Monday, September 22, 2014

Finding that allusive starting point.

by Abby Ponder 

You sit down with your pen and pencil (or with your fingers hovering over their respective keys on your keyboard), and you brace yourself: it's time to write. Whether you've waited until the last minute and are working against a clock, or are starting a month in advance, there's no easy place to start. The words don't always flow automatically and sometimes you're just stuck.

First, take a deep breath.

It can be overwhelming when you're staring at a blank screen, cursor blinking ominously at you. You feel like you have to put something on the page, and the longer that screen stays blank, the worse you begin to feel.

Sometimes writing a paper is the easiest thing in the world to do. The words are coming, the ideas are flowing, and just like that you're finished and awaiting your well-deserved A. When it works out like that? It's great! But it doesn't always. So what do you do when you don't know where to start and you've already wasted enough time on tumblr or Netflix, procrastinating the inevitable?

Over the course of the past few years, I've found that outlining is my actual best friend. Yeah, I know, all your professors tell you to make an outline. You'll sigh, sometimes, because who really wants to take the time to write something that won't even become the final product? I understand your way of thinking, my friend--I do. But try it.

To start your outline, read your assignment carefully and make sure you fully understand the question. I know that I'm prone to skimming things, especially when I'm in a hurry, but experience has taught me that it's a surefire way to miss something important. Sometimes it helps to make a list of the tasks the professor is looking for in the assignment: Write them down in a nice bulleted list, and then take notes on those objectives. The professor wants you to talk about the differences between Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" and "The Celestial Railroad?" You can do that. It doesn't have to look perfect at this stage; you're just putting ideas on paper.

If your assignment requires outside sources, once you finish your list start looking for those resources. Pull out the information you think will be valuable, and begin placing the quotes in the areas you think they will be most applicable.

When you feel like you have a clear direction, then get started! Remember, your first draft doesn't have to be perfect--that's why it's called a first draft. And don't forget to pay us a visit in the Writing Center! We're here to help talk you through your outline or answer any questions you may have along the way.

Happy Writing!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Welcome back! Now let's get started.

Welcome back to the hill, folks! New semesters always bring a lot of new things: there are new people, new living arrangements, new classes, and, inevitably, new papers. Today marks the beginning of Week Four, and the newness of the semester is gradually beginning to evolve into something resembling a routine. And those papers that initially seemed so far away? Their due dates are starting to creep a little closer.

So, what do you do now?

Well, starting to write is typically a step in the right direction, and the Writing Center is here to help. Our writing tutors work with students at any stage in the writing process, to help boost your confidence in that final product.

Scheduling an appointment with the WKU Writing Center is easy to do: First, visit our website and click “Appointment Scheduler." You’ll then be prompted to either log in or create account if it is your first visit. From there, you’ll select a time and date, and then you’re all set! Simple as that. Alternatively, you can also give us a call at (270) 745-5719 or email us at if you’d like to schedule an appointment or have any additional questions.

For the fall of 2014, our hours are as follows:

Cherry Hall

Monday - Thursday: 9am - 4pm
Friday: 9am - 1pm


Monday - Tuesday: 4pm - 9pm
Wednesday: 4pm - 6:30pm
Thursday: 4pm - 9pm
Friday: CLOSED

The Writing Center at WKU is more than happy to assist you at any stage in the writing process, so schedule an appointment and come see us!


Thursday, May 8, 2014


Below are our hours for finals week. Get your appointments in early because we are already filling up!

Cherry Hall
  • Monday - Wednesday:     10am - 4pm
  • Thursday:                         10am - 1pm
  • Friday:                              CLOSED
Cravens Library
  • Monday:                           CLOSED
  • Tuesday:                           4pm - 8pm 
  • Wednesday:                      5pm - 9pm
  • Thursday:                         3pm - 5pm
  • Friday:                              CLOSED

Best of luck on finals, and have a great summer!


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Don't Wait till the Last Minute

Unfortunately, it is very common for students to write papers the night--or even hours--before a paper is due. This is unfortunate because it does not give these students the time required for revisions or feedback from our Writing Center tutors. We often see students who come in hours before the class in which their assignment is due, wanting to get feedback and extra credit for visiting the Writing Center.

We really encourage the students who do this to write their papers earlier and come in at least a day before the paper is due. Many professors have told us they are going to crack down on Writing Center extra credit, only giving the credit if the changes discussed in your session are made to your paper, and possibly only giving credit if the student visits the Writing Center at least a day before.

We sympathize with the heavy workload that many students bear, especially as we approach finals week, but it makes it difficult for us to do our jobs when we know that much of what we are teaching and much of the work we put in to helping you improve your paper will go unheeded or unappreciated. The Writing Center exists to help students better their writing and learn to make their own revisions in their papers. We are not an editing service or just a source of extra credit. If you are not learning anything from us, then why are we here?


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Gearing Up for Finals

As we get closer to the end of the semester and the dreaded finals week, our tutors in the Writing Center start getting busier and busier with the onslaught of students who come to us requesting help for final papers and projects, not to mention trying to work on and polish their own final assignments. Every semester it happens without fail: students come in to the Writing Center without scheduling an appointment, and they want help in these hectic last few weeks, but unfortunately, they have to wait anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours because all our appointments have been scheduled and there is a line for drop-ins.

Maybe they have been coming in all semester during drop-in hours and have not had to wait at all because we generally aren't too busy between midterms and finals. Maybe they have never been to the Writing Center and do not know how the system works. Either way, we end up having to turn away students because we are just too full or because they don't have the time to wait for us.

The best way you can prevent this is by scheduling an appointment, preferably a few days in advance. By scheduling, you can guarantee that you will be seen by a tutor and get the help you need. Of course, we will always do our best to accomodate drop-ins, but if another drop-in arrives before you do, then you will have to wait, and we oftentimes only have one tutor accepting drop-ins at a time.

So, do the best thing for yourself and for your paper: schedule appointments with tutors in advance, and especially a day or two before your due date.

Best of luck with all final assignments!


Monday, April 14, 2014

Announcing: Stop Procrastinating and Write! Developing Effective Writing Habits

The Writing Center is pleased to announce "Stop Procrastinating and Write! Developing Effective Write Habits" to be presented by the Writing Center Director, Dr. Jane Fife. The even will take place in Cherry Hall 125 on Wednesday, April 16 from 2:00 - 2:30 p.m.

This presentation will explain typical attitudes and behaviors that prevent writers from getting started (and getting finished) as well as attitudes and practices that promote productivity.

For those who are interested bu unable to attend, the presentation will be recorded (courtesy of DELO) and a video will be added to the Writing Center website.

We hope to see you all there!