“A blank page is terrifying…”
“The last time I wrote a paper, the year started with 19 not 20…”
“Friends ask me to proofread their papers; I love helping people’s ideas come through the written word…”
“Am I supposed to already know what APA Style means?”
“I like writing for myself, but writing assignments stress/overwhelm/bore me”
Are any of these thoughts familiar? Entering a graduate program involves a great deal of transition, and for many students, academic writing can feel like a daunting hill to ascend or a muscle that hasn’t been stretched in a long time. Maybe you’re a confident writer but would like some help navigating the integrative type of assignments you’ll be asked to write here. However you’re feeling as the fall term approaches, I want to invite you to consider being a part of the Writing Workshop this year.
My name is Dr. Kj Swanson, an affiliate professor of Theology & Culture here at The Seattle School and the Writing Workshop instructor. I am also a Seattle School MDiv alum and supervise the team of Assistant Instructors, whom you will get to know well this year. In terms of academic writing, I am admittedly much more of a Hermione Granger than a Ron Weasley (I love research!!!), but I don’t think a week passes that I’m not learning something new about the writing process. The Writing Workshop is one of the neatest things I get to do in my work at this school, and I hope you’ll be a part of it this year.
The Writing Workshop at The Seattle School is recommended for all, regardless of your confidence level as a writer. While all the writing you will do at The Seattle School requires technical competence, much of it asks for a high level of personal engagement as well. The workshop is designed to familiarize you with the genres of writing, research, synthesis, and criticism that you’ll do in your time as a student here. And more than that, the workshop provides space to experiment with and explore study methods and sustainable work habits to help you re-calibrate your previous academic experience towards the often unexpected dynamics that come with graduate level study. The purpose of the workshop is as much about adjusting to graduate school life as it is about refreshing your memory on thesis statements.
Based on your application to The Seattle School, we believe that you can do the work we ask of our students, and we hope that the Writing Workshop will help equip you to confidently step into the writing you will do here. I highly recommend registering—it’s a great way to connect with your cohort and get a jump start on assignments for the fall term. You are guaranteed to be challenged, have fun, and leave with tools, techniques, and the confidence to overcome the mountain of writing ahead!
We offer two sections of Writing Workshops: one before and one during the fall term. Section 1 will be held as a pre-term intensive in August on the following days from 12:30-4:00pm:
- Tuesday, August 27
- Thursday, August 29
- Tuesday, September 3
- Thursday, September 5
Section 2 will be offered weekly throughout the beginning of fall term, 10:00am-12:00pm on Mondays. While the pre-term workshop is focused on getting ready for the fall, the Weekly Workshop provides space to brainstorm and peer review your course assignments as they occur. Both sections will be listed on the course schedule on the website under the code WW for Writing Workshop.
Some other important things to note:
- The Writing Workshop is just for your benefit as a student—it’s not for any credit, there aren’t any grades, and it doesn’t show up on your transcripts.
- The cost for the entire workshop is $300—well worth it!
- You can sign up for Writing Workshop the same way you sign up for classes, through MyCampus. The course code is WW; Section 1 is the pre-term intensive offering, and Section 2 is the weekly version.
What to Expect
- Brainstorming exercises that may help you come up with paper topics or help you see what you’re saying between the lines.
- Grammar and citation refreshers. You will learn about the citation frameworks of APA and Chicago, which will be super helpful when you are formatting your papers come fall.
- Insight into the different types of writing we do here at The Seattle School, from narrative reflection to response papers to research and critical analysis.
- Discussion around your methods of writing and how what you’re doing now may help or hinder your process at The Seattle School (i.e. Do you make outlines? How much time do you give yourself to write? How do you give yourself breaks from writing?). A word to the wise: taking breaks for restorative, creative activity is the best way to avoid the dreaded “writer’s block.”
- Time to work on your current writing in peer-review groups through completing papers ahead of time in order to refine the final product. Hopefully the work you do speaking your words and hearing the words of others will go with you as part of your process here. It is vulnerable to let others into your writing, and a layered beauty often comes if you will take the risk.
Writing is a labor of love and one that takes practice. We’ve all stared at a blank screen without knowing how to start or even what to say. The Writing Workshop is a great way to step into the fray without the pressure of a grade, so why not play?