As I had hoped, working at the CWOVC has helped me to improve my own writing. This has been especially advantageous because I'm currently working on writing my art history dissertation -- certainly the largest writing project I have undertaken to date! From reviewing the writing of Rice undergraduate students, graduate students, staff members, and postdocs, I have had the welcome opportunity to encounter a wide variety of writing styles. I have been able to see what works well in a written work and what doesn't, and it has been an engaging challenge to convey to these writers how to consider their reader when working on a piece of writing.
Some of the most common writing issues that I have helped members of the Rice community to tackle include:¬† constructing thoughtful, effective thesis statements; organizing thoughts clearly and cogently; considering when and how to use passive voice versus active voice; how to best transition from one idea, argument, claim, or section to the next; streamlining overly parenthetical writing that relies too heavily on the use of appositives and asides; improving grammatical constructions and revising awkward statements; and working through English Language Learner (ELL) challenges.
Some of the best advice that I have received and that I frequently suggest is for writers to frequently read their own work out loud to themselves as they're writing and later revising. If you stumble over the words when reading out loud, this is one of the key signs that a sentence or paragraph needs to be rewritten!