Giving others feedback on their writing is one thing– having someone give me feedback is a totally different experience.
I write, well, all the time. It’s almost the only thing I seem to do. Out of this, I’ve come to be pretty confident about my writing ability.
Despite this, I recently sat down with another writing consultant to experience the process from the other side of the table, and now, I understand why so many people come in to the Writing Center saying, “don’t judge me, but…” or “it’s really bad, but…”
It can be stressful! Even I thought it was a little stressful, and it’s what I do to fund my coffee addiction. As soon as the idea I was developing came out, I waited, just knowing that I would sound dumb or that the idea was uninteresting, as though there was some perfect writer that one can aspire to be who makes no mistakes and doesn’t need help developing ideas.
I didn’t. It wasn’t. Writing Consultants don’t judge. We listen and help.
Luckily, my experience in the consultant chair quickly made my fleeting nervousness in the writer chair dissipate. It seems like 75% of the appointments I have begin with some kind of apology for mistakes or the simple act of seeking help. Even though I’m used to saying something about how there’s no need to apologize, and that the Writing Center is a place to learn and get practice, I still found myself hesitant to just get a little extra help.
So, apology unaccepted. The simple fact that there are no perfect writers means that every writer is totally justified in having questions. The Writing Center isn’t the “hot seat.” We understand getting feedback as part of a writer’s process!