Writers of Mason

To view full PDF transcripts of the interviews found below, please follow this hyperlink.

Sidra Ahmed

“After high school, I went back to my country and I found out that my grandfather wrote a journal entry every day, and since he has passed away, it was cool to sit with my cousins and read his life story.”

Sarah Baker

Josie's Bat Mitzvah
“Writing is about risk.”

Eva Batts

Batts, Eva
“Trust your instincts and start outlining.”

Katlyn Bennett

Katlyn Bennett
“I always feel better, smarter, and stronger when I write.”

Katie Branca 

Branca, Katie
“Getting workshop feedback… is basically a little bit like plugging your nose, and diving into a pool and then having a chorus of people singing at you underwater, and you can’t breathe or talk, or anything.”

Jeannie Brown-Leonard

Jeannie Brown-Leonard
“I hope that as we learn to be writers and scholars that we are reminded that if this doesn’t feel right, this set of conventions for writing this paper doesn’t feel right, know that it’s not the only way to express yourself. Not to think of writing as ‘a’ thing but lots of things.”

James Bruniany

“Up until fairly recently (shhh), I didn’t know how to use semicolons. I would always just avoid them and use commas instead. I would say it’s a writing style.”

Matt Buchholtz

“If you are trying to communicate ideas, you want to be clear and concise and very specific.”

Tanya Bychvoska

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“From my students, I usually get feedback that, ‘she’s not a native speaker and that’s why she understands what we are struggling with.’  It’s not the overwhelming majority, but in many cases, they appreciate that (especially maybe in writing since it’s not speaking or pronunciation) they really appreciate that understanding.”

Melissa Carroll

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“Just being able to read out loud, realizing, ‘oh that sounds the same,’ and then picking and choosing what out of that doesn’t make sense.”

Andrew Cartwright

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“Ultimately, what you have to write is worth writing. It might not be worth publishing according to other people, but it’s worth writing, worth putting those words out into the world, and worth putting it down on paper for you to use later.”

Lorelei Crerar

“I hate writing an abstract when I don’t have a paper to write it from. They’re very useful, but coming up with what you’re going to say before you’ve said it is difficult.”

Justin “Turtle” Cromartie 

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“I love haikus and sonnets, but free verse is my specialty just cuz I don’t like structure. I also enjoy writing short stories, but I usually just come up with them off the top of my head.”

Summer Claveau

“I believe it is voice that normalizes the language.”

Austin DeRay

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“…We are all good writers because we all keep practicing the craft. To be a good writer is to practice the craft.”

Anna Diaz

“The challenging thing about fiction and creative nonfiction is the vulnerability of it, and just being brave enough to spill what you’re thinking about onto a page, and hand it to someone else.”

Kim Eby

Kim Eby
“I always try to re-read papers. I will read it with a different intention in mind.”

Brianna Epps

Brianna Epps
“…I enjoy being able to find what it is that I don’t know and then practically understand it and be able to turn that into my own words and write about it.”

Indigo Eriksen 

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“We need to read and discuss and share and support writers who don’t traditionally get that space. So it might be you know writers of color, women writers, poor writers, international writers, or novice writers. We just need to broaden what we think about when we think about who deserves to be read.”

Doug Eyman

"Doug Eyman"
“It’s easy to imagine an audience that likes what’s you’ve written, but that’s not necessarily the audience you’re going to get.”

Sarah Fischer

Sarah Fischer
“If you had to describe your idea for a paper to me in 3-5 sentences, and you could only use 3-5 sentences, what would it be?”

Kelly Foster

“Writing is a way of accessing myself.”

Donald R. Gallehr

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“I cried every time I wrote, but it was, in some ways, it was a good thing for me to do. It wasn’t easy, but it was the right thing to do.”

Mark Ginsberg

“Read more. The more I read the better I write.”

Lacey Graybeal

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“Set aside a large enough amount of time that you’re making it worth it to sit down and write.”

John Graybeal

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“The feedback I consistently get is ‘you know the dark and stormy night approach has some problems and it’s a lot better if you just state your intentions as soon as possible, every single time.’  I’ve gotten better at that, but that’s  one of the things that just keeps coming up.”

Dakota Goergon

“Right now I’m working on a project for Your Juicery that entails researching and writing nutritional facts and benefit to display on the wall panels of the store. I like this work because it allows me to see the progression of the project from start to finish.”

Thalia Goldstein

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“There’s a beginning point, and an endpoint. You may have to go 7 different directions before you get there, but you will get there eventually if you just keep working on it.”

Barbara Gomperts

Barbra Gumbart *Summer Check Spelling!
“With painting I can be creative, but in my writing I’m using a different side of my brain. I would like to be able to bridge that gap one day.”

Kailey Graham

Grahm Kaliey
“I think that’s the most interesting thing about poetry. You can say things so much more quickly with metaphors and imagery.”

Alana Hackes

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“I think that what makes a good writer good is knowing that you need to become better and to accept and be open to constructive criticism. And to not only accept it but to yearn for it.”

Josie Harler

“My friend Liz and I are trying to write children’s books. We want to educate kids about certain topics, simplify things so they can understand.”

Leigh Harrison 

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“What is it that Thomas Mann says? ‘A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.’ I think that that’s definitely true, and that’s probably something that more students especially need to know.”

Tamara Harvey

“My new book looks at how women in the 17th century thought about the globe. Part of my argument is that scholars tend to not think about how women would be theorizing the world because women were seen as outside those kinds of discourses.”

Seth Hudson

Seth Hudson
“A good writer is flexible in their ability to ascertain and then synthesize ideas.”

Rohma Hassan

“My advice to writers is to listen to more than just your own inner critic.”

Judy Hu

“In the past, it was more just practicing my writing and becoming familiar with writing a research paper. Now, I’m trying to make this project have an impact.”

Arvinder Johri 

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On painful, true writing: “I want that pain as of now, because that’s important to the entire process. Otherwise it’s not authentic. Then it becomes trite for me.”

Sojung Kim 

Sojung Kim Photo
“To emotionally or psychologically encourage myself when I have low motivation, or writer’s block, I try to write all of the advice or compliments I get from my senior professors or from my mentors regarding my writing.”

Brittney Knight 

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“Write what you want to write and don’t worry about what it’s saying just yet.”

Andrew Krell

“I want to tell as concise and clean a narrative in my professional world as I possibly can.”

Misty Krell

“It’s easy to be overly critical of yourself when writing.”

Angela Kolas

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“Just start writing and then go back and revise and revise and revise.”

Michelle LaFrance

“Behind the written word there is a person, and people sometimes struggle, but when we persist our ideas get better.”

Debra Lattanzi Shutika

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“As a creative writer, what I found is that I have to think a great deal about not just the audience per se, but about trusting the reader.”

Susan Lawrence

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“I love writing, but I need an outline. I want to sketch. I want structure. I don’t want to feel like I’m stepping off a cliff. I want my road map once I’m sitting down to officially [write].”

Karen Lee

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“I don’t think of my writing as particularly creative, but I write to communicate and convey information, not to convey feelings or thoughts like a book.”

Bethany Letiecq

Bethany Letiecq
“Maybe that’s even a broader message: not just coveting time, but building support networks that allow for you to withdraw so that you can immerse yourself in your work and emerge on the other side with your stories.”

Laura Lukes

“Why do we care about it? Why does it matter? Scientists have to be able to distill all that other stuff into that one sentence: why do we care?”

Serge Magnavox

“Writers get so serious with our writing, but I think it’s good to step down and say, if you were a child writing right now, where would you go with this?”

Janna Mattson

Janna Mattson
“Just get feedback.”

Zachary Mangen 

Mangen, Zachary
“To be an effective writer you need to expose yourself to new mediums because you can learn a lot from other people’s work.”

Ryan McDonald

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“…with creative writing, in a way, you leave a little more room for the reader to be in the tavern arguing, so to speak.”

Katie McKinley

“I learned to become a good writer by being forced to write lengthy papers.”

Clare Moore

“I think all writers relate to the experience of having an idea in your head that seems great–completely developed, interesting, ready to go–and then trying to write it down on the page and having it come off flat and boring, or just being unable to find the words at all.”

Barbara Montgomery

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I want to be able to enact change. And I want to be someone who can help empower other people.”

Logan Murray

“That’s part of the beauty of writing. You can grow in your craft. You can’t ask for anything better than that.”

Abiral Pandey

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“I have always had a mindset that I don’t have to read to become a good writer, I just have to write. But I’m realizing that that’s not the case. I really have to read a lot of material in order to become a good writer.”

Rose Pascarell

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“It’s about giving yourself the time to reflect and think about what you are going to say and how you are going to say it, before you even touch a piece of paper or the computer.”

Lenore Pedicord

Lenore Pedicord
“Write as if your work is going to be read aloud to someone.”

Tom Polk

“Sometimes I write good things, and sometimes I struggle a bit more. And sometimes, even if it’s good, we can make it better.”

Laura Powers

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“It wasn’t until I started being more active with reading the news, reading books, watching documentaries, listening to podcasts, that I could tell my writing was starting to get better. Because not only was it in more informed, but I was kind of a sponge, starting to take in other people’s writing.”

Psyche Ready

Psyche Ready
“There’s no such thing as a natural-born good writer or bad writer.”

Shelley Reid

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“Writing is still hard for me. I start all of my classes with that sentence: ‘Writing is hard.'”

Anne Reynolds

Anne Reynolds
“You lay in bed and think about all the things you have to do. I find if you just start writing it down.”

Taylor Rinehart

“The hard thing about biology is that you’re often writing about other people’s research.”

Larry Rockwood

“When you write for a scientific journal, they’ll kill you for any little thing.”

Randa Saad

Randa Saad
“When I came to the States, I never knew if my professor would think my writing was good or not. I never know what the expectations are for a Ph.D. student in the U.S.”

Elizabeth Siebel

“The way to get a reader invested in your writing is to make them feel things.”

Bruna Soria-Galvarro

“Reviewing your work over different times and different days, and having someone look over your work, is important.”

Kylie Stamm

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“A really hard thing to convey to students that I am working with is that it’s okay to be raw; it’s okay to express it however because that authenticity is what makes [us] connect with other people.”

Jen Stevens

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“You always think of the negative stuff, and that is what you always focus on.”

Theresa Stratton

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“I’m not Maya Angelou or [Gwendolyn] Brooks. I want my voice to come through. I want them to say ‘this is a different voice.’”

Benjamin Talamentes

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“In my mind I’ll have one thought, and five minutes later it’s something completely different, but once you put it on the page, it’s just there. It can’t change.”

Meklit Thomas

“Formal writing is hard, but the thought process that has to go into it is harder.”

Laura Todd

Todd, Laura
“The oldest advice is write about what you know, but you also need to figure out how to write about what you don’t know.”

Susan Trencher

Susan Trencher
“It’s when you get to really be who you are.”

Lauren Tuckley 

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“A quote that sticks with me is that ‘prose is architecture, not interior decoration.’  I like that idea. First and foremost, writing should be as clear as possible.  Writing is communicating – the words shouldn’t get in the way.”

Bethany Usher

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“Computers I think have driven us to more, not less writing. And part of this is being comfortable with that and seeing that all writing is important.”

Elizabeth Vana

“For my poetry thesis I’m writing about humanity and monstrosity and where the line is blurred, where it intersects, and how these two things affect our daily lives.”

Judith vanBever-Green

“I don’t think it helps your writing if you are isolated by yourself.”

Patricia West

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“I learned to communicate on paper because it was a good way for me to get my thoughts out there and not be self conscious.”

Megan Wray

“If we bring in more information off the paper and into people’s minds, it will have an effect.”

Ashley Yuckenberg

“In my senior year of high school, I had an AP English teacher that didn’t like my style of writing. He called my writing choppy. I would go to him and ask, ‘Why is this choppy? Explain to me how I fix this.’ He couldn’t articulate that for me.”