I’ve reached the end. Now what?

This post is not going to be about a writing problem, per se. It is, however, going to be about an issue I have that is intimately related to the writing that I produce. That is: What do I do with it when it’s finished?

 

For the last four years I”ve been trained to treat a piece of my own writing in a very particular way. Shape it to the audience (usually a professor or GSI), finish it on time, include content relevant to studies, receive grade, and the cycle is done. There’s an understanding between everyone involved that a piece of writing will be generated, change hands, be evaluated, and then be more or less forgotten about. How do I treat my own writing when this presupposed understanding no longer exists?

Let’s say I’m applying for a job. All sorts of jobs desire candidates with strong verbal and written communication skills. At what point in the interview process am I supposed to bring up the fact that I’ve got an e-portfolio that I put together in college specifically to show off my ability to write? Should I even bother to mention that fact? I would think so, but I’m not well-experienced with interviewing just yet.

 

I’ve come to really like the direction in which this Capstone project is going, and I don’t want all the effort I’ve put in to end up without purpose. I also understand that my project in particular, because of the grim subject matter, may not be suited for all types of opportunities, but it does have merit as an example of good writing, I think. How do I make sure that this, and all other writing I compose, remains useful to me in a professional sense, and how, when, and to whom do I present this back-catalog? Is it normal to keep a portfolio of quality writing to sample when applying to professions outside the English Language Arts field?

2 thoughts to “I’ve reached the end. Now what?”

  1. Hi Keith,

    I’m really interested by the problem you’ve presented here because it is a problem that I myself have struggled with as well. What do I do with this piece of work that I’ve put so much time and effort into? I think the solution is somewhat twofold.

    First, through the professional lens: the ability to write, to really be able to communicate and express yourself, is a useful skill in almost every field. There is not one profession that jumps to my mind where being a good writer would be a negative thing. Being able to show that you have these skills (as well as the ability to commit to a project with this depth and see it through to the end) will be valuable regardless of which field you end up going into. Never be afraid to show off what you’ve accomplished here.

    Secondly, I think your piece in particular represents somewhat of a catharsis. You personally have gained something by being able to write about such a serious and emotional event that clearly had such an impact on you. Even if this piece of work never sees the light of day again does not mean that you didn’t gain anything by doing it.

    Just some stuff to consider!

    Zach

  2. Keith,

    I might not have a great answer to your question because it’s one that I’ve been searching for an answer to as well. My Gateway project last fall was about a topic that was somewhat pertinent to internships I was applying to, yet the handful of applications that I attached it to as a writing sample never got a response. It can be deflating to think you’ve generated your best, most comprehensive project only to have it disregarded by the people you most desire to value it.

    We live in a world characterized by ever-shortening attention spans, so even the most tenured, renowned writers are seeing their audiences become more and more niche. Even so, I think the end result doesn’t necessarily have to be outside affirmation. I’ve found my personal growth and the fulfillment of creating something unique to be the most essential end result of my writing in these four years.

    This reality does kind of suck, but at the same time I’ve found it relieves the pressure of catering to others in your writing. Like in art, music, etc., writing should be what you want it to be, and if others happen to enjoy it, that’s just an added bonus.

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