Our plan is to interview faculty and staff members from all over Eastern's campus. We will ask them questions about the importance of writing in their field, their own writing, and their teaching of writing. Our goal is to encourage a campus-wide conversation about writing.
The blog's first victim is Dr. Jay Bickford of the School of Education, whom I had the pleasure to interview. Snippets of the conversation are found below.
I've always heard that strong readers make strong writers. What do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?
Man, I could talk about that all day. As far as my own work goes, I try to read authors that disagree on the same event or historical figure. I try to read all the biographies I can about a historical figure.
Do you have any personal writing quirks? A certain place to write, time of day, anything like that?
I have all sorts of little quirks. I have to sit so I’m laying way back, almost like I’m in a lawn chair. I try to drink a lot of water so I have to get up and go to the bathroom. I try to get up and take quick breaks.
As for my best writing experiences, I really enjoy stumbling across something that others have not found. It's great to make a significant contribution to the field.
What were your best and worst writing experiences?
My worst writing experience was my dissertation. It was very complicated. It started out as a real interest, and then it became a real labor. I burned myself out from it. After I did my dissertation, I did the book, and I was done.
How is writing in the field of education research different from writing in the humanities?
Do you have any grammatical or syntactical miscues you often make? The kind that you are a little embarrassed to find in your writing?
How important is clarity in writing in your field?
It’s incredibly important and it is very much undervalued. Like in any field, clear writing indicates clear thinking. Something I tell my students all the time is "stupid doesn’t teach." You have to think things through. So if you write something clearly, you show that you have thought it out.