Out of frustration
I expect more: no
investment in their ignorance
false sense of knowing—typical
manifestations, publishing
misinformation, diagnostic
taxonomy, despite all our
noise. Overlooked or
misrepresented, a doer—
an agent—a creator. The idea
of a writing center? No
algorithmic rules, no
fix-it shop, no writers’

Rather, ideas
and ideals, subsuming
all the rest. Centers of
consciousness where
writers wrestle to revise,
battle with illiteracy,
disturbing the “ritual”
of composing.

A continuous
dialectic—its own end.

*All words are taken directly from Stephen M. North’s essay, “The Idea of a Writing Center.”

Rob Linsley

I worked two years as a Peer Writing Assistant at Lansing Community College. Recently I presented at the 2017 East Central Writing Center Association Conference. My presentation was titled “Imagination in the Writing Center: Assisting Creative Writers.” As for my creative writing/center process, seeing this call for submissions made me realize that I have seen my writing self as two sections that don’t meet: the writing center/academic writer and the creative writer. However, I realize now that there are many intersections of these two selves. For example, sharing my own personal writing in creative writing workshops helped me learn more about how I can be sensitive in assisting writers in the writing center. In fact, my work processing my own issues through creative writing helped me assist a writer working on a deeply personal academic essay. Another intersection is the way my advice to writers has worked itself into a permanent corner of my mind. I’ll sometimes start writing something and think it’s horrible then realize, “A rough draft is just that: a rough draft.” When I feel uninspired, I remember what I often tell writers: “Try free-writing.” My writing center work has helped me become a better creative writer and vice versa; the two are deeply intertwined.

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