Who Comes to the

Writing Center?

September 1, 2018 by Dave Beasley

One of the most pervasive myths about university writing centers is that they are only for “bad” or “broken” writing. This seems to be a deeply held belief among many students and even some faculty, but it is also seems to be the kind of thing that is not spoken about in polite company. I am here to tell you that this is not the case at any writing center I am aware of, and it is certainly not the case at the UNLV Writing Center. I have regularly had consultations with superb writers, and I am continually amazed at what I learn from the writers who come in to our Writing Center, at the depth of their knowledge, at their passion for their subject matter, and at their ability to communicate complex ideas in an accessible manner. In short, I am often jealous of the writing I see. I am never, however, surprised at how “good” something is because so many good writers come to the Writing Center to meet with us.

There was a time back in the dark ages of writing centers when being sent to the writing center was akin to detention or some other form of medieval-seeming punishment. Dark days indeed. Happily for everyone, this is no longer the case. My point here is that coming to the Writing Center for a consultation is not something to be ashamed of or to feel bad about. Why feel bad about trying to improve as a writer? All of us can always improve our writing. I regularly meet with a consultant in the Writing Center on my own, and I am the Professional Writing Consultant!

Lots of writers use the Writing Center and the other writing resources available on campus. People from all over the university: tenured faculty, graduate students, upperclassmen, first-year students, native speakers, multilingual writers, and more, come to the Writing Center. Sometimes they are struggling, but more often than not, they recognize the benefit of a second pair of eyes on their writing. They know what all good writers know: that feedback and revision are valuable tools to make use of when writing. They also know that working with a Writing Center consultant often saves time in the process because they receive real-time feedback from a consultant during their appointments. What’s even better, they can ask the consultant questions and be asked questions. They can engage in a dialogue with someone before turning it in to be evaluated by a professor. This is great because you can’t go to your professor’s house and stand over their shoulder, and say, “Wait, what I meant here was…” while they are grading. That would be awkward for everyone. But you can come to the Writing Center and engage in dialogue with a reader.

So, come to the Writing Center. Walk through the door with pride. Don’t be ashamed, and don’t convince yourself that something must be “wrong” with your writing to come to the UNLV Writing Center. Come take advantage of a free university service. We don’t guarantee better grades, but we will guarantee that we will do our level best to help you grow as a writer. You don’t even have to have anything written. We can brainstorm your topic with you, help you develop a thesis, or help you come up with an outline. If it’s writing, we can help. Except legal documents. If that disappoints you, check out my picture on our website. Do you really want someone who looks like me to advise you on anything that will legally bind you to something or someone? Trust me, you don’t.

I hope to see you all soon!