DukeWrites Interviews Writing Tutor Shilyh Warren

Today we welcome Shilyh Warren to share her thoughts on tutoring and her other work at Duke’s Writing Studio.

How long have you worked as a writing tutor at Duke?
This is my 4th semester at the Writing Studio.

Describe your particular approach to tutoring.
I try to tailor my approach to individual writer’s needs, but there are some things I always try to keep in mind. Most importantly, I want writers to feel comfortable and safe during our session. This means I ask people how they feel about their writing, what else is going on in their academic lives, and what they need to feel more confident about their work. I also focus on trying to give writers tools that they can use after our session on future work, such as reverse outlining (my personal favorite) and revising for clarity and concision (my personal challenge). The truth is that writing is hard work, and it opens you to critique and engagement from a variety of sources. It takes guts to write, and it takes courage to share your writing with a stranger. So, my goal is be a compassionate and competent interlocutor for every writer.

What do you think are the most useful resources at the Writing Studio?
The people! We have a stellar group of people working at the Writing Studio. My colleagues are intelligent and dedicated scholars, who take their work seriously. I’m always impressed by sessions that I have the opportunity to observe or overhear. There are days in the Writing Studio where you can almost hear sparks flying between tutors and writers.

Tell me about your work on the Writing Studio’s newsletter.
The newsletter gives me the chance to write in a free and less formulaic way. Since I’m a young scholar, who is still trying to navigate the treacherous waters of academic publishing, I appreciate the chance to write short, pithy articles about a range of writing topics. I also love working on publishing software, where images and funky text bring the words to life. Each month the newsletter brings together diverse voices and features work that we do in the Writing Studio beyond our daily tutoring, such as events and contests. Check out our latest issues and tell me what you think!

Where can readers find the newsletter online?
Current and past issues of the newsletter can be found on the Writing Studio’s website.

What do you do when you’re not tutoring?
Juggle! Well, not really, but it certainly feels that way. I teach classes in film studies at NCSU, and you might also find me in Duke classrooms, where I TA and teach. Hopefully, you might also see me working on my own writing, since I’m busy these days applying for academic jobs and polishing scholarly articles on feminist film studies. I’m also the proud mother of two young boys, so I frequent Durham’s fantastic playgrounds, nature trails, and ice cream shops.


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