Welcome to the Active Voice Blog!

Active Voice BlogWelcome to the Active Voice Blog, the official blog of the Wake Forest University Writing Center. You can find all the information you need about the Center around our main site, but this space is reserved for students, faculty, and staff to share perspectives on writing practices and processes. We hope you’ll find something here that speaks to you!

Zotero 101

viewerE-Learning Librarian Kyle Denlinger recently shared a post on the ZSR blog titled 10 ways to get your citation game on point with Zotero. If you’ve never used Zotero, just wait… you will be amazed on it can help you “collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources.”

The article features 10 ways to use Zotero. Check it out here.


Citation Workshops @ ZSR

3050378171_927f65ee99_oZSR is hosting a slew of workshops to help you better understand how to create and organize citations. Check ‘em out! p.s. there’s one today!

The RIGHT way to CITE Workshops
Do you need help need help with parenthetical citations or footnotes? This one-hour workshop will take students through the basics of both MLA and APA citation formats. We will cover in-text citation and Bibliography/Works Cited formats. Source management strategies will also be covered. Designed for students at any stage of research to help make those citations easy peasy!

Zotero workshops
Students often use web-based tools like EasyBib or Citation Machine to generate citations. Now, Zotero provides both students and faculty with an easy-to-use tool for managing sources and creating citations in a wide variety of citation styles! We have Zotero workshops on weekdays and weekends in order to meet the needs of both students and faculty interested in learning to use this program to organize research and streamline the citation process.

Writing Happiness

4839060832_9ea8f65ef4_oA recent article, Writing Your Way to Happiness, from the New York Times claims just that: “researchers are studying whether the power of writing – and then rewriting – your personal story can lead to behavioral changes and improve happiness.”

According to a study at Duke, college students who shared their personal stories “improved their grade-point average and were less likely to drop out over the next year.” In another study, students who took part in sharing their personal stories “received better grades in the ensuing months.”

So what do you think? Would you consider writing your story?



sotu-logoDid you watch the State of the Union Address last night? No? Well, you can watch the video here. Or you can read it  (complete it fun graphic) here.

But do you want a really cool look into the State of the Union?

The Atlantic recently published an interactive chart about The Language of the State of the Union that “reveals how the words presidents use reflect the twists and turns of American history.” Another tool lets you compare language across presidents. Do you see anything interesting?


Happy Spring Semester

welcome-backWelcome back Deacs. We sure did miss you!

The Writing Center will be open for business starting with limited hours Tuesday January 20. Our full spring semester schedule will start Monday January 26. We are working hard to get our spring semester schedule online and ready for you. Check back soon!

Best of luck today!


Best of Fall 2014

Gosh, what a great semester it was! Lots of great writing center appointments. And lots of great blog posts.

Here’s a look back at some favorites.

– We shared a spooky new word for Halloween with a link to even more!
– We talked about our new writing minor and why you should consider adding it to you academic plan.
– We celebrated National Day on Writing with our thoughts on community + the longest ghost story WFU has ever seen.
– We shared a few thoughts on Contemplative Pedagogy.
– We shared Prof. Phoebe Zerwick’s thoughts on stance (plus her amazing piece in Glamour Magazine)

Plus, a whole lot more! Check out our blog archive to get caught up on Active Voice?

Wednesday’s Word of the Week











ruminate, v.

To revolve, turn over repeatedly in the mind; to meditate deeply upon.”

Once he was done ruminating on his course material, sure he had learned all he could from the semester, he went and rocked his final!”

“ruminate, v.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, December 2014. Web. 10 December 2014.


Tuesday’s Tip


Tips for Those Final Papers

2701841Dr. Ryan Shirey has some great advice for those tackling final papers this week!

1) Write with and in response to any texts that you’re supposed to be using. Don’t wait to “add quotations later.” Your professors want to see you engaging meaningfully with the readings or data you’re using, so if you’re writing a whole essay and then sprinkling that material in later, your work is likely to suffer.

2) Take breaks. It’s tempting to try to do everything in one or two sittings, but building in short breaks can provide an incentive to keep writing and, more importantly, valuable time for your brain to recharge so that you can revisit your work with fresh eyes.

3) Don’t focus on the size of the task but on what you can do in each moment. There’s an old adage that goes: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” If you let the overall scope of the task overwhelm you, you can feel paralyzed. If you focus on writing a good sentence or paragraph, however, you can manage your writing process one step (or bite) at a time.

4) Leave yourself time to proofread and revise. It’s tempting to want to mop the sweat from your brow and close the file once you’ve finished a draft, but make sure that sense of relief doesn’t extend to never reading back over your work. Taking the time to read your work again, especially after a break, can mean the difference between a polished draft and one that is rife with avoidable mistakes. Better yet, take the time to read the essay aloud (either to yourself or a roommate) and imagine how your audience is hearing your words. If you find yourself struggling to catch the right emphasis or rhythm to make your meaning clear, you have a pretty good indication of which sentences might require some work.

5) Reward yourself! Give yourself some treats for each of these steps. If you can delay the gratification of playing that next game of Call of Duty or making that Subway run until you’ve reached a goal, you’ll have all the more reason to focus on the task at hand. If you have to get back to work, though, make sure you’ve set some limits on just how long that game or that meal should last…


BONUS: Visit the Writing Center [the finals week schedule is now up on our website, If you aren’t finding an open spot on the schedule, make sure to sign up for the wait list by clicking on the clock icon next to your desired date.

Tuesday’s Tip: Getting Started

Getting started on your paper is often the hardest part of the process. We recently ran across a cool video that might offer a bit of encouragement.

And if that doesn’t do it, a quote from Anne Lamott just might motivate you to write that first word.

Sample image


check out the archive for older posts