Your Summer of Writing

It is that time of year when people talk and write about warm (or hot) weather, the sun, travel, time off, reading books for pleasure or listening to them on audio and lazing around. However, you are staying focused and moving toward your academic and professional goals by taking courses this summer. 

There is no reason to pout (or maybe there is). The JFKU Writing Center is here to support you in getting those papers and assignments done. 

We have many strategies to share with you. Here are some of the ways you can use our services:

1. You’re not sure what you want to write about and you have a deadline. We can support you by asking you questions to get your brainstorming off to a good start.

2. You have a lot to read for multiple courses. We can share some power reading strategies with you that will help you to manage the assigned reading and your time.

3. It’s been a while since you were in school and you don’t quite remember APA Style or you used MLA in your previous academic program. Schedule a session with us and we can go over the basics of APA Style. In addition, we have created an APA Guidelines book and helpful handouts that are available in hard copy or by download.

Yes, it’s the middle of summer, yes you are focused on success and maybe you are a little jealous of your friends who are on vacation. However, you don’t have to struggle alone with your writing. Make an appointment with the JFKU Writing Center for help with your course work so that you can finish the quarter strong.

You can access the writing center appointment calendar through Blackboard – Office of Student Experience – Writing Center.

Questions? Contact us at (925) 969-3526 or

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APA Basics Workshop on Monday, May 13, 2019 6 – 7 pm

We’re having an APA Basics Workshop at the JFKU Writing Center next Monday.

We hope you’ll attend in person or by ZOOM (see link below)

We’ll discuss strategies for avoiding plagiarism and using APA Style
with confidence and purpose.  

APA Style Basics – Monday, May 13, 2019
6:00 – 7:00 pm
Room S202 Pleasant Hill

Or Join by Zoom Meeting

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How’s your motivation?

Photo by Ihsan Aditya on

We’re at mid-quarter and you might be looking around and wondering how you can stay on track and keep moving toward your deadlines for your courses. You are probably knee deep in reading, doing research and gathering your ideas and those of your sources to write papers and contribute to discussion posts.

This is a good time to schedule an appointment with the JFKU Writing Center. We can share strategies with you for keeping your motivation going so that you can finish the quarter strong. And remember, we’re always happy to be that second pair of eyes on your papers and assignments.

Speaking of motivation, today we’re sharing an excellent discussion from The Write Attitude blog of the San Jose State University Writing Center. Thanks to Maria Judnick for sharing pearls of wisdom that all of us can use as we approach writing and other projects.

Here’s the link:

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Week Five Check-in

We are almost halfway through the quarter. How did we get here? How are you doing? Are you still breathing? I certainly hope so.

Today’s post is inspired by Dr. Rachel Toor who teaches writing at Eastern Washington University. Dr. Toor shares “10 Tips to Help You ‘Win’ at Graduate School.”

In reality, these tips are for all students who want to be successful academically and professionally. Here are some of her main points followed by a link to the article from Chronicle Vitae:

“Think about your career”

“Time management, baby”

“Make the faculty work for you”

I’m sure you’ll want to read more; it’s a great article, filled with excellent advice. Here’s the link

Mid-quarter is always a good time to take stock and remind yourself about your goals and your success.

We love to hear from our readers. Do you have any tips to share? Please share your tips and let us know what you think in the comments.

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The Writing Process Workshop is Tomorrow 10/23/18


The Writing Process Workshop
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
5:15 – 6:30 pm
Room S202, Pleasant Hill
or via ZOOM link: Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

We’ll discuss strategies for getting your writing started, outwitting your internal perfectionist and keeping your writing moving toward a strong first draft. We’ll also take a look at macro and micro revision and when to use them.

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How to Give and Receive Feedback

Jack Brady of the San Jose State University (SJSU) Writing Center posted useful tips on giving and receiving feedback, which apply to writing, professional work and life, in general. The Write Attitude is the blog of the SJSU Writing Center.

The Write Attitude

In this post, I’m here to give a few tips on giving and receiving feedback for written assignments, professional work, and personal projects.

Giving Feedback

  • Remain honest in your feedback but respectful of the writer.
  • Be aware that some of your reactions might be based on your preferences, so it’s important to consider what they are trying to achieve with their work, then give feedback based on their efforts.

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  • If you notice a repeated error, mention this to the writer and correctly explain how to fix it. (This one might require you to review grammar rules, but you’re already in the right place for that!)
  • Justify why something needs to be changed rather than point something out that you don’t appreciate.

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  • Most importantly, identify strengths or what you like most so that the writer knows what to continue doing.

Receiving Feedback

  • Develop a thick skin.

Classrooms and workshop groups…

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#TBT: The Not-So-Great Imposter: Paraphrase Generators

We are re-blogging a post from San Jose State University (SJSU) Writing Center’s excellent blog The Write Attitude this week. The topic is paraphrase generators, which have proliferated of late.

Our Suggestion: Make an appointment with the Writing Center so that you have another pair of eyes on your paper; that is a much better choice. We can give you feedback on paraphrasing. Just schedule an appointment with us and we can help.

To get you started with paraphrasing, here is a four step process for paraphrasing that you can also find in the booklet we have created for you, Guidelines for Writing APA Style:Prepared by John F. Kennedy University’s Writing Center, on page 15.

(You can find copies of the goldenrod booklet in the library and in the Office of Student Experience, Room S202 on the Pleasant Hill Campus. On the San Jose Campus, the guidelines are located in the Resource Center.)

It is very easy to get sucked in to an author’s style and, after looking at the way he or she has expressed an idea, find yourself saying, “How else could I possibly say that?”  In fact, there are always several ways to express a given point and you just need to extricate yourself from the original to find your own. If you’re struggling, try the following process:

1. After reading the relevant passage, turn over the page so that you can’t see the way the author has worded the original.

2. Take a moment to absorb the idea; then write it in your own words. Let yourself express it in whatever form emerges, even if it feels awkward. (You can always revise it later.) 

3. Once you’ve got a rough draft of your paraphrase, look back at the original to make sure that you have captured the author’s point without distorting it. (Your own interpretations should be presented separately.) 

4. Make any revisions necessary to make it an accurate, concise reproduction of the idea. 
(John F. Kennedy University, 2009, p. 15)

Warning: paraphrase generators can be quite inaccurate and thus not helpful to the accuracy of your writing. Call or email us to make an appointment with the JFKU Writing Center and we can help.

Read on to learn more about the dangers and foibles of paraphrase generators in The Write Attitude’s post:

The Write Attitude

Editor’s Note: It’s that time of year when even the strongest writers are getting tired and tempted to rely on “resources” that ultimately aren’t that useful.  Thus, we felt it was time to re-run this look at paraphrase generators that might convince you not to give these programs a try!  Believe me, we’re a much better resource than these sites!

Many writers have been hounded by ads for Grammarly, and nearly everyone has been shafted by autocorrect a few times. Here at the Writing Center, we’ve been noticing some paragraphs that are either inaccurate, or don’t sound at all like the rest of the paper. That’s because a new and more dangerous tool is the culprit: the online paraphrase generator.

What paraphrase generators do is intake the original text you’re trying to paraphrase, then spit out a reworded product that allegedly retains the original meaning. I understand the appeal of…

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Help – I’m Procrastinating!

There are lots of gems in a post by the Marshall University Writing Center on the topic of procrastination. Here is one of them:

“Lastly, if you’re really still experiencing a writer’s block if you can’t find anyone to brainstorm with you, and you can’t brainstorm yourself, you aren’t doing yourself any favors by forcing yourself to write something down for extended periods of time. At these points, it’s sometimes best to step away from whatever you’re struggling with and work on something else. Completing other work for your classes like can offer new ideas for your larger papers, raise your confidence, and free up time for your other projects. So, if you really feel like you can’t even brainstorm or make an outline for your paper, sometimes you may have to take a break, but don’t despair! As long as you’re working toward something, you’ll have much less trouble finding the ideas, the confidence, and the time to work when you feel ready.”

You can check out the full post here: The Season of Procrastination


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