Stage Fright

By January 21, 2011Peer Writing Tutoring

I have always been fiercely defensive about my own writing. As a teenager, I remember composing my very first piece of what we now know as Creative Nonfiction. I thought it was beautiful. Perfect. Heartbreaking. Clearly, I was destined for a Pulitzer. So of course I remember the feelings of humiliation-and then panic- that washed over me as I overheard my mother proudly reading it to my grandparents over the phone.

My point is this: writing, in any form, is a fundamentally personal act. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a paper for school, a diary entry or a text message. Whatever it is, it was carefully composed, reworked and reworded, until its writer felt that it conveyed precisely what they wanted to express at that moment in time. It takes a lot of courage for a writer to bring their work to the Writing Center, and even more courage to admit that they’d like to become a better writer.

As a new tutor this quarter, I’m going to have my hand in someone else’s writing process for the very first time. Is that scary, you might ask? Yes. Totally. But it’s also exhilarating. It’s a pretty hefty responsibility, and I don’t take it lightly. The writers I’ve shadowed so far don’t either. Some come in freaked out and wondering where to begin, and some are pretty confident in their work but just want a second set of eyes. All have been trusting and appreciative and so fun to work with.

So yeah, I’m a little nervous. But mostly, I can’t wait to dive in and get my hands dirty. What these writers, and my new colleagues, may not realize is that I’m learning even more from them than they are from me. And I’m really, really grateful for that. Bring it on, Writing Center.



Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • This post was very well written 😀
    I did have stage fright when i first started my blog….
    but now i am over it… 😀
    Don’t be nervous……You will do great 😀

  • This post was very well written 😀
    I did have stage fright when i first started my blog….
    but now i am over it… 😀
    Don’t be nervous……You will do great 😀
    Kick some butt 😛

  • natdesjardins says:

    Thank you! Though the way I see it, nerves are good. Keeps me on my toes!

  • kmstoffel says:

    I like your post and as another new tutor I feel the exact same way. Writing is so personal, but it’s also so great when other people are able to be involved with the process as well whether it be in a workshop or during one of our tutorials at the Writing Center. Good luck with everything!

    • natdesjardins says:

      Thanks! I think one of my biggest challenges so far has been
      shifting my initial view of writing as a personal activity to a more
      widely-encompassing view of it as both personal and social.

      I’m glad someone is right there with me…good luck to you too!