Getting to Know Writing Studio Tutor Margaret Swezey

Continuing a tradition started earlier this year, DukeWrites interviewed one of the Writing Studio tutors, Margaret Swezey.

How long have you worked as a writing tutor at Duke?

This is my second year at the Duke Writing Studio. I also worked for 4 years at the UNC Writing Center, and I taught undergraduate writing and literature at UNC.

Describe your particular approach to tutoring.

My main goal is to help each writer grow as a writer, which I see as being much more important and far-reaching than any single writing project. In sessions, I tend to ask lots of questions, and try to explore different possibilities and options with the writer. I may respond as a reader, explaining what I thought, how the writing affected me. In keeping with my goal of helping writers grow, I offer strategies, tools, and resources that can be used in other writing projects.

What do you think are the most useful resources at the Writing Studio?

The Writing Studio has so many useful resources! Our website features wonderful handouts on different aspects of the writing process, genres of writing, and writing in different disciplines. I use the handouts on concluding paragraphs and reverse outlining a lot. I’m also a big fan of using colored pencils and highlighters throughout the writing process.

Tell me about your work conducting workshops at the Writing Studio.

The Writing Studio offers writing workshops for classes and other departments upon request, as well as a writing workshop series Wednesdays 2-3 pm in Perkins Library. Each week in the workshop series focuses on a different topic, such as Organizing a Research Project, Improving Your Writing Process, and Clarity and Conciseness in Writing Style. These workshops are free and open to everyone in the Duke community. More info about the workshops is available on our webpage: I enjoy doing the workshops and try to tailor them to the individual workshop participants, when I can.

What do you do when you’re not tutoring?

Now that I’ve finished my dissertation, I’m enjoying the good, small things in life that got put on hold for a few years, including catching up on my sleep, enjoying the outdoors, reading fun books, seeing friends, and having fun with my nieces. And spending time with my cats.

Where and when can writers find you this semester?

Mondays 10-1 in the Art Building, and in Perkins on Wednesdays 10 am – 1 pm and on Tuesdays and Thursdays 7-10 pm. And the workshops on Wednesdays 2-3 pm, also in Perkins!


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