The Consultant Diaries: Learning about Being Quiet

Hey there! Welcome to my very first Consultant Diaries post. I’m Erica, and I’ve been working at The Writing Center for exactly one semester (and a half).

I absolutely love working at The Writing Center. It’s not a boring on-campus job where you’re doing the same thing every day. I mean, you kind of do the same thing every day (you consult people, obviously), but each consultation is different and there’s something new to learn from every single one.

This week, I’ve learned about the importance of being quiet, of sitting back and letting the client think or just take off writing. In WRA 395, the class you take to become a consultant here, we called this “letting the client lead the session.”

For instance, the other day I had a client who wanted help writing a cover letter. She had never written a cover letter before, so I spent a few minutes explaining the general requirements for content and organization. The client took notes while I explained all this. Then suddenly, she dove in and started writing her intro paragraph. I just sat there and let her write. She got stuck and asked me for advice. I gave her some, and then she started writing again. So I sat there and let her write. And so we continued for most of the session.

It felt weird just sitting there because I didn’t feel like I was helping the client. But then I realized that what I was really doing was letting her follow her own writing process. And that always leads to the most success.

Those are my words of wisdom for the week. I’ll be back in a couple weeks. Until then, drink some tea, write a lot, and come say hi to us at The Writing Center! If you’re lucky, there will be chocolate in the bowl on the counter. =)

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