Andy Costa, Peer Consultant

IMG-8916-Andy-Costa-web.jpgMajor: Biology

A wise ogre once said, “Ogres have layers like an onion.” Truly, this iconic piece of dialogue has managed to influence how I perceive the world around me. If you think hard enough, everything is like an onion, with layers that give way to a complexity often missed at first glance.

My approach to writing is based on the idea that writing and onions are a lot more alike than you would think: they both have layers, are deceptively easy to work with, and sometimes they make me cry. You know that scene in Shrek 2 when the giant gingerbread man drowns and dies? Sometimes, writing can feel like this. My writing process begins with brainstorming ideas, or what I like to call “peeling the first layer.” Some of these ideas might make it into the final product, maybe none of them do. The importance of peeling the first layer of an onion isn’t about how it will be used, but what can be done to the onion afterwards. The possibilities for writing are endless after this stage. In fact, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and not know what to do with our ideas. At this point, I like to speak with other people about my thoughts and what I want to accomplish.

The Writing and Communication Center is a resource for anyone engaging in the writing process, no matter what “layer” they are on. Our dedication to the writing process allows us to focus on helping you as a writer, instead of mindlessly marking up your paper for participation points. I believe the key to successful writing is collaboration, which is the best way to ensure ideas make sense to other people.

Like cooking, writing is a skill that we constantly improve on, but never truly master. It’s okay to make mistakes; in fact, the best way to learn is by making mistakes and figuring out what went wrong. I’ve seen some of the best chefs burn their food, though I wouldn’t advise setting your paper on fire.