Challenge Journal 4: “”””untitled””””

ahahhahahahahahah there are 6 days until classes end.

more importantly, it’s 7 days until i see david sedaris.

which, like, well, um, technically the capstone project is due the 20th (someone said the 19th but the syllabus says 20th so i’m going with 20th) but david is coming the 18th and i am a fool!!!!

i definitely work better under pressure, and i think that’s because i don’t do well with soft deadlines because i don’t take myself seriously/have no authority over myself. not sure if that makes total sense but basically if i set a deadline for myself, future flick just laughs in my face and doesn’t do what she was told to do. it’s a horrible system and yes it’s the worst.

there’s a fine line for me. there has to be enough of a time crunch but not too much. if i have to force myself to write and i’m not feeling it, i’ll likely produce garbage and frankly that’s just a waste of my time. the intro part of my capstone that i wrote just when i felt like it was infinitely better than the sections i tried to force myself to write afterwards for my workshop session. if i’m moderately stressed but writing because i have real thoughts and ideas – that’s the sweet spot. the problem is that i feel like that sweet spot is somewhat out of my control to find. clearly, i’m really good at accepting responsibility for things. procrastination is just so…fun..amirite?

i don’t know how to do anything when i actually have real time to get it done. for example, i’m only in 9 credits this semester and i have been at my all-time lowest levels of productivity. it’s kind of pathetic but we’re just going to go with it because it’s too late now to change that. maybe i just crave the rush of the stress. ?¿? ok that’s enough psychoanalysis for my wednesday night.

ps i happen to know that someone went to T with a capstone idea that was to talk about themselves and david sedaris and i want to know who you are…

so that we can be friends


ok bye call me beep me

Challenge Journal 3 (?) – Flick Has Given Up on Titles

Hahahaha my whole project just took a really violent left turn and I am excited but also terrified and also not as technologically inclined as I fear I may need to be in order to properly execute this new path.

Approximately an hour before workshop, I had the idea that it would likely benefit both me and my project to generate a timeline of David Sedaris’ life. Originally, that was mostly as an aid so that I could document the important dates in his life and what occurred so that I would help me when it came to writing about them. It became more of a fun piece to create and then include on my website – either on its own page or as part of one of the pieces. Then I figured I may as well incorporate my own life timeline, a small chunk that would be about 1/3rd of the size of Sedaris’s but placed side by side. I was pretty pleased with my new idea, and it went over really well with the rest of the class.

And then I met with my project consultant, T, who liked the timeline idea and suggest I really run with it. Like, basically, make the timeline my entire project. I like this idea. this is fun. this is good. this gives me flexibility and a newer, better form of structure. wahoo.

Except here’s the problem. How on earth do I construct an interactive timeline on a wix site? The best way I can envision it is to draw it out on paper, but that’s only so helpful. I found a wix app called Lumifish timeline or something bizarre like that and it seems to be the only timeline type thing for wix. I used to think I was moderately tech savvy and now I feel like a moron.

So, if anyone has any suggestions as to how I might go about this, PLS let me know.

Challenge Journal 2; Or, Flick Will Never Not Suck At Titles

I wrote my first challenge journal about not knowing how to start my pieces. I stand by that as being the place I struggle the most. I am so deep in that mud right now it’s not even funny. I’m still incredibly lost but I have some direction and I think that more than anything else I’m scared.

I had absolutely no clue what I was going to do for my capstone, and after invading Julie’s office and yelling about a whole bunch of nonsense for 45 minutes, she managed to shape my thoughts into a capstone project idea (thanks, Julie!). Okay, cool, so we have an idea. Now what?


In this instance, research is fun. I’ve got to dig deep into the depths of David Sedaris’s life and read more of his work. I’ve got to read how other writers talk about their obsessions and passions, including reading about this dude’s utterly violent fascination with the White Stripes. He bought an apartment and the entire colour scheme was red, white, and black…ok crazybones…

Anyway, I’ve read and I’ve searched and I’ve formulated ideas and potential topics and blah blah blah. But I haven’t written anything. I can’t. Well, that’s a lame excuse and it’s also probably not true. I could. I’m scared. I have models of effective ways that authors have written about themselves and other people, how they navigate personal reflection with analysis of somebody else. It’s not that I don’t want to copy them, it’s that maybe I don’t like that type of structure. Which is bizarre because I love having things spelled out for me, it means I don’t really have to think as much (yeah, that sounds bad).

But maybe the thing is really that I want to make this piece my own and have the freedom to make it exactly how I want it. That actually isn’t a maybe, that’s exactly what I want. But I’m scared probably because maybe I don’t know exactly what I want and what if what I want turns out to be complete trash?

I’m not going to lie I had no idea where this post was going when I started and I feel like I unintentionally opened and deep, internal can of worms. I’m scaring myself. Constantly fearing the unknown. Goddamn it, Flick.


Challenge Journal: Rituals; or, Flick still sucks at titles.

Apologies in advance for being hopelessly unoriginal, but I genuinely feel like my one of my biggest (if not definitely my biggest) challenge as a writer is starting my piece. But this problem is pretty specific to more creative writing. I find academic papers easier to write – there’s a structure and very explicit goals and instructions that are laid out to be followed. Great. Boring, but easy enough to do as you’re told. Then we look at the fun writing. The personal narratives, the gateway and capstone writing, the creative pieces. The ones where you have all sorts of freedom to do whatever the hell you want. No rules!!!! So, where the hell do you start?

In class today, we discussed rituals. I’d be lying if I said I had a writing ritual. The closest thing I have to a ritual is something that I actually briefly wrote about in a Gateway “How I Write” assignment. The piece detailed how I fill my head with self-doubt and proceed to throw myself on my bedroom floor and roll around for a while until I peel myself up and decide to at least attempt to write something. Even now, I stand by my rolling-on-the-floor time. While it’s important to have confidence in yourself, I like to acknowledge the self-doubt that I have. It’s always going to be there, so maybe rolling on the floor is my way of confronting those fears, which then allows me to move on and exist apart from them. Or maybe I’m just reading waaay too deep into a childish practice. Wouldn’t rule out either possibility.

How do you start writing? I assume most people are more disciplined than I am and perhaps have better/more effective rituals. What gets you going? Is it dependant on your rituals or can you just dive head first into a piece? Tell me ur secrets.

Writing Manifesto

Use your voice.

Embrace your flaws – they make excellent material & give readers a laugh.

Be bold and try new styles. Don’t be afraid to mess it up, crinkle it into a ball, and throw it violently into the garbage.

Writing is cathartic. Writing is frustrating. Writing is whatever the hell you want it to be.

(Don’t listen to me – I know literally nothing)

Everyone’s voice is unique. Go find yours.

Advice to Gateway Students or Flick Sucks at Titles

This feels weird. I am a mere child who never feels like they are in a position to give advice, but here goes.

Speak up. I am queen of not participating in class (because I’m terrified of talking in front of people/being looked at, not because I’m a slacker, ugh). I was blessed with the most welcoming and accepting cohort who not only made me feel comfortable talking, but dealt with how annoying I am once I’m comfortable around people. Seriously, props to all of them. There’s a wonderful sense of community, and these people are here to help you both during your time in writing 220 and in your future endeavors. Embrace the people you’re with. On that note, be real friends!!! We made a class groupme, so now I can just bother them all whenever I want. Contact your classmates and ask them to read over your paper or bounce ideas off of them. Utilize each other.

Don’t try to plan your endings. I mean it. Don’t bother. Your papers are never going to turn out like you planned. It’s not worth it to try and shape something before you’ve written it, because it’s going to be turned on its head and shaken violently before being thrown out sideways as your final product. Safe yourself the energy and go into projects with an open mind. It’s way more interesting that way. Surprise yourself.

Harass your teacher! I don’t know where I would be without T’s help. I’m not joking, I think I sent her 7 emails in one day once. Oops!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don’t be like me. T probably wants to block my email address and is lucky she only has to deal with me in class twice a week, BUT your teacher has lots of knowledge and is going to be a great resource for when you get stuck on projects, or when you just need to voice your ideas to someone.

I am bad at advice so maybe don’t listen to me but also maybe do listen to me. Up to you!!!! See if I care. (I do)(Good luck)(Go blue)(bye). Ok I’ll shut up now bye!!!!!!!!!



Writing 220: Connections and Disconnections

In rowing we talk a lot about connection, both as individuals on a team and as part of the actual stroke. Connection occurs (or is supposed to) at the catch, the top of the stroke. You’re fully compressed – legs bent, arms outstretched, fully loaded and ready to go. The second before your wheels stop and reverse direction, your blade enters the water; instant connection – or at least that’s the goal. Your blade is supposed to enter the water at exactly the right second and at exactly the right speed so you can pick the boat up and accelerate it as efficiently and effectively as possible. It’s an art. I’m still learning.


This is the best I could find for a picture of me at the catch and It’s not really a great example of what the catch looks like but whatever. I’m the one in the middle. My eyes are in the process of rolling into the back of my head.
The pair in the front of this picture are the catch. I am not in that boat. I’m the person closest to the right edge of the picture.

On the Floor

How I Write

For me, the process of writing is always quite interesting. It starts with a panic and a whole lot of self-doubt. Suddenly, I start to tell myself that I have no idea how to write – that I’m no good at it and everything I’ve previously written was probably garbage and I should never write again (I have a very noisy head). Eventually, it will quiet itself enough to let me begin processing things to write about. Vague, general ideas float around my head, just high enough out of reach to where I cannot formulate them into solidified ideas and stick them onto a page. More doubt floats in.

That’s where rolling-on-the-floor-time comes in. Rolling-on-the-floor-time is crucial to writing. I must allow time to throw myself onto my bedroom floor. I toss and turn on the carpet, throwing my limbs around, whining, “Ugh, I don’t know what to write about” or “I don’t know how to write” or “I can’t do anything”. It truly is just as dramatic as it sounds and is neither a productive use of my time nor a mature way to handle anything. But, like I said, it’s crucial.

Eventually, I peel myself off of my floor and plop myself down in a chair at the kitchen table ready to attempt to write. I can almost guarantee I’ll be at my kitchen table or at the academic centre because I am never productive in my bed or on the couch despite the numerous times I have pretended to myself that I can be. After messing around, I realize that I am in fact still going to have to write something and should probably get started.

Sometimes I have a plan of what I’m going to write and sometimes I don’t. The first bits I write down are the things that I am sure of – the things that you know you want to write about and valuable. Getting the ideas on the page, letting thoughts flow and making a start. I keep it single-spaced so everything is there in front of me. Word vomit onto the page and move things as needed. Write in patches; write a sentence for one topic and move to a different area – whatever is natural. Editing can come after or whenever a good idea is spawned. I follow my instincts. I write as it comes. I trust my process.

Writing 220 Introduction: Flick Cain

About me:

Hi! My name is Flick. I am painfully sarcastic and have been described as a human Ping-Pong ball. My fatal flaw and my best attribute is my inability to take myself seriously.

I am a junior majoring in Sociology (although I am far more enthused about being in the writing minor). I’m on the women’s Varsity Rowing team here at Michigan, which pretty much occupies most of my time. I am from Connecticut but I spent eight years living in England before the age of 10, which is why I talk funny – despite being accused of faking the accent and having a speech impediment.

Myself as a writer is very much me as a general human being. I write how I talk and how I think. I’m all over the place, I stress over nothing, and I am beyond over-dramatic. This tends to be a façade as I engage in this behaviour to avoid dealing with whatever is actually stressing me out. When it comes to actually putting words on paper, I don’t have to hide from real life.

Why MiW?

I applied for the writing minor after taking a creative non-fiction writing class my sophomore year. That class taught me how to grapple with difficult topics and evaluate experiences while having narrative distance. Having spent most of my life hating to read, I had never considered a future in writing. I no longer hate reading, although if it’s not a topic of interest to me, I likely won’t make it past the first page. This has proved to be problematic throughout my college career, particularly in my sociological theory course.

The photo below is a pretty good depiction of how I like to live my life: with my eyes crossed.