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What’s it like to be a WB tutor?

November 19th, 2010

Sara Mace - Writers Bureau Tutor

Sara Mace - Writers Bureau Tutor

I JOINED the Writers Bureau in the early 90s, knocking out assessments on an electric typewriter complete with corrector tape and carbon copies for head office.  Less than two decades on, and a good 50 per cent of the work that comes my way does so via email.  And here I am writing a blog!

Interestingly, though, only the technology has changed.  Students still seem to have the same dreams and aspirations; they still visit car boot sales; and they still fall into the same traps.   I still get ratty when people ignore advice and I hope the day never dawns when I’m just not interested in a student’s success.  And they do have success – in spades.

One thing that has been proved to me over and over again, is that the students who make it are those who take on board all that is said to them.   That’s what tutors are for.

One of the principal pieces of advice is ‘check the house-style’.   If you don’t at least try to reflect the publication’s own way of writing, then you won’t stand a chance.   There are some who take not a blind bit of notice of that, and then they wonder why editors don’t leap to snap up their work.   If you can’t be bothered, then why should an editor?

The standard of presentation is key, too.   If copy looks like hard work for a sub-editor, then it probably won’t get beyond base.   It drives me up the wall when someone keeps on sending in assignments that lack mf… and a catchline, never mind anything less basic.

So, as you see, I have not become mellow and sweet over the years.   I have come across kindred spirits, students with whom I feel I get along, but sad to say it’s the irritating bunch who take no notice that spring first to mind.   Some things will never change!

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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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