I am not an organized writer; I am no paragon of efficiency. In fact, this post is materializing as I sit at my girlfriend’s house, crafting one sentence at a time and then backspacing it into oblivion, all while thinking up moves I could make and things I could say at various points. Meanwhile, my girlfriend types away at her homework, and proceeds to be a rather welcome distraction, and…whoa, I have strayed—perhaps I should have planned this out a little…
Sometimes I feel as if my sessions proceed in a similar way, and it doesn’t help that the writer’s focus (it seems to be grammar, usually) often differs from my own (coherence and cohesion, usually). In most sessions I have had, it seems that the writer does not want to spend much time discussing concepts and rhetoric, desiring instead to have their text fixed and to be on their way. Though I think I am ultimately able to address their concerns as well as my own I often feel tossed about in sessions, and I often wonder if we could have accomplished more had we planned the session.
That said, I am unsure of how to approach outlining, as many of the writers with whom I have worked have come to the Student Writing Center having little time to dedicate to their project and wanting to get everything they can out of a single session—I do not think they would appreciate setting aside valuable session time to plan. In addition, my own writing process is one of continual revision and ever-evolving ideas, and while it works well enough for me, I do not think it is ideally suited for one-to-one sessions.
How do you plan your sessions? What moves do you, as a tutor, make early in the session to determine what will be covered?