Written by: Ethan M.
As a creative writer, I certainly wish there were more of us in the University Writing Center. I think it’s a running joke among consultants that we don’t get very much fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, etc. This is a shame, because in my experience, being a part of the UWC has been indispensable in my own writing.
Consulting has taken my writing mind and formed it, like a ball of clay, from a self-judgmental and irritable lump to a forward-looking, enthusiastic sculpture of a hand with a pen in it. I catch myself off-guard often. Before I enrolled in W397 and became better acquainted with the UWC, I would always work myself into frustration, hoping that my best work would come from the tips of my fingers onto my keyboard with little effort. The ideas were supposed to be there, ready to dive into my story and get me published and famous. But, before I would even give myself a chance to think or warm up, I would grow impatient and have a hard time moving forward.
After a semester and a quarter at the UWC, I can say that my internal voice has gotten much more polite and welcoming, and sometimes I almost catch it starting to say, “Hi! How are you today? What’re we working on today? Have you been to the Center before?” when I sit down with my notebook and pen. If I don’t already have a plan of what I’m going to write, I start off slow with a warm-up exercise, and allow the ideas to begin to flow.
Not only has working with clients helped slow down and cheer up my mind while writing, but being around so many dedicated and intelligent fellow consultants makes the process of producing my own work so much easier, as well. A writer needs readers, and I know that if I ever have questions about the quality of a particular line, the believability of a plot point, or where I should go next in a story, there are dozens of reliable readers I have in everyone that I work with. Stress diminishes when you know the team around you is confident and all you have to do is play.
While we might not have waves of writers coming in to work on flash fiction or poetry, screenplays or braided essays, I don’t think it lessens the value that I’ve gotten from the Writing Center in my own work.