Writer’s Manifesto

Writing, to me, is beautifully simple.

You can stretch it out, tangle it up, chop it into pieces, refine it, polish it up and present it with a fancy haircut, or scrawl it out and slip it under a door.

It can be rigidly academic, full of raw emotion, or dwell in the fascinating gray space in between.

At the end of the day, though, it’s always taking thoughts and giving them the autonomy to march out into the physical world.

Why a Video Essay?

My choice to make make a video essay for my final project is part practical, part personal.

Let’s be real: it was never an option for me to make an animation for my final. Similarly, it wouldn’t really be a realistic goal for me to write a short story when I haven’t written fiction since middle school.

Sorry, experiments 1 and 2. It was never meant to be. 

There was a bit more to this decision than just the practical side, however. I also chose the video essay because the first two experiments were more based on elements found in the original piece while the last was directly addressing the content of the letter.

I think that I’m ready to stop dancing around the themes of what that letter means to me and just get to the meat of it already.

Advice for the Future Gateways

Advice for the Future Minor in Writing Students

1. Take T for the Gateway ;).

Actually, all of the professors are amazing in the minor in writing. I just have a preference because I had T!

2. Make sure to meet and befriend people in your class.

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Found on Giphy.

You may be sharing some personal thoughts and work during the class. Getting to know the people in your class will allow you to create a more comfortable space for you, and probably them to share. Plus these people might be taking the same requirements with you in the future. We will know that there are a lot of benefits to knowing someone in your class: someone to sit next by and for when you forget to write down the homework.

3. Speaking of forgetting, do your drafts and blog posts!

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Found on Giphy.

I always say that I work better under pressure so I do things last minute. I really don’t so don’t be me. The professors do a really amazing job of scheduling drafts in advance of the due date. This allows for the low-stress creation of your projects and experiments.

4. Participate, Participate, Participate.

You will gain a lot more from the class if you participate. You will also get to meet more of your classmates (advice point #2) and learn more about yourself as a writer. If you need a second look at any of your pieces/experiments/projects, volunteer for a workshop. It might seem intimidating but your classmates are nice and beautiful people so their feedback will be constructive. As cliche as it is, having a second pair of eyes, or eighteen pairs of eyes, on your project will be beneficial for the editing and revising processes.

(P.S. Read your daily prompt writings in your writer’s notebook. The professors love it and it will also help your classmates feel comfortable to share also)

5. Pick a topic for your experiment that you really enjoy.

You will be working on these pieces for a few months so make sure you feel that you can create three separate, equally amazing pieces. I fell in love with my third experiment, which I followed into my final project (and hopefully my capstone project). I wish the same excitement for you!

Enjoy the class and the minor in writing! We are excited for you to join us!

~Julia

summer is coming

Summer is Coming and

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This semester has been rough. I am finishing up the second semester of junior year at this lovely University. I have an internship position in Florida this summer at a company that I would love to work at after school. I am hopefully passing my last Spanish class (fingers crossed for me). These may seem like positives but it has been quite a ride to achieve these milestones.

There has been an inner struggle, and I think many people feel the same way, to figure out what I really want to do with my life. We are at the age, or at least junior year, where people are starting to think about grad school, start taking the MCAT and the LSAT, and here I am not considering another 2-4-8 years in school. I love this place but I can’t imagine spending another couple of years in a classroom. I enjoy working so I hope to find a job after school that fits that. A job, any job, would be fine. I just want to be that senior who relaxes because they are employed and are not stressing over the fact for their last semester of school.

In relation to writing for this summer, the Gateway class has prepared me to have more meaningful conversations about what is on my mind. It also inspired me to read as many books as possible to try and find my voice more in preparation for the capstone this upcoming year. Hopefully, I can find the time during my forty hours weeks to sneak a few pages of reading in a day or while I am laying on the beach. My goal is to finally finish the Harry Potter series.

I look forward to seeing you all back here in Fall 2018 for the best senior year ever!

~Julia S.

To future MiW students

You probably have read a lot of these advices so far. Mine is not any different from the others. See it as a reflection on “Things About the MiW Gateway That I Wish I Had Known Earlier”

  • Be adventurous

Do not be afraid to write in the genres that you have never tried before. Take this opportunity to explore other types of writings and know that you have your instructor and classmates to help you out. This is the time for you to write that poem you have always wanted to write, or the elaborate scenes and plot that you have been writing in your head. Going into this head on will feel daunting, but be bold. You’ve got this!

  • Be open to changes and surprises

Sometimes how your experiments turn out will surprise you. Be accepting of it. Most importantly, be kind to yourself. Things might have turned out that way because it is your first time writing in a different genre, or maybe because during that time you also have thirteen exams going on. Again, be kinder to yourself.

  • Meet your instructor

T is amazing! Whenever you feel lost or unsure of what is going on in class, schedule a meeting with your instructor. They know best what is expected of you for the class. They can also guide you to frame your thoughts. They have really cool office spaces too! I always come back from T’s office with a new reading material added to my to-read list.

  • Enjoy the class

At one point, the gateway class will feel like “just another class.” Those days are inevitable, but live on for joyful days when writing class is a time to wind down from other demanding classes. When I say enjoy the class, what I mean is make full use of it. Engage with the class materials and activities.

Let’s Get Insta Famous!!!

Found on the Airbnb of Fashion Blog

My Final Project: @howimetmybestfriend

This project is an extension of my experiment #3. For all three of my experiments, I wanted to address a very undervalued part of our lives: friendship. Throughout the broader theme of friendship, I focused on how best friends first met. Movies and books always romanticize this “meet-cute” where a couple makes an immediate connection. Just add in a montage, breakup scene, and reconciliation, and you get your typical romantic comedy.

I wanted to take this “meet-cute” idea and make it more inclusive. Everyone might not remember how they met they met their best friend, but you can assume that there was one moment where you bonded and the rest was history. I wanted to capture these moments. I am no photographer nor interviewer so I went with a medium that I knew very well: Instagram. 

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Found on Giphy

There are quite a few couples Instagrams about the way that people met (i.e. @thewaywemet) but there was a hole in the consumer market that I could fill. There was little to no well-followed Instagrams about how people met their best friends. The example couples Instagrams used submissions from around the world to feed their weekly posts. These submissions would include a few pictures and a short story about their “meet-cute.” My project would be doing the same. I ask that the submissions would be around 100-200 words and include 1-2 photos of yourself and your best friend.

I am ecstatic to see the reach of the project. My gateway class has been really supportive of the idea, as are my friends and family. I hope that this project prompts people to take a moment and appreciate those in their lives that don’t get as much recognition as one’s boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, or partner does. I also hope that the project helps those reconnect with their best friends that they might have lost touch with over the years.

My biggest worry is that I won’t receive submissions for my final project and that the Instagram won’t gain recognition in the future. I can already see the benefits of this Instagram on people’s faces when they talk about meeting their best friend and wanting to submit a piece. If I can gain more followers, I will be able to make people happy with these stories all over the world.

Please follow me on Instagram, linked above, and I will keep you updated on my Insta’s progress!

Julia S.

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Found on Tenor GIF Keyboard

Writer’s manifesto

I have always known and understand manifesto as a politican’s tool to gain followers. So at some point during the semester when T and my fellow classmates mentioned manifesto, I wondered why would I need to write a manifesto? I am not a politician. It was not until I met with T and brought up this matter that I realized the manifesto we were talking about was a writing different than my normal writer’s voice. A manifesto is different and strong, and not necessarily only meant for politicians.

words of wisdom from the not-so wise

Ahem. Brace yourself.

To the future writing minors,

First off, welcome.

You are going to have a time, trust me. How that time is…that’s what you make of the minor. I can offer some tips, some warnings, some insight to the amazing work you all will be doing in the coming semester. Brace yourself — whatever you thought about writing, it’s gonna change. Maybe a little. Maybe a lot. Regardless, it will change. For me, writing is much more pervasive than I ever imagined. The gateway showed me I can pretty much apply writing to anything and call it a project, as long as I do so with intent and purpose.

As you’ll see, you will reimagine an old work in three different genres via these mini projects. I encourage you to fully experiments with these. It may seem or feel daunting at first, but I promise you, the experiments will be so much more worth it in the end as long as you truly try and give yourself to your work. The minor’s all about stepping outside of your comfort zone.

That being said, don’t half-ass. You all applied to this program, so give it your all. Yes, it may feel overwhelming at times (you will write a lot obviously), but it’s ok, you got this. Leslie Knope’s giving you two thumbs up.

Fully engage with your class to get the most out of your gateway experience. Talk to other students. Some of my best ideas came from the lovely conversations I had with peers. Meet with your professor (T is amazing. I couldn’t have pulled off my final project without her guidance). So when you have questions, ask because your classmates and your professors are there to help you.

Ok, I’m getting off my soapbox. You all have an wonderful class head. I wish you the best.

advice from an aspiring writer…

Don’t be afraid to get messy. Those are the first words in my writing notebook and some of the first words T told me when I began this semester. And now I’d like to pass these words of wisdom along to future aspiring writers. For me, this class, and honestly this whole semester, has been all about taking risks. Taking risks with my experiments, with my portfolio, with my writer’s notebook, with myself…I’ve found that I have pushed myself a lot farther and tested my limits quite a bit as a writer, and I am really happy that I did. My notebook is filled with rough drafts of reflections, of poems, of stories, even of drawings and “art” (although it may just look like “A for effort” attempts to the public eye…), and it’s LOADED with scribbles. But I made it a rule to right everything in pen and in markers, in permanent ink. That way, even when I mess up and scratch out whatever it is I was trying to say or do, it’s still there—barely, but visible enough for me to be able to constantly remind myself that writing and creating is a PROCESS. Every product of my thoughts and creations does not have to be the “finished” piece or the most polished it can be right from the start.

I used to be afraid to write for fun or write in my journal when I had random and incohesive thoughts and ideas and rants jumbled in my head. It’s not that I didn’t want to write them down or remember them forever, I was just nervous to include them in my journal without thinking everything through thoroughly, because I wanted my journal and all my writing in general to be well-crafted and coherent. But I started realizing that I was holding myself back. And I ended up not writing at all for the most part.

That’s why this semester I made a deal with myself to let my writing and my journal get messy. The journal itself is slightly tattered and torn and some of the pages are falling out. But I like it because it feels more me and more real than ever. And the idea of not caring has allowed me to express myself in more ways than ever.

So, with that I hope you, too, realize the power of mishaps and carelessness at times, and come to learn yourself that it’s okay to be messy. Don’t be afraid. Be bold!

Source: Giphy

Wisdom From a Puerto Rican

This is an announcement to all those who are deciding whether or not to take the minor. I would tell you to take it. Not as much for the writing but more for the people. You will be a part of a community of people all from different backgrounds with different personalities with mostly one thing in common, they chose to take the minor. As a beginning to the minor, you have to go through the gateway and these are my words of wisdom to survive the beginning of the journey.

  • Expect the unexpected – Be prepared to have an assignment dropped on your shoulders at the end of every class. Even if it seems it’s not coming, trust me it is. As a result, have some time set out each week for these assignments regardless of whether they’re coming or not. If you get an assignment then you have the time set up to do it. If you don’t have something then congratulations, go watch Netflix or something.
  • Experiment – The gateway is all about experimenting with your writing. You will be asked to take something old you’ve written and convert it into a variety of things. Don’t be scared to think of crazy or insane ideas to transform it into because, regardless of what it is, they’ll tell you to do it.
  • Don’t go quietly into the night – Make your presence known in the class, don’t sit in the back and stay quiet (no one did this in my class). The gateway and the minor is about creating a community, making friends, and connecting with people so let people know you exist in the class. Don’t be scared to read the daily writing (you’ll know eventually what this is).
  • Enjoy it – Last, but not least, enjoy the gateway to the fullest. If you don’t make any fun out of it then you will be stuck feeling like you’re just striking things to do off a list. Have fun with it and the time will fly by.

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