advice to new gateways

Congratulations! If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve just started your Minor in Writing gateway course. If not.. maybe this post isn’t for you. If you want to stick around though, it’s possible this advice can be generalized for courses with similar styles.

#1 – Choose your origin material and experiments wisely

You’ll have to pick your origin material and propose experiment ideas early on, which makes it even more important that you consider your choices carefully. You can make your life much easier if you choose stuff that you’re actually interested in. Don’t try to pick a genre that you have no interest in. Always, always, always choose the “off the wall” idea that you’re interested in over “traditional” ideas that you aren’t passionate about.

#2 – Start working on your experiments early

“Start early!” is perhaps the most annoying piece of advice to hear if you tend to procrastinate, but hear me out. Even if it’s just drafting up a proposal, starting early will give you more space to explore the genre and reveal different ways you can adapt your source material. Once you get started, it’s generally much easier to keep going. And, even if you do get stuck, at least you’ll be stuck early on rather than a day or two before the experiment is due.

#3 – Take + Give peer feedback seriously

Workshops are great if you’re uncertain about what direction you want to take with your work, and also really helpful to see some examples of what your peers are working on. Don’t be afraid to voice criticism, as if you’re thinking it, chances are others are too; just make sure it’s constructive!

As for workgroups: the same themes apply, but it’s a better format for seeing your peers work evolve based on the feedback they receive from yourself and others.

#4 – Have productive conversations with your professor

This one might seem obvious, but meeting with your professor and arriving prepared will really help you solidify your ideas and ease any doubts you might have. “Arriving prepared” doesn’t necessarily mean having most of the assignment done, either; it could be just as (or more productive) to instead arrive and focus on some questions that you have in mind. Time is always a limitation, so it’s important that you think about where you’re at and where you’d like to go before discussing your work!

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