To the Minor in Writing Youngins

I don’t like giving advice. Er, “life advice,” that is. I mean I kind of like giving “life advice” at times, but I’m only 20 and I’m terrified of giving bad advice. Like what if I accidentally ruin your life? What do I know? Everyone is different and you’re one of a kind, and that means you might do your best writing under pressure (like me!) or you might excel by planning weeks in advance. You might give away a little too much about yourself in class (hi, it’s me again), or you might be more comfortable listening rather than talking. You might love getting to know other people (same), or you might rather focus on the course material.

Phil Dunphy from Modern Family giving advice

In all of these scenarios, there isn’t a right or wrong answer. There’s only a solution to what works best for you. Here’s a list of things that worked best for me:

  1. Get to know your blog group members. It was a lot easier for me to make strides in my projects and papers when I was completely upfront with my classmates. They gave me great advice, and I think I was able to give decent writing advice throughout the semester as well, which leads into my next point…
  2. Don’t look at peer editing as a task that only helps the other person. I got a lot of great ideas from reading my classmates’ papers and projects. Their great ideas generated some of my best ideas. Being critical of someone else’s work teaches you more about yourself than you’d think. Embrace it.
  3. I’m not sure if you’re a self-proclaimed writer or not (I decided to stick with that label), but I think it’s important to realize that anyone who ever writes is a writer. This class isn’t meant to teach you how to be a writer, it’s to help you realize that you are a writer.
  4. Don’t second guess that you’re a writer. Just stick with it. Be confident in your words.
  5. Be completely upfront with your instructor during conferences! If you haven’t done as much work on the project as you maybe should have, then mention that. They need to know that you plan on doing more work (or vice versa, that you’re pretty much done with your project). Naomi always understood when I hit a creative wall, and I think she appreciated the transparency.

What do I know, though?

Kelly Hall

I'm a junior at the University of Michigan studying Psychology with minors in Writing and Entrepreneurship. I love writing about community events, especially those involving sports. On campus, I spend most of my time at the Michigan Daily, where I'm a sports editor and writer.

6 thoughts to “To the Minor in Writing Youngins”

  1. Hi Kelly,

    First and foremost, the gif you picked is hilarious. I’m not kidding when I saw it I burst out laughing during my Comm lecture.

    Anyways, I really enjoyed the advice you gave for the youngins. Especially the point you raise about being upfront with your instructor I find to be extremely important. I wish I mentioned it in my post because it is so important to getting the most out of this class. Frankly, being honest with your group members was helpful for me, too because both you and Wyatt were understanding and knew how to talk me off the creative ledge, so to speak. I’ve really enjoyed working with both of you over the last few weeks and can’t wait to see how all of our projects turn out!

  2. Hey Kelly,

    These are awesome tips. I agree with them all. I especially like your tips that everyone who writes is a writer, and to get to know your blog groups. I found that getting to know whomever I was working with in the class really helped with the process of writing. Peer review can be really cool if it works out the right way. That being said, I really enjoyed getting feedback from you and Caroline because I really valued your opinions and I knew that you had taken the time to really read my work and could give good feedback on it. Anyways, it’s been a pleasure and have a great break!!

  3. I really enjoyed reading this advice. One aspect that I noticed come up in many advice blog posts was to not only be open and upfront during peer editing, but to also learn from other classmate’s work. Upon finishing Chamberlin’s article on peer editing, I began to look at it as more of a learning process and not a bargaining process solely focused on improving the work that I gave the peer editor. With this advice, I am more willing to embrace the peer editing process and looking forward to learning new styles and techniques of writing.

  4. Hey Kelly!

    I appreciate you taking the time to give us youngins some advice about the Minor in Writing. I completely agree with all five of the tips that you suggested, specifically numbers two and four. I love workshop because I not only get the opportunity to make suggestions to my peers, but to also receive suggestions on my own writing. I feel like each time we have the chance to workshop we grow as writers, whether we are workshopping or being workshopped. I also loved how you mentioned that we should never second guess ourselves and to be confident in our own words. I think that this will only make our writing stronger. I will definitely be thinking about your advice come our next project. Thanks again! P.S. The gif you included is hilarious!

  5. Hi Kelly!
    I thought it was such a good idea to include a gif in your blog post, especially the one you chose, because I love modern family. I also like that you made a list of advice, it made it much easier to sift through than a long paragraph. I can really relate to when you said you don’t like giving advice, because you don’t want to give bad advice and ruin someone’s life. I always feel that way when I have to give advice. I also liked the portion about what it means to be a writer. I think it was a really good point when you said “anyone who writes is a writer”, because I often struggle with what it means to be a writer.

    Anyways, thanks for the advice,

    Meredith

  6. Hey Kelly,
    I thought your intro paragraph was a great transition into the advice you gave us. It was really relatable, especially because of the small side comments about yourself that you put in parentheses. All the advice you gave was awesome, but #4 and #5 definitely stuck with me. Once and while, I don’t feel confident about the writing I produce and am pretty nervous to submit it. Hearing “be confident in your own words” goes a long way there. I also have never been very comfortable opening up to professors, so the advice to be honest throughout Gateway was really helpful. Thanks for taking the time to write this!
    Kevin

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