Princeton Writes offers University-wide and customized classes that approach the written and spoken word from a wide variety of angles. These interactive sessions are guided by the premise that even the most accomplished communicator has room to grow and that many shortcomings are common to us all. Learning together – and from each other – can be productive and enjoyable; indeed, even grammar can be fun.
So, using your Princeton netID, visit the University’s Learning Center and sign up for the class or classes most likely to pique your appetite.
Writer’s Toolbox, 2018-2019
The Writer’s Toolbox examines different facets of the written and spoken word, introducing techniques and considerations that are both central to each topic and transferable to others. Taught by the staff of Princeton Writes and guest instructors from across our University community, these two-hour workshops are designed to help you become a more versatile and persuasive communicator. All sessions are held in the Tilghman Classroom, Room E08, Dillon Court East, unless otherwise specified.
Once enrollment opens, anyone with a Princeton netID may register by visiting the University’s Learning Center and selecting the Princeton Writes workshop you are interested in. If you find these workshops to be full, please join the waiting list, not only to take advantage of cancellations but also to help us gauge the level of interest in re-offering them.
Winter Workshops (Enrollment opens Friday, December 14, at 10:30 a.m.)
Every story must be tamed. Despite the short attention span of readers, writers tend to be more verbose than succinct. As William Zinsser famously put it, “Clutter is the disease of American writing.” Yet, there are challenges with writing short. How does one capture the essence of people, places, and ideas in a constrained space? How does one decide what to include when there is so much of potential interest to share? This workshop, which will examine both creative and professional writing, will help unleash the micro-storyteller in you. Instructor: B. Rose Kelly, Communications Manager and Senior Writer, Woodrow Wilson School
January 17, 2019, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Did you know that LinkedIn is much more than just the world’s largest professional networking site? Its 590 million users write and share everything from profiles to posts to presentations to blogs on this influential social media platform. Learn how to develop a strategic yet authentic online presence that will “in”form and “in”spire others within your field or area of interest – and help you share your own unique story. Instructor: Eva Kubu, Director, Office of Career Services
January 31, 2019, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
To be successful, every writer must also be an editor. Our brains are more nimble than our fingers, compensating for mistakes that only the closest reading will uncover. Automated grammar and spelling checks are far from foolproof and provide no help when it comes to questions of tone, concision, and persuasiveness. This workshop will discuss best practices when editing your own and others’ work, highlighting what to look for and how to increase the odds of finding it. You will then have an opportunity to hone your skills by editing a document that cries out for help. Instructor: Stephanie Whetstone, Assistant Director, Princeton Writes
February 14, 2019, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Although email has revolutionized the way we communicate, it is not without pitfalls. Even with the best intentions, we can confuse, offend, or disappoint our readers by failing to exercise sufficient care and sensitivity. This workshop discusses how to craft emails that will further, not hinder, workplace objectives. Having explored the “X Commandments” of effective email – guiding principles designed to both build relationships and convey information – you will be invited to rewrite an email in dire need of a makeover. After all, in the absence of face-to-face communication, we are our email. Instructor: John Weeren, Director, Princeton Writes
February 28, 2019, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Do you ever wonder if you’re using your commas correctly? Do you know when to use a semicolon? Do you remember what a preposition is and what it is supposed to do in a sentence? How do you determine which is the dependent clause? Should you use “me” or “I”? If these and similar questions intrigue you (or if they worry you), join us for a head-to-toe grammar brush up. This is the place to ask the grammar questions you have pondered for years. We’ll work hard to make the worst sentences we can; then we’ll find the best ways to correct them. This workshop will help you go confidently back to your page or screen. Instructor: Stephanie Whetstone, Assistant Director, Princeton Writes
March 7, 2019, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
While sometimes meant to be derisive, these words are music to the ears of humor writers. Who are these humor writers? Basically, people who like to make other people laugh. It’s not as simple as it sounds, though. Yes, writers find that humor is a way to make other people feel good through laughter. But writers also like to make people think, and humor is an excellent way to expose the incongruities of life, to present new ideas, or to suggest changes. From adding spice to your blog posts or personal essays to making your emails or presentations more palatable, humor can be a valuable tool. But that tool can have a sharp edge. Used incorrectly or in the wrong circumstance, humor can be a writer’s undoing. In this workshop, we will talk about the various forms of humor writing and when to use them. With examples from well-known writers as well as classroom exercises, we’ll also explore techniques of humor writing, including surprise, exaggeration, metaphors and similes, self-deprecation, and word play. Instructor: Kathy Taylor, former Director, Alumni Affairs and Communications, Office of Alumni Affairs
March 28, 2019, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.