Frequently Asked Questions and the Writing Process | Fitchburg State University
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Frequently Asked Questions and the Writing Process


Do I need an appointment?

Not for walk-in tutoring; we have writing tutors on staff throughout the afternoon and early evening available for walk-in help if they are not already booked with appointments. You can make an appointment with a writing tutor ahead of time in SSC. Making an appointment guarantees that your tutor will be able to work with you one-on-one for a full 30 minutes. If you have any further questions, stop by Hammond 306 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to talk with Tutor Center staff about writing tutoring options.

How much time should I schedule for a writing tutoring session?

Plan on 20 to 45 minutes, though it may be longer or shorter, depending on where you are in the writing process. You may not get through the entire paper or touch on all of your concerns in a single appointment. This is completely normal! We encourage students to return after doing some independent work to move on to the next step with a tutor's guidance. Writing is a process that takes time to complete.

Can I just drop off or email my paper and let someone fix it?

No. We do not make direct edits on your paper. You are the author and we want you to be actively involved in every step of the writing process! Instead, we explain writing options so that you will be able to improve your writing and the assignment.

The Writing Process

Writing is creative. Writers wander through several stages, moving from planning to revising to drafting, back to revising, and so on.

To develop your writing ability and enhance your writing spend adequate time on the planning and drafting stages. Focus on "big picture" or main ideas of the paper that address the thesis, organization and development of ideas.


  • Do my ideas fulfill the requirements of the rubric?
  • How do I best get across my main messages to the intended audience?
  • What is my thesis?
  • Do my ideas and evidence support my thesis?


  • Does my outline or graphic organizer help me logically organize my ideas?
  • Does my draft clearly demonstrate critical thinking?
  • Does my conclusion summarize all my ideas without introducing new points?


Would my writing be better if:

  • I moved this information to another paragraph?
  • I rephrased the thesis to emphasize an idea?
  • I included a variety of support (research, examples, analogies, in-depth explanations)?
  • Are my arguments concise and do they make sense?


  • How well do my transition sentences help the flow of ideas?
  • Do I use any filler words and phrases?
  • Do I use confusing or overly complicated sentence structures? Do I use the passive voice?
  • How do I blend a quotation into the main argument?
  • Does my word choice strongly support my ideas?


  • Did I use spell check, grammar check, fix/replace functions and then re-read?
  • Do I repeat myself anywhere? Do I use the same words again and again?
  • Did I read my paper aloud to listen for mistakes?
  • Are my citations accurate?