While consulting, it is important to remember that the client’s attention and responsiveness during the consultation is first and foremost- if a client is not interacting with a consultant, then there is no way of telling whether or not they are learning anything from their writing consultation. After observing myself as a consultant, I notice that clients expect me as the consultant to “fix” their writing, and will sit back and wait for me to say something to them about their paper. It is important to remind them that they are equally able to stop me while reading aloud and discuss any problem areas that they hear, or questions that they think of during the consultation.
To write or not to write- that is never the question. As college students and really just citizens of the world the option of not writing isn’t actually an option. The formats of writing may have changed throughout the centuries but as long as there are people, there’s going to be written communication as well. As a Writing Consultant here at the Furman University Writing and Media Lab it’s my job to help make sure that our students and staff frame their writing in the best possible light. Continue reading
As a consultant, my hope is that I encourage writers to feel confident in their writing enough to seek constructive criticism. This criticism will produce better writers and not just better pieces of writing. I think it takes someone who is secure with what they have written to accept suggestions to change and improve it. In my experience, students who come in unsure of their work do not feel comfortable speaking up for their writing choices. I often question writers about choices they made in their writing, not because it is wrong, but because I think it would useful for them to talk about why they made the choice they did. Unconfident writers assume that any questioning from an authority constitutes a wrong answer. I want to help create writers who can explain their choices and discuss potential options for that instance and for other pieces of writing in the future. Continue reading
I hope to be the kind of writing consultant who enables her consultees to reach their full creative potential. North’s essay made me realize that writing is about so much more than just fixing grammatical errors and tidying up a few things here and there. The purpose of a writing center should be to provide an atmosphere of creativity and collaboration in which the writer feels free to let their thoughts flow and consider every possibility.
One of my favorite things about writing for the newspaper in high school was spending time in the publications lab, sharing my ideas with others and listening to their insight as well. I found that the environment—the “inspiration board” on the wall covered with newspaper clippings and intense photographs, sometimes even just words; the sound of people typing madly away at their keyboards and occasionally bursting into laughter over some blunder—provided a uniquely destined space for us to grow and flourish as writers and creators. There is beauty in finding spaces where it’s acceptable to be messy and a little chaotic sometimes. It’s all part of the creative process.
When I need to think about something (whether it is an assignment, a decision, or a life problem), it always helps me to talk it out with someone- so much so that I know I sometimes annoy the people close to me. But I think this is the closest representation of what I want to do for my clients. North illustrates that writers have a similar need by saying, “Nearly everyone who writes likes—and needs—to talk about his or her writing, preferably to someone who will really listen, who knows how to listen, and who knows how to talk about writing too” (North, 439). I found this statement to be incredibly accurate in my own experiences as a client in the writing lab.