The Writing Center

Myths About the Writing Center

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Myth #1: The Writing Center is only for inexperienced writers.

Reality: We can help people who aren't experienced at writing, certainly, but some of our best work is done with those who know how to write and who want some help along the way. Our tutors are very knowledgeable about writing, and can help no matter what experience level you're at.

Myth #2: The Writing Center "cleans up," "fixes," or proofreads my papers before I submit them.

Reality: The Writing Center promotes writing as a process; as such, writers shouldn't make the Writing Center their last stop before a paper is submitted. The Writing Center is a place writers can come at all stages of writing, and writers are encouraged to come in at the earliest stage possible -- whether that's at the brainstorming stage, the outlining stage, or the drafting stage. We will, of course, look over any final drafts you may have, but we won't fix the problems within the draft ourselves.

Myth #3: The Writing Center will make my writing perfect.

Reality: We won't make your writing perfect, but we can certainly help you to make it better. In fact, talking about your writing with a tutor can make you a better writer.

Myth #4: Writing tutors possess all knowledge about writing.

Reality: No one knows everything about writing. While our tutors know quite a bit, there may be times when they don't know the answer to the a question and will work with you to figure it out.

Myth #5: The Writing Center can't help me with my writing.

Reality: The only way the Writing Center couldn't help you is if there were a "perfect writer," which simply doesn't exist. We can help you at every stage of your writing process -- from coming up with ideas for your paper to paper revision to your final edits. We can also help you with writing concepts and techniques.

Myth #6: I can drop off my paper, come back later, and it will be corrected.

Reality: The Writing Center's philosophy is that writers can best improve their writing through a process of feedback with readers, rather than simply having their papers "corrected." As such, we promote a one-on-one environment where writers interact with tutors to improve their writing and their process.

Myth #7: Bringing my paper in shortly before it is due will significantly improve its quality.

Reality: In fact, if you're bringing a paper in an hour before it is due, you haven't left yourself any time at all to do a thoughtful and useful revision of the assignment you are working on. We strongly encourage writers to build the Writing Center into their writing process and bring their work in a few days before it is due to allow ample time for revision and reflection.

Myth #8: Tutors will read my paper ahead of time.

Reality: Tutors see enough writers per day that this is not only impractical, but simply undoable. We also think it's better when both the student and the tutor review the paper at the same time so that they can discuss any questions or reflections in real time.

Myth #9: Tutors know all the material in my program.

Reality: Tutors do not do any of the readings for any program on campus other than the ones that they are enrolled in as students themselves. Tutors depend largely on writers to inform them about their assignment and whatever reading was necessary for that assignment. Thus, bringing a written copy of the prompt or instructions from your faculty can significantly improve the efficiency and accuracy of your session.

Myth #10: Appointments are required at the Writing Center.

Reality: While it's recommended that you make appointments, both the Tacoma and Olympia Writing Center's accommodate and welcome drop-in writers looking for writing help. Although we may not require appointments, we do recommend that writers make an appointment in order to ensure that they can see a tutor at the time that they come in. This is especially recommended during our peak times in the first and last two weeks of every quarter.