I worked with Margot during this workshop. Since we took the Gateway course together and were in the same small group for one of the projects, we had a bit of background knowledge about each other’s writing style, major, etc. By the time we were supposed to debrief with the class, we realized we had been talking so much about our interests that we hadn’t even fleshed out project ideas! After a little bit of time to catch up with the rest of the class, I think we came up with some innovative concepts.
Initially, I was excited about Margot’s suggestions. A few of them seemed a bit scary to me (a choose-your-own-adventure story and a TV pilot starring Jon Hamm and Mindy Kaling!) but this was because they were different from what I have worked on in the past, not because they were misaligned with my interests. I think she really got what I was trying to do by examining my past projects. I challenged myself with a lot of different “new media” type projects in the Gateway course, so she kept trying to think of other media options I hadn’t explored yet. All of the suggestions were interesting to me, especially the ones involving speechwriting and writing self-help books. I think Margot took some time to reflect on my major as well, picking ideas that were both creative but also relevant for my future career in public policy.
While I had the privilege of working with someone who knew me and had read my work in the past, I can still use this exercise to identify things I will tell others when soliciting advice in the future. I think my career goals influence my topic choices in a big way. I like to think of my writing as not just an expression of myself, but also a project with a clear objective. This can definitely put me in a box sometimes, but I work hard to choose writing mediums that are foreign to me in order to combine both the goal-oriented side to my writing, which motivates me to begin a project, with the creative aspects of writing, which bring me back to my work once it has begun. Realizing through this exercise that both of these aspects fuel my work, I’m going to pick a project that will show me a new way to express my ideas while keeping it within the realm of my field of study.