Challenge Post Four: The Conclusion

In a labor intensive project, I gain a lot of energy in the beginning. It is easy for me to get started because I have so many ideas to begin with. For my Beyoncé Capstone project, I felt like the energizer bunny when I started. Now, I feel like I’m all out of batteries.

In short: I’m losing steam.

I have most of my content done, I am just currently at the wrap up stage. I have all this research, reflection, and design, but I need to sum up my main points. Conclusions are something I always struggle with. Sometimes, they end up just mostly lacking.

When I was abroad in Israel, I took a film class where I needed to compare two Israeli films, Sallah Shabati and Broken Wings. My body paragraphs were so strong, but here is my conclusion:

“Israeli films often depict families to be supportive and headstrong. Both Sallah Shabati and Broken Wings use the theme of family throughout their storyline to convey the value in Israeli society. Both families are broken in some way, but manage to overcome boundaries to have a better life. While both films have negative plot lines, they end up with a positive future in the end.”

In my opinion, this context is a bunch of fluff and required sentences. I really want to avoid this in my conclusion for my project. I’ve put in weeks of work, this needs to end with a bang.

When I finally chose to confront this issue, I decided to make a game plan.

I took a break.

Many people forget to take a break in order to write better and grow. I took a few days to step away from my project, and then I was able to start the conclusion. It’s coming along well, and I’m happy I was able to look away from Beyoncé for a few days to hone in on my main goal.

4 thoughts to “Challenge Post Four: The Conclusion”

  1. Hey, Jenn,

    I think conclusions are one of the hardest parts for many writers. I actually started getting into the habit of “saving something interesting for the conclusion” to make sure my conclusion actually meant something and elaborated on some kind of significance instead of only restating what I had covered. This hasn’t always worked; sometimes it feels forced or as though I am purposely leaving something out in my analysis in order to ensure that I save something noteworthy for the end. It usually goes over well for my comm papers, though. I suppose that doesn’t make this method so convincing, does it?

    I think that your decision to take a break is probably the best solution to this problem. Sometimes, when you spend so much time with a work, you grow almost immune to your own words, and they become so ingrained in your brain that you read them back like a script and feel uncomfortable straying away from what you’ve come to memorize. Taking a break allows you to get the piece off your mind, look at it with fresh eyes, and ask yourself: What else does this mean to me? It is then that you can just rant (or let it “come out like vomit,” as you’ve so nicely put it to me in the past) until you find that little, meaningful something to expand on. Good luck!

  2. Hi Jennifer—

    Thanks for this post! Honestly, I really needed this reminder. My finals aren’t super spread out and I’m hoping to wrap up my project before I head home for a week, so everything feels like it’s piling on and it’s a little overwhelming! It really can be hard to know how to end something, whether it’s writing a conclusion or knowing to call it done. I’m glad it’s going well for you now that you’ve given it some time! I’m about to dive into the revision process, and it’s a little daunting. I feel like I’ve been looking at the same things for so long that I’m not sure how to get away from them enough to get a fresh take.

    I feel like it can be really hard to give yourself permission to take a break, so I’m glad you did that. I think that shows the sign of a writer who knows themselves well and knows when it’s time to let it go instead of forcing it. What do you think it is about taking a break that makes it easier to come back, that makes our work stronger when we’re ready to sit down and get back to the grind again?

    Also, I’m very curious about what this Beyoncé project is!!

  3. Hi Jenn,

    I relate to your post in pretty much every way, and I think that most writers would say the same. Conclusions are hard because of the way we have been taught to do them for most of our academic careers. I remember all throughout high school, and long before then as well, we were told to sum up our arguments in the conclusion. I honestly think this was to make grading easier for our teachers and was a backwards way of teaching us to write. So the things I try to remember about conclusions now are that people have read the entire project, they don’t want you to restate all of the arguments you’ve already made. What readers want is something to take with them as they move forward, something that makes them think. This is something I struggle with as well because of the fact that, especially in a project like this, I’m burnt out. I don’t exactly know what I want the readers to think. I think your strategy of taking a break from the project is super helpful because it allows you to almost rebuild your interest in a topic that you have definitely overworked.


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