Meet Michael

Michael Wolfman
UGA Undergraduate Student

What is your writing process?

My writing process breaks down into four general stages: ideas, outlining, first draft, and editing. The first stage is definitely a more lofty, abstract phase where I put down as many ideas and concepts as possible onto the page. The next phase of writing is much more analytical as I narrow down my ideas and create a cohesive outline for my manuscript. The third stage of my writing process is getting the first draft into place. During this stage, I try to write down as much as possible, because I find it much easier to cut down a draft than to add lots of new information. During the final stage of my writing process, I deep dive into editing mode—chopping, moving, and re-organizing my manuscript, sometimes until it looks nothing like the very first draft. Eventually, following draft after draft, it is (or at least strives to be) a polished, cohesive, and concise work.

What do you enjoy about writing?

For me, writing is the perfect combination of creativity and analysis. Writing gives me an outlet to pursue my love of the sciences and further my critical thinking and analysis skills, which satisfy my left-brain. On the other hemisphere, the general creativity that is lent to writers, even in the scientific disciplines, allows me to freely exercise my creativity.

Based on your experience, what is the value of writing? Generally and in your classes?

I think that the value of writing lies in its ability to make me think. A lot of times when talking, it is easy to forget what I said only a few minutes ago or at the beginning of a conversation. With writing, the words, thoughts, and how I express these things are evident on the page. This concreteness forces me to be extremely thoughtful and meticulous with my work, ensuring that the manuscript I create has been vetted through a lens of creativity and critical thinking. The necessity of specificity attached to writing is extremely valuable because it has forced me to carry that same level of thoughtfulness into other areas of my life. For example, if I am debating social issues with friends, I make sure to think through and backup my claims with evidence before purporting them. This value also applies to specific classes, as being a writer has translated to working through class materials—whether a debate, an essay, or even clicker questions—more meticulously to ensure my work is well thought out and successfully achieves the task set out by the professor.

What does getting published in The Classic Journal mean to you?

Getting published in The Classic Journal is an extremely valuable and exciting opportunity for me. It represents my first publication in an academic journal, which is a huge deal! I aim to take the things that I have learned to better myself as a writer and researcher. Later down the road of my academic and professional journey, I hope to look back on this as the first of many publications.

What have you learned? How have you grown as a writer?

Throughout my publication process with The Classic Journal, I have learned the value of having multiple editors and not being afraid to look at your work with a critical lens. In the past, especially in high school, I thought it was a negative thing for my work to require major edits; I thought that it indicated weakness in my writing ability. This process has shaped me into a stronger writer by helping me realize that room for improvement and failure are not synonymous. In fact, my biggest takeaway is that getting as many perspectives as possible and always viewing my work as imperfect are extremely valuable, in fact necessary, for creating strong manuscripts.

What would you like for other undergraduate students to know about publishing their work in The Classic?

I want students to know that publishing their work in The Classic is not an easy task, but it is definitely a worthwhile one. There will be some late nights, some crumpled up drafts, and plenty of coffee, but that feeling of accomplishment when you see your final manuscript go up on The Classic website is well worth every effort.

What’s up next for you writing-wise, school-wise, down the road?

Lately, I have had the opportunity to expand my writing horizons. I have been dabbling in web-design, grant writing, and essays in other disciplines. All of these experiences are allowing me to re-evaluate my writing style and learn how to accommodate various requirements with each piece of writing. School-wise, I am entering my third year, which I am very excited for. I am looking forward to the possibility of in-person instruction after finishing last semester online. This is also my first year taking graduate level classes as I try to complete the DoubleDawgs program in Linguistics here. After graduating with my M.A. I plan to pursue my Ph.D. in Linguistics. I am very much looking forward to all of the writing, and hopefully publication, that lines my journey toward these goals.