The Writing Center with Candice & Candace
We don’t often think of writing as a team sport. From cover letters to a 10-page paper analyzing the electoral systems of European and African nations, writing in college can often feel like a marathon. This race against the clock to develop creative thesis statements and succinct closing paragraphs can make writing seem like a chore rather than the challenging, creative, and rewarding activity it’s meant to be.
Thanks to my 53 (and counting) appointments at the writing center, enjoyable writing has become a common experience in my college career. Think of the writing center as a brain training facility. Your equipment includes scrap paper and pencils, comfortable couches, bean bag chairs, and cubicles for coaching sessions along with large tables for group collaboration. By far, my favorite thing about the Writing Center is my coach Candace. While I did choose her to be my coach because of our shared name, the fact that she’s coached me throughout my three years at Carolina speaks volumes for her outstanding work.
Similar to any sport, coaches at the writing center ensure that writing is no longer a private struggle as they push you to reach your writing goals. When you’re stuck, a coach is there to jump start your thinking process and listen to any ideas you have. If you’re on a roll, your coach is available to encourage you while guiding your writing progress for grammar and clarity.
But what do writing coaches do exactly? The way that a coach works is entirely up to students, giving them ample opportunities to learn about their personal writing process. Whether students want to talk out loud, reverse outline, brainstorm, or color map, diligent use of the writing center can help you become a better writer by teaching and training you to write using your strengths.
My best writing usually starts when I articulate my ideas out loud before putting pen to paper. Candace and I often go back and forth filtering my ideas to make sure that my creativity and knowledge of the topic stay in line with the stipulations of my prompts. One of the most useful techniques I’ve learned at the Writing Center is reverse outlining. Going through every paragraph to make sure that it is tied directly to the thesis statement results in a final essay that is clear and convincing. This can be a long process, but it’s crucial to ensure that your work can stand out from the crowd.
Add on the major availability of the center, which is open from Sunday to Friday during the academic year, along with late night writing boot camps, this campus resource is more than willing to meet students halfway. If you can’t meet in person, submit your draft online for feedback or pick from over 80 different online handouts for help with a variety of common writing roadblocks.
Whether you only come in with a prompt or have a finished piece that looks perfect, an appointment at the writing center is always a good idea.
The Writing Center’s main location is Student and Academic Services Building (SASB) North with a second location at Greenlaw Hall, Room 221.
Schedule appointments, submit drafts for an online writing appointment and find writing handouts at writingcenter.unc.edu