Why writers shouldn’t be afraid

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!

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Rachel P. says:

    Great post, Michele! I think a lot of people are afraid to share their writing with others, and I’m so glad you’ve shared your story of overcoming that fear. Hopefully others will find this inspiring enough to try collaborating with others, too! 🙂

  • Emily Power says:

    I love when writers come in during the beginning stages of their work as well! Collaboration, the first of the UCWbL’s core values, is key at this foundational phase. Brainstorming an outline with more than one person makes it easier to catch logical fallacies before they grow their roots in your paper! Thanks for an interesting read Michele =)

  • Jade says:

    I felt the Michele! It’s great to know that I wasn’t the only one who had this misconception of the writing center. But now as a tutor, I’m familiar with writing center process and of course the UCWbL’s number one core value “Anyone who writes anything is a writer”, and I feel more comfortable sending my own writing in for feedback.

  • Jessie K. says:

    Nice post, Michele! I was also always too afraid to bring my writing to the Writing Center. I think if I had read this post back when I didn’t know anything about the UCWbL, I would have been encouraged to come in! 😀

  • Kayla D. says:

    I definitely agree with this post! A lot of the fears that people have about the writing center and about the peer tutors there are definitely not true once you get to know the environment. Hopefully this post will encourage more writers to be involved with the writing center and find someone with whom they are comfortable coming to for all kinds of assignments and pieces of work!

  • Maya S. says:

    Hey Michele!
    I really appreciate your openness in this post. I can totally relate to your feelings of apprehension with having someone read/judge your work , and I honestly still feel this way a lot of the time when I have to get help with an unfinished project or paper. I agree, though, that working at the Writing Center has helped me feel more comfortable in engaging others in my process of my work, rather than just the product.