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Writer’s Toolbox 2020-2021

Explore Your Creative Side!

Polish Your Skills!

Learn Something New!

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(s) in which you are interested. 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.

Fall Workshops to Be Online: Enrollment to Open October 6, 2020, at 10:30 a.m.

In compliance with health and safety guidelines designed to limit the spread of COVID-19, Princeton Writes will not be able to offer in-person instruction this fall.  While there is no substitute for the camaraderie and interactivity that our classroom fosters, professional growth can also take place online, and we are pleased to present the workshops below over Zoom between October 15 and December 17.

We hope these workshops will help you strengthen both your communication skills and your ties with one another at a time when these skills and ties have never been more critical. To ensure a positive online experience for all, we will limit enrollment to eight individuals per workshop and, in the interests of access, offer each workshop twice.

Please register, as usual, through the University’s Learning Center. A Zoom link will be sent to you on the day preceding the workshop.

Fall Workshops

Connection, Not Perfection: An Introduction to Public Speaking

The ability to speak effectively in public is a critical but seldom taught skill. Neglect is often compounded by anxiety, but with practice and guidance, public speaking can be an exhilarating experience for both speaker and listener. This workshop emphasizes the importance of forging a connection with your audience rather than achieving oratorical perfection. It explores 10 ways of enhancing your oral presentations, from the organization of your content to your method of delivery, with the ultimate goal of expressing yourself more confidently and persuasively at Princeton and beyond. Instructor: John Weeren, Director, Princeton Writes

October 15, 2020, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
December 1, 2020, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Good Catch! Editing Your Work and Others’

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

October 22, 2020, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
December 17, 2020, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Handle with Care: Bringing Out the Best in Email

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

October 29, 2020, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
November 5, 2020, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

When Life Becomes Art: How to Create a Compelling Personal Essay

Have you ever tried to write about a life-changing experience or special moment but couldn’t get it onto the page? Whether you want to speak out about an issue, capture your favorite family stories, or enter the Princeton Writes Staff Essay Contest, this workshop can help you get started. We will pick up tips from some of the great essays of our time, dust off our own creative writing skills, and learn how to build a memorable personal essay. In this workshop, we will stare down the dreaded blank page and get some ideas on paper! Instructor: Stephanie Whetstone, Assistant Director, Princeton Writes

November 12, 2020, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
December 3, 2020, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Grant Writing for Fun and Funding: Convincing Others to Invest in Your Vision

Grant writing is sometimes described as a necessary evil—another box to tick or bureaucratic hurdle to overcome in order to get on with what you really want to do. This workshop reframes grant writing as a necessary and valuable skill that allows you to present the most compelling version of your abilities and ideas. We will discuss how to read—and read between the lines—funding agencies’ calls for proposals and how to accordingly tailor projects in ways that remain true to your interests. While each funding call and proposal is unique, we will address the general strengths and weaknesses of the genre of grant writing and use these to establish general guidelines for persuasive communication with grant reviewers. We will then write and edit short project pitches that can serve as a basis for full grant proposals going forward from the workshop. Instructor: Elizabeth Durham, Senior Graduate Fellow, Princeton Writes

November 19, 2020, 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
December 10, 2020, 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.