Common Issues with Writing from Inside the Mind of the Tutor
During my last two years of college, I worked at the university’s writing center. I was able to work with not only my peers, but also with professors and other faculty members who needed help. We tutored writers with every type of writing, and we worked on any aspect of the writing process. I feel fortunate because my ability to see such a vast amount of writing has helped me to grow as a writer. Throughout my time there, I noticed some trends:
1. Confidence – This is probably the major problem with most writers. Writing is usually a very personal thing, and people have a fear of rejection. They are timid for someone to read their writing if it is not up to par. They find it easier to say, “I’m just not a good writer.” People tend to be very adverse to any sort of criticism. However, you must put the fear aside. It is not the easiest thing to do, but it is one of the best ways to help advance your writing. If you plan on writing on any large scale where many people are going to be viewing your work, you have to be willing to accept the criticism. It’s impossible to please everyone, so there will always be someone who doesn’t like what you write. Take ownership of what you write and have some pride in it.
2. Criticism – Use this to your advantage. This goes hand-in-hand with confidence. When people receive a little criticism, they tend to back away. Criticism can be a very positive thing. By listening to your critics, you can grow as a writer. It can help to have someone to give your writing to before you make it public. Let them serve as your personal critic and editor. Critics can offer valuable suggestions and help you to realize flaws that you usually gloss over.
3. Read Aloud – Now this one may sound a little strange to some of you. Whenever you write something, sit back and read the piece aloud. Yes, I literally mean for you to speak the words as if you were telling it to someone else. When we write, we become so used to seeing what we have composed that our eyes can often overlook mistakes. If we read the writing to ourselves aloud, our ears can often catch many of the mistakes that our eyes missed.
4. Patience – Writing is not something that happens overnight. For some people, writing is natural. They can sit down at the computer, and their fingers just type. It is second nature for them. However, for the majority of people, writing is a process. It is difficult and time consuming. Most people are not born as natural writers. It takes a great deal of practice to develop into a quality writer.
5. Individuality – As much as people like to streamline things, it does not always work for writing. There are so many different styles and genres of writing. Be yourself with your writing. Do not conform and try to emulate someone. It is okay to pattern yourself after someone’s style to help you grow as a writer, but you still need some uniqueness. Everything from your first idea to your final draft, do it in your own special way.
Most of these ideas may come across as obvious or common sense, and that’s because they are for the most part. However, we often forget to do these simple things that could vastly improve our writing. I am guilty of not always following through with the same advice I give. We often get in a rush and forget to do the little things that could help enhance our writing. If you already partake in these practices, than I am happy for you. I realize some of these suggestions may not work for everyone though. Give it a try, and maybe you will be able to help yourself become the writer you want to be.