What if…?

I’ve got the ball rolling. I know what I’m writing about. When I sit down to write, I find it easy to accomplish a significant amount of work in a reasonable amount of time. But what if…

These what-if questions won’t leave me alone. What if I can’t stand my final draft? What if my website looks terrible? What if I’ve spent the whole semester on a project that I don’t feel attached to in any way, shape, or form at the end of this process? What if I don’t get anything out of this project after putting so much into it?

I didn’t have this problem back in Gateway. Whether I was working on a literary review podcast or a historical fiction short story, the end product always felt disposable. It didn’t have to represent me as a creator because I always had the option to fail. Somehow, I can’t find a similar sort of comfort with the Capstone process.

I think I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself to create a piece of writing that will represent the knowledge and skills I’ve acquired as a student here at Michigan. It certainly would be nice if I had something to show for my time here, to prove to interviewers and potential employers that I am smart and I do know how to do some things competently. This pressure is taking a lot of the joy that I almost always otherwise experience when writing.

In searching for solace, I came across a quote from Carl Sandburg: “A book is never a masterpiece; it becomes one. Genius is the talent of a dead man.” This quote seems to imply that writing can mature to reach “greatness,” but that must certainly not be the case when the author is examining their own work over time. If my Capstone project ends up like almost anything else I’ve written, I’ll probably only hate it more as time goes on. I better knock it out fast before I’m too disgusted to continue.


When I picture myself reading my Capstone project in the future.

One thought to “What if…?”

  1. Hey Keith — long time no see! I definitely feel for your problem. I too keep getting plagued with the anticipation of disappointment. For me, my project has seen a turbulent semester as I’ve switched up genres 3 times now. Each time I’d dive in to start writing I wouldn’t be able to shake the nagging voice in the back of my head that would tell me my project is going to be a failure. It prevented me from doing a good job on the work I was doing because I was prematurely embarrassed over a piece of work that hadn’t even seen its first draft. The pressure to make it good was overbearing but it was even heavier because I convinced myself that my project would come out poorly. Once I found what worked for me and stuck to it, I found the pressure subsided because I could finally let myself be vulnerable. When I was chasing after something I didn’t feel strongly connected to it made the pressure to make it perfect triple because I couldn’t take pride in it therefore I needed others to. However, when I found something that reflected the person I am and the goals I set, it allowed me to become way more honest with myself, my expectations, and my outcome. Therefore, I’ll ask you now if there’s anyway you can make yourself more vulnerable with what you’re working on. This really worked for me and has made my project an enjoyable experience as opposed to a stressful one. I hope it can help you too! Best of luck!!!!!!!!!!

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