Before I joined the UCWbL team as a peer tutor, I had an image of the Writing Center tutors all being literature majors that sat up in their ivory tower judging everyone’s writing. I didn’t care how much my professors urged me to take my papers there; I was too afraid of my writing being laughed at. Writers, I hope that by the end of this post, I can convince you that all my assumptions about the UCWbL couldn’t have been more wrong.
I’m not sure what spark of bravery caused me to apply as a peer writing tutor to the UCWbL, but I’m glad. Never have I been a part of such a genuine community working towards one goal: helping writers write. Between learning the techniques of writing tutoring in class and observing other tutors in face-to-face and written feedback appointments, I’ve witnessed a broad range of strategies for working with all kinds of writers on all kinds of writing. Though each tutor or theorist has their own way of tutoring, each always comes back to what is best for the writer, in the end. Even when a writer brings in a paper they are really struggling with, or even if they don’t understand a grammar rule some of us may have learned years ago, I have yet to see a tutor scoff at a writer or judge them as I so strongly expected, and I doubt I ever will.
As a writer, I often wanted to schedule an appointment or send in a draft for written feedback, but was afraid to unless my paper was in near-perfect condition—to which it’s never even close until minutes before it’s due. But now, as a tutor, my favorite appointments are when writers bring in early stage drafts, or even better, before they even begin writing. I love brainstorming with writers, guiding them through an outline, or drafting a thesis.
So, writers, don’t be like me. Don’t let your writing struggle because of some completely inaccurate vision of the Writing Center I’m afraid far too many people hold. The Writing Center is a welcoming, friendly place where writers help other writers and talk about writing. No fear necessary!