Writing conferences are a way to help writers revise and improve their writing. The CWC accomplishes this goal by engaging writers in a one-on-one dialogue about their work (or a group conversation if the writing assignment is a group project). Writers can come to the CWC with any type of academic writing, from any academic discipline, throughout the writing process. Among the many types of academic writing students compose at UNH, we frequently see students bring in research papers and proposals, literature reviews, analysis papers, response papers, bibliographies, outlines, lab reports, personal narratives, and portfolios.
CWC writing assistants like to emphasize one very important fact: we love brainstorming and working with writers on earlier-stage development of their writing. We can help writers understand their assignment and figure out a way to approach their writing task. We can act as sounding boards to listen and respond to a writer’s ideas. We can help guide the brainstorming, developing, and outlining process to help a writer find direction and organize the writing process. Because the writing center is focused on learning and revision as a process, we encourage writers to sign up for a conference early on in the writing process.
When you bring a draft to the writing center, your writing assistants will ask you what you would like to work on during the conference, and we strive to focus as much as possible on your goals and priorities. We will also provide our perspective as readers of your writing; for example, we might draw your attention towards an element of your writing that you hadn’t yet considered. At the CWC, we prioritize global aspects of writing first (argument and thesis, overall idea development, organization). As we move through the conference, we might increasingly narrow in on individual sections or paragraphs within your draft. Finally, we might assist with sentence-level aspects of your writing as you look to finish off and polish your writing.
Whatever aspect of writing your conference is focused on, CWC writing assistants believe strongly in collaboration and respect for writers. Writing assistants usually focus on asking you questions and letting you find your own answers. We make suggestions and provide ideas, but we always strive to create an environment in which writers maintain ownership of their work and lead the discussion and revision process.