Maria Howe

Senior, Consultant since Fall 2012

Advice for writers
If you’re having trouble starting out, just try to throw an idea on the paper. It can be the most vague thing you’ve ever articulated. A good writer doesn’t always know where his or her paper is going when they get started. What makes a writer good is the willingness to edit, and then edit and then edit some more. Your first inklings trickling out onto the page don’t have to be full sentences, or be dazzling or even make sense. This might seem like the barest of bones, but you have to give your ideas the time and nonjudgmental space to blossom. You might be surprised at the quality of work you can come up with if you just give yourself a chance!

How do you get started on a writing assignment?
When I start a writing assignment I get as comfortable as possible. As strange as it sounds, my writing process begins by physically setting myself up for success. I make sure that I’m not hungry or thirsty. I make sure that I have nearby access to a bathroom. I set the stage for writing a good paper by setting up my battle-station in a comfortable area with virtually everything I would need to write this particular paper. Not only does this odd ritual put me in the mood for writing, but it minimizes any distractions and puts every resource I need at my fingertips. Let’s be honest, how much quality work are you really going to get done if you’re hungry, thirsty, tired and constantly coming up with excuses as to why you can’t write a good paper?