Monday, October 1, 2012

Writing Consultant Highlight - Lindsey Burke

Writing Consultant Highlight
Lindsey Burke

Lindsey is a sophomore Math major and transferred to Cedar Crest from Temple University. As you will see from Lindsey's answers, she is a "real" student; she deals with the same writing stresses as many students and manages to get through them with an eloquent paper. As for a hobby, she is anything but typical.

See below for Lindsey's insights:
As a writing consultant, you know how to put a paper together, but what is your writing process like?
Outlines truly save each and every one of my writing assignments. I used to be too lazy to use them, but I was also terrible with organization. So my first approach to a functional outline included the categories I intended to talk about, and I gave each of these sections a title. I filled in these areas with complete paragraphs, and then took the “titles” from my outline and combined them to make a thesis statement.  

For me, it was easier to make my paper appear more organized by composing the thesis statement last and basing it on what I had already written. Lastly, I would round it out with a full introduction and conclusion, and piece everything together while checking the flow and transitions. And of course, revise, revise, revise.

Let’s face it: No one is perfect. What is your biggest writing challenge?
My biggest challenge as a writer is to filter out the stress of the assignment, and keep a clear head in order to be sure that the argument is strong. When deadlines feel too close, it becomes more difficult to focus on my argument and supporting evidence. “Accidental procrastination” is my biggest hurdle because the stress it brings can keep me from concentrating.
How does your major help you become a better writer? How has Cedar Crest helped you become a better writer?
If I’m being honest with myself, I’m not convinced that math helps writers. Unless you’re calculating the acceptable adverb to word count ratio, there really is no correlation (although ironically the first time I heard the word “correlation,” it was in a math text book, so who knows! Maybe it helps more than I think?). Yet, Cedar Crest has been a wonderful environment to practice writing in. Almost every class requires writing samples from its students, which allows for more practice with helpful feedback.
What is something interesting not many people know about you?
For a hobby, I would really love to be a certified scuba diver one day.
What is your favorite book? Why?
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is my favorite novel because it is so beautifully crafted. I admire the setting, the intricate characters, the direction the plot takes, and how perfectly these components work with one another. The book is about an experiment with morals, and it presents the most fascinating ideas using such graceful language.  
What is your general advice to writers?
Never stop reading, because it really is the best exposure to the quality work we all aspire to produce. Published work offers readers lessons in grammar, vocabulary, sentence variation, and methods of keeping things interesting.


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