Research Writer Interview With Alex
Phrasing The Great Idea
Hi Alex. What led you to freelance academic paper writing?
As an English major at a heavily science-and-engineering school, I edited and revised papers for friends for a really long time. My other job is test preparation with a focus on college and grad school admissions, so I also read and edit lots of personal statements and admissions essays for my students. Academic freelance writing seemed like the logical next step: I love to write and learn about new topics. I also found writing my own papers all through school really fulfilling, and I started early because I went to a very writing-heavy high school. I currently work with a few reputable writing agencies.
What's your favorite thing to write? Least favorite?
I enjoy writing in my discipline, literature, but also enjoy the opportunity to learn new things in any humanities field. It's like continuing my education through my work. I also really enjoy helping people with admissions essays and things like that. My least favorite subject is physics--I find it really interesting to read about but have no idea how to write about it while making any sense! I never took any physics classes, so I guess that makes sense, but it's something I'm interested in learning more about, for sure.
Do you do other kinds of writing and research?
While academic writing is actually my favorite, I also write creatively in my spare time. I write some short stories, but focus especially on poetry. A couple of my poems have even been published in small literary magazines. It's not something I'll ever make a career out of, but I really like it.
What are you eventual career goals? Do they involve writing?
I plan on pursuing a masters degree in education and teaching at the grade school level for the foreseeable future, so I guess that involves teaching people to write. Eventually, I'd like to get back to my interest in admissions by starting a private college admissions counseling service in my home town of Houston, so that will involve writing too, since I'll be doing some of what I do now in terms of admissions stuff. I eventually want to have a family too, but hopefully I won't be one of those moms who writes her kid's papers for her!
What's your best custom academic writing tip or advice?
I think everyone has great ideas, but trouble phrasing the great idea is what gets people frustrated--this happens to me sometimes, and writing is what I do well! When that happens, I just concentrate on getting my ideas out first and then making them sound pretty. When I've gotten the content out, it's easy to spend enough time for the editing without worrying I'm getting bogged down and going to run out of time. When I'm editing, I like to make sure I'm not repeating the same word or phrase too often. A thesaurus really helps. Using different vocabulary isn't just impressive, it also makes your paper more fun to read, and sometimes even more fun to write.
Who's your favorite author?
My list of favorite books--academic and nonacademic--grows all the time, not to mention my list of books to read! My favorite literature is 19th century British, especially the novels of Anthony Trollope, but in terms of light reading, I like mysteries and thrillers the best. I read Sue Grafton mysteries. And of course I, like everyone else, like Harry Potter!
Random writer: /writer-aaron