “The beauty of English,” they write, “is its ability, when properly used, to express the most complicated concepts in clear words” (x).

Here’s a quick preview of their tips on how to replace jargon and cut wordiness:

Instead of…                      Say…

a considerable amount of                       much

a considerable number of                      many

a decreased amount of                            less

a decreased number of                           fewer

a majority of                                               most

a number of                                                many

a small number of                                    a few

absolutely essential                                 essential

accounted for by the fact                      because

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Peer-to-peer learning

Goldie Blumenstyk writes about “What One Student Learned by Teaching His Peers” in this week’s Chronicle of Higher Education.

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Monmouth College Scholars Day 2016

Scholars Day is almost here! If you are participating in the poster session, check out the CAC resources on how to create an effective poster.

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Prompts & Feedback Workshop

Thanks to everyone who participated in last evening’s workshop on prompts and feedback! Thanks, especially, to Emily Rollie, Carina Olaru, and Kam Williams for helping to facilitate the conversation. You can find electronic copies of the handouts on the faculty resources page (see prompts and feedback; specific prompts can be found on the ILA and GP pages).

One favorite prompt from last night is Emily’s unessay–an assignment that challenges students to think creatively and critically. Carina also recommended The Craft of Research as a way to help students move from a question to a problem to an argument in the research process. Thanks again to everyone who made the workshop a success!

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