An Open Letter to Future Writing Minors

Dear Writer,

Congratulations! If you are reading this, you have decided to join the best of us as part of the Sweetland Minor in Writing.

Welcome.

At this point, you’ve probably thought a lot about why you wanted to minor in Writing and articulated that desire through your application essays. So I’m not going to tell you something you already know in saying that you made a good decision (even though, in that last statement, I ended up saying what I said I wasn’t going to say). I will, however, provide you with a neat, numbered list of some advice, gathered from what I’ve observed, enjoyed, and messed up over the course of this semester:

1. Have an open mind.

This is probably the most cliche piece of advice ever. I feel like having an “open mind” would apply to anything, whether it’s the first day at a new job or if you’re on an awkward blind date or if you’re trying a new brand of cereal. It’s generic. But it’s true. Over the course of the minor, you’ll probably change in your writing style; it’s important to keep an open mind when observing that change.

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Love your topic as much as this chihuahua loves this other chihuahua.

2. Pick a topic you LOVE.

I don’t mean “pick a topic you are okay with” or “pick a topic you like.” You seriously need to be deeply, irreversibly in love with your topic. Spending all semester on something you don’t care about would not only be miserable for you, but your lack of enthusiasm would likely show through your quality of writing.

3. Dedicate some time to picking that topic, and actually think about it.

When I was considering which topic to choose for Project 2 and 3, I kind of sifted through folders on my computer a bit without really thinking about it. It was casual. Too casual. Take some time deciding what to choose, and don’t rush into it. If you think about it more later and want to change your idea, change it. As was mentioned earlier, I’m all about that change.

4. Get to know the beautiful thing that is Wix.

Seriously, the best way to format your EPortfolio. Hands down. Who needs C++ or Python when you have Wix, man.

5. Channel your urge to write for fun.

In the minor, you’ll talk about writing, you’ll think about writing, you’ll write about writing. Which is kind of weird at first, since–before starting the Gateway course–writing seems kind of inherent. Professors tend to use writing simply as a vehicle of communication for you to present what you have learned in their course. But writing is an actual thing. and when you’re thinking about writing ALL. THE. TIME, you’ll want to write more often. So keep a journal / Word Doc / napkin nearby at all times for when the inspiration strikes.

Now go write something.

-Allison

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