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4 M e l a n i e Y e r g e au DOI: 10.7330/9781607326625.c004 MELANIE YERGEAU is an assistant professor of English at the Uni­ versity of Michigan. She is the author of Authoring Autism: On Rhetoric and Neurological Queerness, and her publications have appeared in venues such as Kairos, College English, Computers and Composition, and Disability Studies Quarterly, among others. She has served on the board of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), a nonprofit organization run for and by individuals on the autism spectrum, and currently serves on the board of the Autism National Committee. A rising star in the field of rhetoric and composition, Yergeau has won several awards for her scholarship including the Hugh Burns Outstanding Dissertation Award in Computers and Composition, the Kairos Best Webtext Award, and the Computers and Composition Digital Press Accessibility & Digital Composition Award. She has also won several teaching and research awards at Ohio State, her doctoral institution , and University of Michigan. Yergeau’s interview took place in her office at University of Michigan on July 8, 2013. christine: For How Writing Faculty Write, I’m interviewing productive faculty in the field of writing studies from full professors to new professors . You’ve just finished your second year of a faculty position at University of Michigan. Have your writing habits changed from graduate school now that you’re in your first tenure track appointment? melanie: I’ve had to adjust to being significantly busier then I was used to being, in part because the teaching load changed from graduate school and adjusting to a new place has taken me a long time. My writing has definitely changed. christine: In what way? The amount you can get done? When you can write? melanie: I feel that my writing has been more like rushed little pockets rather than anything that has evolved over longer periods of time, if that makes sense. I am writing, but my habits have had to adapt to my new environment. Melanie Yergeau   57 christine: Where do you like to write? Do you write in your office or do you like to go over to the library or a coffee shop? melanie: I rotate. I’ve mostly been rotating between my office, my house, and a coffee shop, and I’ll just go in one location until it stops being productive, and then I’ll switch the location. So, I might be here several days a week and then it gets to the point I’m somehow reading about Juno, Alaska, instead of writing . . . [laughs] christine: [laughs] . . . and that’s the signal it’s time to move to a new writing spot. melanie: Yes, I know I need to try another location. Changing the space where I write does help get me restarted. christine: Though the location may change, do you try to write at the same time of day or follow any other writing rituals? melanie: I’m a morning person so I do try to get it done in the morning. christine: Me too. Before someone interrupts me! melanie: [laughs] I think I just think better in the morning. What happens is if I get something done, it usually happens before 2:00 PM, at which point, I’m fried. I think the only exception to writing later is if I have a looming deadline. christine: Deadlines are a great motivator. melanie: And stressful. Often what will happen is I’m stressed out the entire day and I’m not getting any writing done because I’m worried. When 9:00 PM hits suddenly I’m writing, and I’m up until 6:00 AM finishing it. [laughs] christine: Sounds like you haven’t moved that far away from the allnight writing from graduate school. melanie: At those times no, but they are pretty infrequent. christine: Your doctoral institution Ohio State and University of Michigan are both R1s. Were you surprised at the publication requirements , or did you know what you were getting into in terms of how much writing you need to do? melanie: I don’t think I was surprised. Things were made pretty clear coming in, and there are a lot of similarities between the institutions. The biggest difference in writing expectation I’ve had to deal with is the place of digital writing at my new institution. christine: Can you tell me a little about the difference? melanie: I initially came in wanting to do a digital book...


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