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Why “Good Writers” Should Visit the Writing Center

September 24, 2014

by: McKenzie Quattlebaum

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If you’re like me, you might consider yourself a pretty decent writer. You probably grew up loving putting pen to paper, or maybe you’ve just always had a natural flair when it comes to words. You may have had a teacher, a parent, maybe even a friend or two, who praised you again and again for your talents in the ways of composition, or their jealousy when you always aced those essays in Mrs. Whatshername’s class. If this is you, that’s great, but don’t let it go to your head; there is always a way to improve. Sure, Michael Jordan was a good basketball player, but he didn’t stay good by sitting on the couch with a bag of chips watching Netflix, did he? No! He practiced and worked hard with coaches and teammates to become even better than he already was. You’re probably thinking, what is my point in all this? Well, I’m about to enlighten you.

When I began my undergraduate days here at Appalachian State, I had just graduated from a small high school — the kind of school where everyone knows your name and all of your business. One huge advantage of this was that I became very close with my English teacher over the four years she taught me in high school, and she was very supportive of my writing. She always praised me for my abilities, and even convinced me to enter some of it into a contest in which I ended up taking first prize. With all of this encouragement and positivity about my writing coming my way, it was hard to not feel confident. I was blinded by my confidence. I was already good at writing, so there was no need or way to improve.

This is where I was horribly wrong.

I skated by in my Freshman English class, where the abilities I graduated high school with proved to be sufficient enough. Sophomore English was a different story, not because my writing had changed, but rather my eyes were opened to new possibilities. I really learned about the University Writing Center for the first time. I emphasize the “really” because I faintly remembered the guide babbling about it on a campus tour at one point or another, but I paid no real attention to it because, I thought, what would a “good writer” need with a writing center? Two years later, I am a frequent user of the writing center, as well as a consultant, and I’ll tell you why I changed my mind.

In my English class sophomore year, the real purpose of the writing center finally became clear to me. This place was not the “fix-it shop” I imagined before; it was not a place where some snarky grammar-nazi was going to mar my words with a red pen, and tell me how my paper was “all wrong”. That portrait I had imagined couldn’t have been further from the truth. In actuality, the writing center is just a place where people who have a passion for writing collaborate with other writers. We don’t care about your major, your grade-level, or how much you love or hate writing because, at the end of the day, we are all just writers sharing our thoughts with each other. When you visit the center for a session, it just becomes two people talking about a certain piece of work, targeting things to work on, and sharing ideas together.

This is why even us “good writers” should still visit the writing center, because there is never a point in time, in any part of life, where you stop learning or improving. There are always benefits to be had when you have the opportunity to collaborate with another person. Even if you don’t think there is a single thing wrong with your paper, just coming to the writing center and having someone read through it with you can provide benefits you would never imagine possible. So, take it from me, someone who learned the hard way but is now a firm believer in everything the writing center can do for you. Even good writers have something to learn from a session in the writing center, and, in case you haven’t already tried it, I dare you to make an appointment and see for yourself!

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