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  • Annie Marks

"I'm Sorry": Words You Never Have To Say At The Writing Center

Hey everyone! It’s Annie again! This week felt like a whirlwind, as I’m sure you can relate. After a full week of virtual learning and playing in the snow, most of us found it rather hard to transition back into in-person classes. To help us take a little break at the end of this crazy week, I want to talk about one of the most common lines said at the Writing Center.

“I’m sorry.” We hear this line all the time here at the Writing Center. When a writer first hands their paper over to a tutor, the writer will often apologize for their writing because “it isn’t good enough,” “they’ve only written one draft,” or “it needs a lot of work.” Even though the tutors always tell the writer that they don’t need to apologize, the tutors often say this same line when they have another tutor or friend offer them advice on their writing. I know I’m guilty of saying this same line myself and you may be, as well.

As writers, we often apologize when we share our writing with others.

Although no one needs to apologize for their writing, it makes sense that both writers and tutors say “I’m sorry” so often. Everyone apologizes because writing is an extension of one’s self. A person uses their writing to express their thoughts and beliefs. They spend a great deal of time forming their words together to convey what they want their audience to know or believe. So, when they hand this writing over to another person, they put ourselves in an extremely vulnerable position. They give another person the power to read and evaluate each word, sentence, and paragraph they spent so much time forming. This other person can dissect their writing and tell them whether or not the writing is “good.” Since the writer is aware of the power they give another person by handing over their writing, the writer believes their writing will not be good enough and apologizes in response.

Sharing writing can be vulnerable, but you don’t need to apologize when you share your writing with us!

Here at the Writing Center, we completely understand that many people feel vulnerable when they share their writing. Not only are we very glad that so many writers trust us to read their writing, but we will also never tear any person’s writing apart. We understand how writing is an extension of one’s self and, as such, every piece of writing is as unique as the person who wrote it. When we’re given the opportunity to read these unique pieces of writing, we love to find and point out the many strengths within the paper. We will note areas that could be improved in addition to those strengths, but those suggestions are merely to enhance the great writing that the writer has already crafted. So, you don’t have to say “I’m sorry” at the Writing Center because we believe your writing has many strengths and represents your thoughts and beliefs!

During tutoring sessions, we’ll enjoy reading your writing and pointing out your writing strengths!

Of course, removing the line “I’m sorry” from the Writing Center is much easier said than done. You can learn that you don’t need to apologize for your writing by incorporating the following steps into your writing process:

1. When beginning the writing process, take a moment to remind yourself that no piece of writing is ever perfect. Shift your focus from perfection to creating a piece of writing that you are proud of. Additionally, remind yourself that the writing process will allow you to improve as a writer. View this process as an opportunity for growth.

Remind yourself that no piece of writing will be perfect!

2. Before you even consider what areas need improvement in your writing, take some time to find your strengths. Find three areas you are really proud of yourself for creating, whether these areas be a well-crafted sentence, an insightful thesis, or something else. Then, find three areas that fulfill the purpose you had for writing the paper or the requirements of your assignment, such as a strong paragraph that supports the central argument of your writing.

Find areas of your writing that you would give a “thumbs-up”!

3. If you still lack confidence in your writing, consider which areas of your writing are causing your lack of confidence. Maybe you feel that your arguments are not cohesive or your introduction is too bland. Once you identify those areas, write them down, schedule an appointment at the Writing Center, and ask the tutor to focus on those areas during your session.

Stop by the Writing Center so we can help you with areas of writing you aren’t confident in!

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and I hope to see you at the Writing Center soon!


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