Pen or Pencil?
Favorite music to write to?
Favorite punctuation mark?
SJU Writes: Can you describe the kind of writing that your job entails?
BFM: I like to make connections between Philadelphia and Camden partnerships, students, and faculty at SJU. So I write in a way that is inclusive and mostly through email. I do a lot of social media posting which forces you to distill your message clearly. Occasionally I’ll do journalistic writing for the [Campus Ministry] newsletter and the handouts for the Mass. I’ve also written for the Ignatian Solidarity Network and the Hawk.
SJU Writes: When you are confronted with a writing task, how do you approach it?
BFM: Emails, I just write. If it’s a little more formal, like an announcement to the university, I’ll have it sit in my draft folder for a little while. I’ll proofread it a million times. If it is something I have to generate that is more substantial, I’ll keep an electronic document, and I take time to brainstorm. I usually write the piece below where I wrote all of my brainstorming, and I’ll refer back to it. If it is something that’s being published, I will usually have other people look at it.
SJU Writes: So what I’m gathering is, that it’s a continuous process? You don’t simply sit down, and finish it in one sitting?
BFM: No—I taught as an adjunct for four semesters, and I could tell when students sat down and finished assignments in one sitting. It reads like a stream of consciousness. I strongly discourage that.
SJU Writes: Is there a particular book or article that has influenced your writing?
BFM: Reading so much fiction over time really influenced me. I read a lot of journalistic writing and some academic pieces. The more that I read, the more I have a sense of what my writing should look like.
SJU Writes: Do you have a particular favorite book?
BFM: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. It talks about writing and about life.
SJU Writes: Is there a particular environment that you do your best writing in?
BFM: I don’t have a lot of writing routines at this point in my life; I feel like having a small child will take that from you. I do love a good space. I do great work in the morning—it’s when I’m at my best. I definitely need coffee. Otherwise, a good table, bright sunlight, and a computer are all I need.