Rules of Writing: A Manifesto

Arguably my greatest thrifting purchase of all time, my Tower typewriter.
Arguably my greatest thrifting purchase of all time, my Tower typewriter.

1. You must be awake to write. Caffeine is important.

2. You must write for others when necessary but, more importantly,

3. You must make time to write for yourself.

4. You must write under the impression that time is something that can be made; therefore,

5. You must forget everything you learned in grade school, if only for just a moment.

6. You may write in any font, as long as it is not Comic Sans.

7. You must write with a good pen. The kind that makes you want to keep going.

8. You mustn’t think twice about what you’re putting on paper — at least not now. So,

9. You must put off revisions, but never put off the first draft.

10. You must write about what you hate.

11. You must write about what you love.

12. Especially when those two are the same thing.

13. You must drop everything when the time comes, open your notebook, close all tabs; shut the door, shut out the sounds, shut down your inhibitions; reconnect with you, not “you,” but the real you, the one you knew when you were young, who wasn’t afraid to be tell it like it was; forget everything they say, but recall it in your words; your own words, because if you don’t say it now, now, it will remain unsaid forever.

14. You must write.

The Art of the Article (please forgive me for the cheesy title, thanks)

After a lot of questioning, regarding my project choice as well as my life choices, I chose to go with repurposing my Media Economics paper about ways to “salvage the field of” independent professional journalism. The original source is a research paper / proposal hybrid, wherein I give six suggestions for ways in which newspapers and other journalism outlets could increase revenue and continue independent reporting in the digital age. Overall, it’s a super boring piece that I rushed to write the night before, with the help of endless Diet Mountain Dew and the pressure of an overbearing deadline. (Holla’ at all my fellow procrastinators out there–we’re the real MVPs). As horrible of an all-nighter as that was, I have “no regrets” regarding the project. I’m happy with how it came out, but could definitely see if transformed into another style of writing. Since the essay is about journalism itself, I couldn’t think of a new form better than a newspaper article.

This hella-retro book I found at the library.
This hella-retro book I found at the library.

First, I’m going to need to do some research. Though I’d consider myself pretty familiar with the general format of an article, I could definitely know more. For a first source, I found this super-retro book creatively entitled “Newspapers,” published by British Library in 1985. I felt pretty badass reading that in public. Regardless, the source provides a very technical, educational look at how different types of articles should be structured. This will be useful when deciding specifically what type of article I want to do, and how I will go about doing it.

Right now, I’m planning on pretending that the piece will be published in a well-known newspaper, such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, etc. If the piece takes a more commerce-esque tone, it might go well in something like Forbes or another business publication. Now that I’m actually writing this down though, this seems a little over-ambitious; I feel like, if I were pretending to write for these publications, my quotes would have to be super-legit. If I pretended to publish it on a more local scale, like for The Michigan Daily,  I might be able to talk about the topic through a U of M scope. Any and all suggestions on this matter are welcomed!

Literally the Biggest Decision of My Life

Just the snippet of the chaotic "My Documents" folder. My personal favorite title: "thing for school"
Just a snippet of the chaotic “My Documents” folder. My personal favorite title: “thing for school”

Initially, I thought re-purposing was going to be easy. As an avid DIY crafter (with two over-used glue guns to prove it), I love re-inventing things that I don’t like. Since I’ve written a lot of things I don’t like, I thought this would be right up my alley. I sifted through the archival mess that is the “My Documents” folder and found a few that I thought I could use; but when I actually considered what to do with them, I got stuck. So here I am.

The first sample I’m considering is a research paper I wrote last year for Media Economics. The piece is a collection of six proposals to “protect the future of independent professional journalism.” The title sounds superhero-esque, but it’s really not that exciting. There are a lot of random terms and S-curves. So, if I go with this, I would find some way to make the topic interesting.

I’m also thinking about reworking another research paper, this time one I wrote for my English 225 class freshman year. Since the course was titled “Academic Argumentation,” we each chose a debatable topic to follow throughout the semester, continuously contributing to the final, 20-page research paper. I wrote about animal rights and, specifically, where ethics plays in when it comes to zoos. Since this is so long, I feel like there’s something I could do with it. I’m also pretty passionate about the topic, so that’s a plus.

Whichever way I choose to go, I know I want to make this project something meaningful to me and something that could be useful outside of class. Since I’m really interested in journalism, I’m leaning more toward the first idea. Still, on the other hand, animals are cute.

And so, the debate continues.

About the Author: Allison Raeck

NOTE: Allison does not in any way play basketball, or any sport. She just thought this was a neat picture.
NOTE: Allison does not in any way play basketball, or any sport. She just thought this was a neat picture.

Who is Allison Raeck? If you have to ask that question, you’re just like everyone else because she’s not famous. A self-proclaimed “basic,” Allison enjoys well-mannered cats, caramel iced coffee, the Oxford comma, and those perfume samples that come in magazines. She has not received any awards for her writing since the eighth grade, though she would give herself “Greatest Procrastinator,” and “The Comic Sans Award for Nonsense and Frivalry.” In the future (a word she attempts to avoid at all costs), she hopes to enter the field of journalism and write for a publication. For now, she inhabits Ann Arbor, Michigan, studying both Communications and the weirdness around her.