I love giving advice. I think I love it because it makes me feel like I’m doing something proactive in this messed up, unpredictable world. Even if the person I am advising doesn’t take the advice, I still feel like I did something that helped the situation. Of course, that may be overestimating my impact. Regardless:
I would advise anyone who is excited, confused, enticed, or remotely interested in writing to look into pursuing this minor. I thought I knew everything I needed to know about writing when I walked into class at the beginning of the semester. Boy, was I wrong! This class challenged my perspective on what it means to be a writer and what the act of writing entails. Three ideas that lead to that change are listed below:
1. No piece is ever finished: you can repurpose or remediate any piece of writing. There will always be something in a piece that may need some tweeking or restating because the context and audience will change. It might have a grade on it, but a paper can always be reworked to fit into a tighter, or larger, niche.
Something that goes along with that…
2. Do not fear revision: I used to hate revising. I figured if I wrote a piece what I had in my head was good enough at the time and would be good enough to be shown to the world. In my mind, once something came out of my mind it was fixed; there was no way to rethink it. Well, I was WRONG. REVISING IS SO IMPORTANT! I cannot stress that enough. Through this class, I learned that it’s okay if your drafts are terrible and your idea may change from beginning to end product. No one will ever write a perfect first draft (if they say so they’re liars), so don’t put pressure on yourself.
3. Writing is fun: It’s true: writing can be fun. School tends to suck the fun out of a lot of things, but Writing 220 forced us to relocate that fun. We were constantly encouraged to go outside the box, to disregard typical form, and take risks. We were also reminded, many times, not to worry so much. I think U of M kids actually have a really hard time with that last one, and it was refreshing to be reassured that, yeah, we’ve got a handle on this, so don’t freak out.
Hopefully these points can help guide you on your journey through the minor!