Wednesday, February 5, 2020

On Not Reading Enough of the Right Books...

About ten years ago, one of my creative writing professors was curious about where I learned to write.  I had finally admitted that most of my stories were science fiction, and that most of my reading choices were similar.  Unlike my classmates in the MFA program, I had never been a huge fan of "literature."  I love a good book, yes, but I don't seem to have the attention span for great books.  Getting through them is a real struggle for me — it should be no surprise that I usually earned B's in my college literature courses.  For an English major, I wasn't exactly the best reader.

On Reading the Fantastic and Writing the Meh

I learned to write when I was "young."  As a sixth grader — all of eleven years old — I developed a fixation on The Lord of the Rings.  And also Dungeons and Dragons.  With character sheets on one corner of the desk and hand-drawn sketches of a "hobbit swashbuckler" in the other corner, I put all my attention to the beautiful blank page before me: the story.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

UDL Project: Universal Design for Learning in English Composition

To provide new resources for my students, I've started a new website that applies Universal Design for Learning to Writing Courses like English 101.  Much as I love Blogger, I'm finding that Google Sites offers somewhat more flexibility in terms of layout and organization, so I've been starting the site from scratch rather than continue on my Intro to Fiction and Poetry website at

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Uncharted Neurology of Writing

Presentation Slides for the 2019 CTLT Teaching and Learning Symposium.

 In neurology, imaging studies have shown specific locations in the brain associated with creativity, word recall, and the physical act of placing symbols upon the page. With these insights, we could theoretically come up with ways to better “coach” the brain to maximize student writing abilities. Neurologically speaking, variations in access to the digital world “wire” our students in different ways, and these differences may both enhance and limit their abilities to convey thinking through writing. But if we draw too heavily from neurology, there is an inherent ethical risk of imposing unfounded biological assumptions about the “normal” brain upon the unique skills and personalities of individual students.

In this presentation, I will discuss recovering from a wrist injury in Afghanistan, and how the physical limitations of that injury affected not only my ability to place words on the page, but the capacity to express thoughts. From there, I’ll look at the ways in which emotional investments have further affected my capacities to process and compose ideas. I will contemplate how my experiences may apply to our students, particularly in light of contemporary concerns surrounding “digital natives,” trigger warnings, and disability studies.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Changing Directions: The Story of a Website

I started 12Writing just over ten years ago.  At the time, I didn't know enough about websites, about teaching, or about writing.  But I was confident.  I was convinced I could do better than others who teach and write online.

And I was wrong.  So as I turn my thoughts forward, here are some reflections on the past.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Addressing America's Racial History

A presentation giving at the Center for Teaching and Learning Symposium on January 10, 2018.

Embedded Presentation: 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Digital Autography: CWCon 2015 Presentation Slides

How do we assess writing students in a digital world where personal relationships remain largely untheorized?

External Link to Presentation Slides

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Books for Small Children - My Recommendations

When I was little, my favorite book of all time was The Little Engine That Could.  My mom says she read it to me so often that she had the book memorized.  Apparently, so did I - if she turned to the wrong page and kept reading from memory, I would call her out on it.  (Which would probably explain why she was tired of my not reading on my own...all the more reason to teach your children early, yes?)

Now, we had many books at home, but there were always those few that stood out.  With my own son, I'm finding the same phenomenon - there are certain books he loves, and he will keep pull those out from his little cubby while others gather dust.  Some of these books are touching, others are beautiful, and still others just beg for small fingers to touch their pages.  Here's a short list of favorites.

Read Your Toddler Books All Day - Even If You Never Finish One

Yes, everyone knows you should read aloud to your child.  It's common wisdom - read a book at bedtime, instill a love of reading.  But is that really enough?  I don't think so.  Instead, find those quick opportunities for all-day reading.

Image courtesy of 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Manage Yourself Past Writer's Block

Let's be honest - I hate time management.  I hate the thought of planning out my days, of regimenting my writing.  I prefer the idea of inspiration, like breaking the rules and ignoring your muse. But there are days when even that doesn't work. That's where time management comes in.  And the acronym CREATE (Chunk, Read, Eat, Associate, Time, and Endeavor).
Yes, you can manage your time.  But it might get messy.  Not like this picture, which is disturbingly optimistic in it's portrayal of personal control.  (Original image courtesy of Stuart Mills on

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Spoon River Poetry Contest

The Spoon River Poetry Review (SRPR) announces its Editors' Prize Contest

First Place Prize: $1,000, publication, and introduction written by prominent outside judge.

Entry Fee: $20, includes one-year subscription to SRPR (two issues).

DeadlineApril 15, 2014 (postmark)

Submission: ONLINE as well postal

Click on for more details!  Or simply visit their website for the submission form and more.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Life Writing: A Bridge Between Writers and Researchers

Hello, writers.

If you check this website often, you will undoubtedly noticed a lack in activity. Ryan, Emily and I have been tangled in work and personal obligations, but hopefully as the semester winds down we'll be making more regular posts here.

Anway, on to the post!

As a rhetoric studies person (the only one at 12Writing), I spend most of my time looking at other people's writing instead of creating my own texts. I tend to think less about aesthetics and more the work that writing does in the world. If you think it seems strange that I am working on a creative writing website, you wouldn't be wrong.

Traditionally, the was an invisible wall between rhetoric studies and creative writing studies in the academic world and often this wall extended outside of the university to artist and researchers outside of academia. This wall has been breaking down in recent years as interdisciplinary studies and hybrid writing gains popularity, but old habits die hard, as the saying goes. This habit is the reason for my post today.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Writing Workshops: The How-To of Sharing Your Work

Hey there, Fellow Writers!
Here's a list of blog posts describing the writing workshop process and what to look for as you seek your own workshop.

More Tips for Writers

General Writing Advice and Tips

(Coming Soon!) 

Looking for ways to improve your writing? We have compiled some websites that offer you tips and tricks to make your writing life more productive.

Your Writing: Tips for Getting Started

Hello Writers!

Here are some links to pages with advice for getting started. There is all kinds of different advice from what to eat to be more creative to different writing prompts to get your creativity flowing. Enjoy!

More Tips for Writers

Publishing Your Work

Hello Writers!

This page is dedicated to information about getting published. These links will help you get ready to publish, how to find a publisher, and how to avoid literary scams. Publishing can be a drawn out, ugly process. Let these links be your guide.

More Tips for Writers

Just for Fun

Hello Writers!

Writing is serious business, but sometimes you just want to have fun. Fun is what this page is for! We've collected several quirky, silly, funny, and interesting links about writing and literature. These websites and videos make for quick diversions that not only entertain, but may just stoke your creativity. Enjoy.

More Tips for Writers

Revising Your Writing

Hello Writers!

Revision can sometimes be a difficult and confusing process. Fortunately, we have compiled a list of guides and articles about revising and workshopping. Now matter how difficult the process is for you, remember that revising is just a way of making your work better.

More Tips for Writers