MFA Creative Writing: Fiction
Writing Center Assistant Director
Intern with the Center for Literary Publishing and the Literacy through Prose and Poetry Program
“Freight train of ambition”
What is the Writing Center? What is it doing that we should know about?
The Writing Center is a free resource on campus for students to learn techniques in order to become better writers. We try to help students understand rhetorical concerns, including audience and purpose, in order to learn how to produce great writing. The Writing Center is doing awesome things right now: this year we have a new Director, Dr. Lisa Langstraat, who is really passionate about making the Writing a Center a welcoming, accessible place for every student on campus, regardless of background or writing skill.
What is your current role in the Writing Center?
I am the Assistant Director, so I’m mostly on the administrative side.
What does your typical day of work look like there?
I’d love to say there’s a typical kind of day, but there never is. I keep up with our email and scheduling system, as well as manage things on the ground level in the Writing Center, so a typical day can include giving classroom presentations about our services, processing payroll and budget materials, meeting with the other directors, talking through situations with consultants, greeting students as they walk in—once managerial duties are done, I’m kind of the “where can I be most useful today?” person.
What is one of your favorite things about the Writing Center?
I love the people I work with. Our team of directors is so passionate and our consultants are kind, knowledgeable, and motivated. I couldn’t ask for a better crew.
Based on your Writing Center experience, what are the three most important pieces of advice you have for student writers?
1. Start early. Procrastination causes student writers way more stress than it needs to.
2. Focus on your audience and purpose above all else. If those are in line with your assignment, everything will fall into place.
3. Revision is the most important part of any piece of writing: academic, creative, or professional. Get your terrible first draft done, and then dig into it. I don’t mean sentence-level edits. Never turn in a first draft.
What is your major? What classes are you taking?
I’m in the MFA Creative Writing program for Fiction. I’m currently taking the Fiction Workshop with EJ Levy and Form and Technique in Fiction with Leslee Becker. I’m also doing two internships right now with the Center for Literary Publishing and the Literacy through Prose and Poetry program where I teach poetry to 4th graders.
What are you reading/writing? What are you currently working on?
I’m currently reading The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton and I’m writing my thesis, which is a novel set in the early 1900s at a circus.
What is your favorite book and/or who is your favorite author?
My favorite book is The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. My favorite author embarrassingly fluctuates with everything I read, but I’m currently in awe of Aimee Bender and Julia Slavin.
This feature is called “Humans of Eddy,” but Eddy is currently being remodeled. What are you most looking forward to when the department moves back into Eddy?
Seeing familiar faces on those crowded stairs! We are all so spread out right now, and I am excited to get everyone back where I can corner them more easily.
What’s the most important or interesting thing you’ve learned so far at CSU?
To trust constructive criticism. It’s hard to share your work with others! But being open to suggestion and criticism has changed the way I write and even think about writing in such a positive way.
What advice do you have for English majors?
Build solid relationships with your cohort, program, and professors. They’re going to be the ones to get you through your degree in a way no one else can understand, and they’ll be valuable contacts once you leave school.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’m a freight train of ambition, so I can see myself in a lot of places! Editing, publishing, writing. Mostly, I hope I’m happy and writing in five years. Anything will suit me as long as writing and happiness is involved.