The Writer’s Studio – The Writing Center at Midwestern Seminary & Spurgeon College

Welcome! Our purpose is to equip Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College students with the
resources, tools, and skills they need to become stronger and more confident writers.


Have a question on a common writing, research, or grammar issue?

Check out our helpful online writing resources.

International student? Multilingual?
Our new English Language Support / ESLResources section is designed to provide helpful links and materials for students who speak English as a second or third language.

Writing Coach

Brainstorming? Trying to organize your research? Have a question about citations or formatting? We’d be happy to help.

Meet with a Writing Coach:

Writing Workshops

There are no scheduled workshops at this time

Attend one of our upcoming Writing Workshop events.

Need Help?

Still can’t find what you’re looking for?

E-mail us at We will make every effort to respond within 1-2 business days.

Note: We encourage you to e-mail us from your MBTS e-mail account. To ensure that student and faculty writing needs are met first, addresses will receive priority.

Upcoming Writing Workshops

Writing workshops are free and are open to Midwestern and Spurgeon students of all levels and programs – graduate and undergraduate. All are welcome!

Our plan is to offer all fall workshops in a hybrid on-campus/online format similar to the Residential + fall course format. Students may sign up to attend in person or virtually, via Zoom.

Wed 20

Writing Workshop: Organizing Your Paper

October 20 @ 11:15 am - 12:00 pm
Nov 10

Writing Workshop: Why Paragraphing is Important

November 10 @ 11:15 am - 12:00 pm

Writing Coach:
In Person / On Campus

Sit down with a writing coach here on campus to ask questions, talk through ideas, get feedback on your writing, and/or to learn new writing skills and strategies.

During the first few weeks of the semester, no appointment is needed for the on-campus writing center! Feel free to just stop by with questions or with a paper that you’re working on during the hours listed below. Writing assistance is free and is open to all Midwestern and Spurgeon students.

Location:  MBTS Library, Conference Room 104 (to the left as you enter) 

Fall 2021 hours (beginning Monday, August 30th):
Mondays: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Tuesdays: 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Thursdays: 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Fridays: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Starting Monday, September 20, we will be offering individual and group appointments during the hours listed above. Walk-ins will still be welcome, but students with appointments will receive priority. Click the button below to select an appointment time:

Select An Appointment

What to bring:  You are always welcome to just talk writing or ask questions.  If you’d like more in-depth help with a specific writing assignment or paper, though, we’d recommend bringing along the following materials:

  • a copy of the assignment instructions
  • the course syllabus
  • if you’ve already gotten started, any work you’ve done so far (such as a list of brainstormed ideas, an outline, or a draft of your paper)

Questions?  Contact us at

Writing Coach: Online

E-mail us at at any time with questions and/or to set up a video conference with a student writing coach. We will make every effort to respond within 1-2 business days.

Note: We encourage you to e-mail us from your MBTS e-mail account. To ensure that student and faculty writing needs are met first, addresses will receive priority.

If you’d like to set up a video conference with a student writing coach to ask more in-depth questions or to get feedback on a writing project, please e-mail us at with the following information:

  • What would you like help with?
  • If you are working on a particular paper or project, what class is it for?
  • Where are you in the writing process (e.g. brainstorming, researching, organizing ideas, developing a thesis, drafting the paper, etc.)?
  • Are there particular questions or concerns you’d like to address?
  • Please give two possible days and times during our online support hours (see below) that would work well for you to video conference with an online coach.

One of our writing coaches will respond within 1-2 business days to schedule a video conference with you. See more on that process below.

Fall 2021 hours (beginning Monday, August 30th)
Mondays: 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Tuesdays: 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Wednesdays: 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Thursdays: 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Fridays: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Video conferencing process:

Once a conference is scheduled, you will receive an e-mail invitation to a Webex video conferencing meeting. (You will not need to download WebEx or any other program; you will just need to make sure that you have internet access, as well as video and audio capability on your device.) The e-mail will include a link you can click on to accept the meeting and another link you can click on to join the meeting at the scheduled time. Your writing coach can walk you through the process should any questions arise.

Online Writing Resources

Writing Studio Handouts

The Writing Process

A brief introduction to the plan/draft/set aside/revise process and how it can improve your writing

Download: The Writing Process

Developing a Strong Thesis Statement

Learn what a thesis statement is, why it’s such a crucial part of academic papers, and where it fits into your paper’s structure. This handout also provides strategies for developing great thesis statements that are both interesting and effective.

Download: Developing a Strong Thesis Statement

Organizing Your Paper

Once you have a strong thesis statement in place, how do you organize your paper around it? In this handout, we look at specific tips for organizing your ideas and research into clear arguments, choosing a logical order for them, and then using a working outline to keep track of your plan.

Download: Organizing Your Paper

Companion Handouts:
Sample Working Outline (annotated)

While paper requirements vary, this sample working outline demonstrates one possible way to plan out a research paper that builds a strong case for a chosen thesis statement. Used with permission.

Download: Sample Working Outline

The Benefits of Developing a Working Outline

Is it really worth the time to develop a working outline before sitting down to write a paper? Absolutely. This handout points out some of the key benefits of working through this process.

Download: The Benefits of Developing a Working Outline

Title Page Template MSM3

Need help formatting a title page for your paper? This free template (created by writing coach Miranda Renfro) meets the new formatting requirements set out in the 3rd edition of the Midwestern Style Manual.

Download: Title Page Template MSM3

Online Resources and Links

This “Tips and Tools” page (put together by University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s Writing Center) has a great collection of handouts on various writing skills and issues, ranging from how to use quotations effectively to evaluating sources to questions of grammar and style.

This webpage, created by Indiana University (IU) Bloomington’s Writing Center, includes links and PDF handouts on a variety of key writing strategies and skills.

Purdue University’s OWL (Online Writing Lab) has some great online resources.  The menu on the left-hand side of the page includes links to writing tips, explanations of grammar and punctuation, and practice exercises.

This Assignment Calculator (created by the University of Minnesota) is a great resource for large projects – specifically research papers, speeches, and lab reports.  Select the writing task, enter the current date and the project’s due date, and the site will break the process down into manageable steps for you, giving target dates for each.

English Language Support/ESL Resources


Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (American English)

Translating from one language to another?  Need to look up how to say a particular word or phrase in English?  This free site provides translation help between English and 18 other languages, including Chinese, French, German, Korean, Japanese, and Spanish.



Academic Phrasebank (University of Manchester)

This helpful website provides phrases for all kinds of situations that come up in academic writing and presentations, such as giving an example, comparing and contrasting ideas, or defining a key term.

“Definite and Indefinite Articles” (George Washington University Writing Center)

This web page defines definite and indefinite articles and explains how they are most commonly used in English.  The page also includes a handy flow chart for determining which type of article is needed in a given sentence.

ESL Resource Page (Purdue University)

Purdue’s Online Writing Lab (OWL) has a lot of great resources in general.  This particular page has materials and links specifically designed for ESL students, including several helpful tutorials and practice exercises on verb tenses, parts of speech, and punctuation.

ESL Student Resources (Washington State University)

This page, developed by Washington State University, provides links to materials and practice exercises that cover a wide range of topics, from academic writing and citations to English grammar, vocabulary, and usage.

ESL Resources (Boston University)

Boston University’s page of ESL resources includes a lot of varied material.  Highlights include links to free online dictionaries, videos on culture shock and adapting to the U.S., and materials designed to help students with grammar, vocabulary, usage, and pronunciation.

“Plagiarism and ESL Writers” (Purdue University OWL)

Not all cultures quote or cite sources the same way. As a result, international students who are not fully aware of Western expectations for quoting and citing sources can sometimes run into unintentional plagiarism issues.  This web page explains how American schools define plagiarism and why it’s considered a serious issue.  The page also provides tips on how and why to quote and cite when doing research and writing papers for American universities and seminaries.