Jamie doesn't really differentiate between life and hobbies. Some of the things I like to do but don't usually get paid for are reading and watching science fiction, cooking Southern, Mexican, or African food, hanging out under the full moon, and wandering around in swamps. My favorite thing about writing is when I can surprise my audience. I also love that feeling of finally getting something down on paper that's been banging around inside my head for days. When I'm trying to avoid writing, I usually clean something.
Katherine's hobbies include organizing international relations events on campus and reading/writing/editing poetry for our undergraduate journal, Cantos. My favorite thing about writing is following ideas down paths that I never would have found without the writing process. I love realizing that I've ended up in a completely different place than I originally expected after writing for a while. When I'm trying to avoid writing, I read comics, go for a run, or sing along to my favorite musicals.
Kate is passionate about food. I love to cook and try new dishes. I also write poetry in my spare time, hike, and try to see as much ballet and modern dance as possible or, when I can, dance myself. My favorite thing about writing is discovering new ideas. I find I never truly know what I think about a given topic until I start writing. For me, writing is thinking. When I'm trying to avoid writing, I read random articles on the internet related to my research and teaching interests, fashion, or cats. (Fall consultant)
Christina loves to exercise, speak Spanish, read fiction, watch HGTV and travel. My favorite thing about writing is that it often requires creativity. I love finding creative ways to write history so that it reads like a novel. When I'm trying to avoid writing, I cook and clean. That way, I at least feel productive! (Spring consultant)
Zack's biggest hobbies are musical theater, long road trips, feeling far too connected to the Carolina Panthers, and working with WISER, an NGO in Western Kenya. My favorite thing about writing is the theatricality of it all: what might an audience think of this? Is my writing, or my art, changing as I write? How can I blend creativity and artistic vision into a purely "academic" piece? When I'm trying to avoid writing, I end up re-watching as many classic sports matchups and film reviews as possible.
The hobby I take the most time out to do is cooking. I enjoy experimenting with (and without) recipes, cuisines, diets, flavors, etc. My favorite thing about writing is the revision process. I love going back into my writing and realizing that one run-on sentence I wrote on page twelve of my paper is actually my central claim, and then writing twelve new pages to come after it. When I'm trying to avoid writing, I cook an elaborate meal.
Joshua's hobbies include swimming, biking, running, cooking and movie-ing. My favorite thing about writing is the way I get lost in another world while simultaneously connecting with greater intensity and depth to the world I live in. When I'm trying to avoid writing I just read more. (Spring consultant)
Other activities sure to brighten my day when I am not helping people write in the Studio, are taking forest walks with my two big dogs, drawing with a nice sharp pencil and volunteering with local organizations. My favorite thing about writing is that it happens everywhere, even when we don't notice we're doing it. If the above is true, "avoiding writing" might be giving ideas free reign to take up unexpected residence next to each other. I am fond of thesaurusing or etymology rabbit-holing as an alternative to writing prose; breaking words apart and putting them back together often brings an image or thought to its precisely perfect home. As a meditative practice, it reminds me what strangers we are to language, and lends those moments of alignment an almost magical quality.
I really love reading (especially when its fun reading and not school reading), walking with my baby girl, playing tennis, and doodling. My favorite thing about writing is the satisfaction that comes after I express a thought that I did not think I could put into words. I love the feel of a neat and elegant sentence, especially when I have worked on it for awhile. When I'm trying to avoid writing, I do all the chores I can think of in my house. Laundry suddenly becomes the top priority. (Spring consultant)
Brendan's hobbies are playing soccer, watching soccer, reading books, and watching movies. My favorite thing about writing is that it forces me, more than anything else, to think deeply about given topic. It's hard work, but afterward I feel that I've done something nice for my brain. Because writing is so difficult, and procrastination so tempting, I probably get more reading done when I need to be writing than at any other time. (Spring consultant)
David's hobbies include working out and playing basketball. I'm a fantasy football fanatic. My favorite part about writing is that anyone can be good at it. As a science major and pre-medical student, people often assume I lack in the arts. Writing is indeed an art; anyone can master it with enough practice and diligent thought, regardless of their discipline. Once the fundamentals of writing are grasped, performing the art becomes natural and truly enjoyable. When I try to avoid writing, I generally turn to other mediums about the topic on which I have to write. For example, I might watch a short video or documentary about a topic in search of inspiration but to also limit verbiage overload that can sometimes come from reading/writing too much.
Beth enjoys reading, cooking, and reading about food and cooking. Traveling, eating local cuisine, and reading about traveling and local cuisines (much less expensive) are also favorites. My favorite thing about writing is the feeling accomplishment when I think I have communicated my ideas. Sometimes this feeling accomplishment feels very far away, so when I'm avoiding writing, after I'm sick of surfing the web, I break out, and get outside to one of my favorite natural spaces.
Things that add to the magic and delight I feel about the world include: volleyballing, listening to Beethoven by lamplight, playing renditions of pop songs on the ukulele (my latests: T. Swift's Wildest Dreams), letting books take over all the surface area of my apartment, and running with my lovely shelter mongrel through streams and fields. My favorite thing about writing is that your brain is the only fancy technology necessary to engage, to think, to create. I used to obsess over fountain pens and ink wells, different weights of paper (I still do a little bit)--but how amazing is it that the same words can be written with a pen found under a bus seat on the back of a to-do list as with the most beauitful of nibs, notebooks, and computers. It's a process that can allow connection between all kinds of people, and is inclusive and unifying. I really know I'm trying to avoid writing when I think that flossing is a great idea. (Fall consultant)
Ryan M. Poe
Ryan has so many hobbies: guitar, fantasy/science fiction, podcasts, professional wrestling, video games, fitness. Never enough time for all of them! My favorite thing about writing is finding connections. That's also my favorite thing about reading, but I expect connections between, say, golden mussels invading the Amazon and the increase of massive container ships that they stow aboard on, to be fleshed out in most things I read. When I write, it's my turn to take these interesting things and connect them! The ability to play with interesting links and connections through time and space opens up the way we think about cause and effect, change and action. It's so fun. When I am trying to avoid writing, I type up my bio for the writing center; read weird articles from around the internet; listen to podcasts about science, sports, history, and culture; or read something tangentially (or sometimes directly) related to writing, so that I can latch onto an interesting connection that might take my dissertation into unexplored new territory. (Spring consultant)
Tricia's hobbies are running, playing the piano and singing, and watching sports. My favorite thing about writing is playing with possibilities for how to say things and discovering in the process that I have more ideas than I imagined and that different ideas connect in ways I would never have expected. When I'm trying to avoid writing, I take long runs or get lost in watching Youtube clips.
Some things I enjoy are reading (especially fiction and history), walking (especially in the woods), cooking and eating Indian food, and spending time in the mountains or with her wonderful cat. My favorite thing about writing is using visual techniques, such as concept mapping and color. Laying things out visually really helps me with all kinds of writing process and problems, including brainstorming and organization. When I'm trying to avoid writing, decluttering my apartment suddenly becomes appealing. If I'm avoiding writing, it usually means I'm feeling stuck, so I try breaking the writing task into smaller parts and do one of them, and that usually solves the problem.
Matthew's hobbies include listening to music, reading, and running. I also enjoy watching sports on TV. My favorite thing about writing is when I finally find the perfect way to express an idea that I've been working through in my head. When I'm trying to avoid writing, I'll usually clean something, read, or binge watch TV.
My hobbies include genealogy, which grows out of my love of research. My favorite thing about writing is making something new through my engagement with texts--so I guess my favorite thing about writing might be learning to be a good reader. When I'm trying to avoid writing I...? I'm not sure I avoid writing, although there are things I like to do before writing (e.g. have a clean space in front of me), and ways I specifically like to take a break from writing (e. g. go for a run, clean something, play with my kids). (Fall consultant)