I have the privilege of working with different types of writers every day. Some saunter in bewildered by a mandate from their professor. Others stroll by because somebody said we could help them. Then there are those who rush in, breathless and impatient, thrusting their paper at us because it’s due in an hour; others slink in with a penitent confession: “I’m not good at writing.”
What they all have in common is a sense of helplessness. They are either frustrated by what seems like a senseless detour on their path to the professor’s dropbox, or have long ago thrown up their hands at this mysterious thing called writing. They are bound by obligation, but kick against the goads out of mistrust and misunderstanding; they doubt their own skills and our ability to help them. They come to us hoping for a quick fix and, glancing at their watches, become restless as we walk them through the process. Some quit before the breakthrough because they have to go to class, have to go to work or just have to go…but for those who stick around, for those who loosen their grip on assumptions, and slowly let go of defenses, there is always a breakthrough–a moment when a tiny window opens and the light begins to shine in.
Writers who come to our writing center know that writing is hard, but what they learn is that if they push through the hard, they can reach what’s good on the other side. Don’t misunderstand–these are small victories. Cynics might call them inconsequential, but I say that little moments feed into larger ones and those who are brave enough to return will push through a little more.
So, if you’re ready for something to change, my advice to you is: keep pushing!