thoughts from SLC

My best friend, Calypso, is an alum of both Michigan and the writing minor. She lives in Salt Lake City now. She came to visit me in September, and we had what we call “the critical moment” in a bathroom stall of Mash. The critical moment was serious and hilarious and this: I found myself encumbered, daunted by my course work but mostly by the capstone class. She writes essays like I do; it’s a long, monopolizing trudge, so she understands my apprehension.

What am I to do? And how am I to do it? Are we being set up for failure with the drafts and documents and multimodal requirements and the project?

Those were the questions.

Now I am in Salt Lake City. It is very still here, and I am thinking about a new set of questions:

What if we just complete the tasks assigned to us? What if we don’t allow them to encumber us? What if overthinking it wasn’t a part of the process? What if how we treat the writing process was a reflection of reality: A perfect clause will not save the world so it’s unwise to put pen to paper thinking that it will.


3 thoughts to “thoughts from SLC”

  1. Hi Erica!

    I am in my first year of the writing minor program and a sophomore at Michigan. I am working on my first project of my minor in writing career and I have found myself overwhelmed by the possibilities of directions to take with my piece. I have struggled, though, to identify exactly what I am having trouble with while trying to work on this project, as writing seemed to come pretty naturally to me before I started the gateway course and I think this post has helped me better understand it. Part of my problem is that there is no right or wrong way to articulate the prompt as it is ambiguous in manner. What do I do and what do I not do?
    And after a couple of weeks with pathetic drafts in front of me, I think I finally came up with something I really like today. Sometimes I think that we get caught up with the task of writing what is right or perfect when we should really be worrying about what makes sense. Or maybe even what doesn’t make sense. Maybe we should be focused on what comes naturally then refining it to be, not right, or perfect, but enough.

    Thanks for sharing Erica! Your post has made me more confident in the state of my project. I hope I didn’t confuse you too much by asking more questions, haha.
    Caroline Petersen

  2. Hi Erica,

    I think your realization about overthinking and writing is both refreshing and liberating. It’s often more than difficult, as people conditioned in the education system, to allow ourselves to complete work without constantly overanalyzing and considering how our choices will affect the final result or what grade we earn. I think you make a good point that of all things, writing, should be one thing that doesn’t need to have constant over analyzation and perfection in its craft. Our best is our best, and of course as much as we would love to think “a perfect clause could save the world,” we know this isn’t true. It might be important to note that simplicity (as you seemed to have been inspired by in Salt Lake City), is often the key to creating the most effective pieces of work, writing or not.

  3. Hi Erica,

    I am completely with you about your initial questions. I have been having a hard-er time with this class because of the freedom we have in our projects. I do enjoy the different draft stages that are being offered, however, it is hard to continue to work on your drafts when it’s up to you for what you want your final production to be. Which leads me to also reflecting on your additional questions, since we establish our own work, how do we know we are going above and beyond to improving ourselves/our work? Although I love our attendance questions/discussion, I do think that it would be more impactful if we allow for discussion about our work with each other. I feel like this type of “overthinking” would improve our thought process because we will be able to see the struggles of our classmates projects and help them fight through it, which also feeds us into improving our own project. I hope that with the start of our workshops we will be able to change the thinking process and have it gear more towards the struggles we are having in our projects/proposals/writing evolution.

    Looking forward to having this discussion.
    Emily Sejna

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