Writing Review Rut: Sometimes Change Really Can Be Good! -->

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Writing Review Rut: Sometimes Change Really Can Be Good!

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By Beth Oyler, Writing Consultant

I know how scary it can be to let another person review your writing; whether I ask a friend, family member, classmate, or a tutor for help, I’m always nervous about their reaction. Over time, I also develop a relationship with the person I ask to give me feedback. I like to think of these people as my go-to reviewers: They know me and my writing, so they’ll be able to give me the best feedback, right?

Well, sort of. While I love knowing that the people who review my work understand where I’m coming from and the particular writing struggles I have, it’s also good to change it up a bit.

Recently, I had the chance to have a new tutor give me feedback on one of my final papers for class. While I was a little more nervous than I ordinarily would have been, it was no big deal. When I received her feedback, though, I was amazed. This new tutor was able to point out areas for improvement I hadn’t ever noticed before.

Now that I think about it, this seems obvious. Just like anyone else, tutors tend to create habits, commenting on particular parts of a student’s writing, or have special interests, things that they really focus on that someone else might not. As a tutor myself, I realize that I home in on instances of passive voice in a paper. Passive voice is something I try to avoid in my own writing, and that fact shows in my reviews of students’ work.

Moral of the story: Don’t be afraid to ask different people to review your work! Whether you are approaching family, friends, other students, or a tutor to give you feedback, try asking someone new. You might be surprised at the results! New reviewers bring unique perspectives and can give you a refreshing way to envision your work. Even if that reviewer gives similar suggestions, he or she may phrase them in a different way that “clicks” for you. This is especially useful if you’ve been working with a particular person for a long period of time.

If you’re working with the Writing Center’s tutors or editors, make sure to check out our profiles. You might discover a new reviewer (we have added a few in the last couple of months!) whom you’d like to try. Trust us—we don’t mind and we definitely understand. Sometimes, you just need to get out of that writing review rut.

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