Alumni Spotlight: Erin Wood

We want to celebrate Erin Wood, a former CSSC Alumna. During her time at UA-Little Rock, Erin served as the issue editor of Quills & Pixels 2009.

Wood states, “It gave me the opportunity to further develop my editing skills at every level in a practical context, going from manuscript submission to finished, printed product. This ability to see projects from ideas to the finished product has not only informed my path in publishing at Et Alia Press but has been an essential part of completing my book projects, most recently including authoring a 150,000-word manuscript, Women Make Arkansas: Conversations with 50 Creatives. I credit this experience with helping me not to be intimidated by having to manage a large number of tasks, many people, and lots of information. It provided the opportunity for hands-on learning in how to break a large project down into smaller portions so that it feels and becomes within reach. ”

What is a fond memory of your time at UA-Little Rock?

“During my summer graduate research assistantship with Dr. Huey Crisp, then the director of the composition program, Dr. Crisp introduced me to the poet Sharon Olds. Although I wouldn’t consider myself a poet, her work has impacted my work ever since, and I’m always trying to find other writers whose work means as much to me as hers does.”

What was your favorite UA-Little Rock Course?

“It would be hard to choose one, so I’ll narrow it to four that have had a lasting impact on my writing and editing. Advanced Nonfiction writing with Dr. George Jensen introduced me to contemporary nonfiction writers and techniques; Travel Writing with Dr. Andrea Herrmann helped me conceptualize place as character; Advanced Editing with Dr. Charles Anderson helped me learn to work with manuscripts and authors; and Writing for Children, Adolescents, and Families—with my treasured favorite/everyone’s favorite teacher who is now retired, Toran Isom—helped me understand the mechanics and impact of writing for this audience and gave me tremendous confidence.”

What advice would you give to freshman at UA-Little Rock?

“Take advantage of every opportunity you can to listen to speakers on campus. You will pick up nuggets from the lives and work of others that can be extraordinarily helpful. If you attend, stay after to meet the speaker if they sparked something in you. Do the work, and you will be noticed. Let yourself and your interests shine.”

What advice would you give to a graduating senior?

“More important than anything to accomplish your dreams is daily toil. If you do your best every day, your hard work will necessarily accumulate over time, and one milestone after the next, success will come. If you’re in a bad job or business relationship, don’t be afraid to leave it. Something better is likely waiting for you, and you may be blocking that opportunity by clogging it up with something that isn’t working. If a situation seems unfair, speak up, and advocate for yourself (or someone else to whom you see an injustice happen). You’ll get plenty of advice from others, but the most important thing is to turn off your phone, close your mouth and ears, and get quiet with yourself. Within is where all the answers lie.”





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