“Ask A Specialist” (June): New Blog Feature

Welcome back!

Do you miss writing yet? Many of you (over the age of 21) may feel like this Adam@Home comic strip as you work on summer “projects”:

adam@home June 2014

However, to remind you of the joys of writing, we’re unveiling a new monthly feature for the blog: “Ask a Specialist,” where we pose a writing-related question for our Writing Specialists to answer. (Our next edition will be posted upon our full staff’s return in the fall.)

At our final staff meeting in May, we asked the following question:

Describe the best piece you’ve ever written. What was it and why did you like it? What made the writing fun?

Here’s what some of our specialists had to say:


The best thing I’ve ever written was an essay for my women in lit class at De Anza College for which I won the Carolyn Keen Essay Writing Prize. It discussed feminist theory mental illnesses in the context of short stories and novels. The subject matter was interesting for me, so I was engaged and eager throughout the process.

This might sound nerdy and academic, but the best thing I’ve written (so far!) was a term paper for Linguistics 203, a course in Cognitive Semantics. I wrote about the cognitive metaphors that led the American Founding Fathers to incite the Revolutionary War. It was a fascinating window into a formative period in American life, and I loved it because it combined my two favorite subjects: history and linguistics!


I really enjoyed writing a graduate research paper on the intricate similarities between the Chicano and African American Civil Rights movements. This was an interesting and fun paper I was able to present at a conference. The writing was fun because the content was personal and informative.


Our Office Coordinator Pat joined in as well:

For a History of Africa course in grad school, I wrote an annotated bibliography of readily available African films. I scoured public and university libraries and found 34 films, most “well-loved” VHS copies. Watching so many films in so many languages from so many parts of Africa was both exhilarating and exhausting, so the writing was the easy part. I approached the films from the perspective of what the film says about culture of origin and how the film could be used in the classroom. It may not have been a properly formatted annotated bibliography, but it was a useful, fun document.

What can we discover from these answers?

Writing about something you care about can actually make an assignment fun!

So, the next time you get assigned a paper, ask yourself the following question:

Rather than picking a topic that would be “easy” to write about, why not pick something that’s interesting to me?

You’ll probably be pleased by the results–in both your grade and enthusiasm for the subject.

Thanks for sharing, Writing Specialists!




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