Writing Support

Below find resources to improve your writing.

    VOCES Graduate Writing Center

  • Receive one-on-one writing tutoring from intensively trained graduate student writing coaches at the VOCES Graduate Student Writing CenterSchedule an appointment here.

    Andrea Seeger

    Andrea Seeger
    The Writing Center
    VOCES Graduate Student Writing Center

  • Writing Psychology, Techniques

  • We often impede our writing success with negative thinking. Explore the advice and techniques of these resources to get positive about and start writing.

    Alison Miller, The Dissertation Coach: Becoming a Writer

    Pomodoro Technique

    The Pomodoro Technique helps you power through distractions, hyper focus, and write in short bursts interspersed with frequent breaks. Set a timer for 25 minutes to do a burst of work, break for 5 minutes, and for every four Pomodoros take a longer break. Use an online or manual timer to avoid your phone timer and your phone’s accompanying distractions. Several online applications can help structure your time using the Pomodoro Technique.

    Having trouble with focus? Use a timer!  

  • Writing Together

  • Join your peers in Writing Together, a structured, weekly writing time during the academic year for graduate students at the Graduate Student Commons. Write for 45 minutes, take a short break to socialize, and then complete another 45-minute writing sprint. Find the weekly meeting times and location on the Commons events calendarSponsored by the Graduate Student Commons.

  • Coaching, Editing

  • National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD)
    UC Santa Cruz subscribes as an institutional member to the NCFDD, providing free access to faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students to its resources, including its dissertation success curriculum. Join and sign in with your UCSC email and password.

    These resources provide writing support, such as copy-editing and coaching, at a cost.

    Defend and Publish (D&P)
    D&P offers a free 30-minute phone consultation and has published a guide (see below).

    The Dissertation Coach
    Alison Miller’s online writing lab offers private consulting, workshops, and group writing support events. (Miller’s presentation to UCSC graduate students on writing psychology on October 20, 2020, is above.)

    The Professor is In
    Karen Kelsky provides help with everything from dissertations and articles to book chapters and also has a useful book of the same name (see below).

    Freelance editors for hire
    Seek referrals or look online for non-fiction editors for hire. Most freelancers are available to work remotely online.

  • Grammarly Premium

  • Grammarly LogoThe Division of Graduate Studies subscribes to Grammarly Premium, providing 400+ points of grammar checking, a built-in plagiarism checker, and learning management system (LMS) integration. If you do not receive an invitation from Grammarly for membership at the Premium level at the start of your first quarter of graduate studies at UCSC, contact Sonya Newlyn at snewlyn@ucsc.edu.

    Premium Features

    • Checks grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice, and style mistakes in writing. You can upload documents, drag and paste, or write directly into a document on the site, and it works in most online text boxes, such as emails.
    • The Grammarly add-in allows you to use Grammarly while you’re writing Word documents.
    • Grammarly’s red underlining is easy to see and clearly marks where the error is, and it is easy to dismiss the advice.
    • Grammarly lets you select American or British English, and you can select a writing genre, useful for writing in different voices for different audiences.
    • It works on Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari.
    • Plagiarism Checker: Especially useful for teaching assistants and fellows, this feature can be turned on with a toggle on the home page.

  • Other Free Online Writing Resources

  • These additional free online resources aid with editing, grammar, spelling, word choice, and checking for plagiarism.

    The UCSC Communications and Marketing Editorial Style Guide provides comprehensive grammar guidance for university communications.

    The Wisconsin-Madison Writing Handbook covers topics from grant writing to grammar and punctuation. Detailed resource materials include:

    • Academic and professional writing
    • Grant proposals
    • Job materials and application essays
    • Proposals and dissertations
    • Reviews
    • Scientific reports
    • Writing process and structure: How to draft, write, review, and finish your paper, including how to use gender-neutral pronouns and an editing checklist
    • Citation and working with sources
    • Improving your writing style
    • Grammar and punctuation: How-to guides
    • Citing references: American Sociological Association (ASA), Modern Language Association (MLA)

    Word Counter ranks frequently used words in a body of text to learn if you’re overusing particular words or to help locate keywords.

    ProWritingAid highlights problems in sentence structure in addition to grammar and punctuation errors. The software looks for common problems and provides substantial feedback to improve writing.

    What is Plagiarism? Take this short quiz from the University of Indiana and use to analyze student writing.

  • Note Taking, Organizing Research, Citing Sources

  • The UCSC University Library offers classes, workshops, and librarian assistance with your research and scholarly publishing. Find and register for events on the library calendar.

    Graduate Student Library OrientationOrients you to the library and helps you get started with practical insights.

    How-to guide for citing sources and links to style guides

    Zotero: In-browser citation tool that collects and stores websites for citations. Video explaining how to use Zotero

    Mendeley: Reference and PDF manager that Mac, PC, and Linux users can download and sync with their mobile devices. The manager also allows users to share references with other Mendeley users.

    EndNote: Bibliographic reference manager, available for download from the University Library website, allows users to insert bibliographies into papers easily and stores, manages, and categorizes reference sources.

    Email a librarian with further questions.

  • Beyond the Library

    Evernote: Manages projects, notes, and online research; edits documents; and records memos. Adds attachments, clips web pages, and adds tags to search and find sources quickly.

  • Transcription Tools

  • Free

    OTranscribe: Has a word processor available to type and automatically saves any transcription and audio files, e.g., MP3 or WAV files, to your browser’s cache—locally only so they do not leave your hard drive. It can be operated from your keyboard with shortcuts to play/pause, rewind, slow down, speed up, format text, fast-forward, and insert time stamps. An especially nice feature is its automatic rewind for a couple of seconds if you pause and then resume.

    Google Docs: Dictation requires using headphones and working in a quiet space.

    Minor cost with speech recognition software

    Amazon Transcribe: $0.0004/second, or $1.44/hour

  • Books and Bibliographies

  • We recommend two books to guide your writing career:

    This UC Davis comprehensive bibliography lists books about writing support for a variety of needs.