“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?”
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 theology faculty member here at The Seattle School. I am also a Seattle School MDiv alum and I supervise the team of Assistant Instructors, whom you will get to know well this year, but leading the Writing Workshops 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 an academic 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 rhythms 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 start a game plan for how you will manage your learning.
We offer two sections of Writing Workshops: one before and one during the fall term. This year, both workshops will be offered online.*
While both workshops cover the same material, the Weekly Workshop during fall term provides space to discuss and peer review assignments for your classes while they are happening, while the Pre-Fall Workshop often appeals to folks who want a reorientation towards academic work before classes begin. Whichever section you join, you will be challenged, have fun, and leave with tools, techniques, and the confidence to overcome the glorious mountain of writing ahead!
Tuesday, August 11
Tuesday, August 18
Tuesday, August 25
Tuesday, September 1
Weekly Fall-Term Workshop
Fridays, beginning first week of classes
*We won’t be on Zoom for the full class hours, but reserve the time for at-home activities, etc.
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 synthesis papers, research to 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?