Pitch (brainstorming session) Perfect

8 reflections:

1. Talking out my ideas was super helpful. There was a lot of power to saying outloud what I have been thinking with such attentive, engaged listeners (thank you maya and ashley!)
2. I originally thought 4 pitches was a lot to come up with and was a little intimidated by the prospect. My favorite idea ended up being the 4th one that I had to reach for at the end of brainstorming which just goes to show that there is a lot of value to forcing myself to push my creative limits.
3. I loved hearing about Maya and Ashley’s projects. It was so exciting to hear what they were thinking, creating, and wondering. It gave me energy and perspective on my own possible project.
4. My favorite pitch currently is a project that dives into a group of women that a couple friends and I formed last semester.  We meet with once a week to share ideas, knowledge, and questions. It has kind of turned into a think tank for how to navigate being a woman in your early 20s. I want to talk about why we starting meeting, the importance of networks of women, intentional conversation and topics, what everyone in the group has gained from it, and how and why other women should start doing the same thing. Basically a how to start a girls club kit.
5. I expanded on this idea a lot with the help of Maya and Ashley. My original pitch was a long essay and while I still think that will be the general form I want the project to expand beyond that and include a lot more elements.
6. The question top of mind for me now is how do I want to incorporate research into this project? 
7. I have a lot work to do which is scary and exciting.
8. I am now more excited about my project and for this class.

reflections reflections…

I’ve had a great experience pitching my ideas in class the other day. To be honest, I had a difficult time writing all four pitches––I thought it would take me forty minutes to write all four, but it surprisingly took me 2 hours!

I think what I struggled with most at the time, was having an idea that I’d be able to write about, struggle with, and have fun for a long period of time! So when I squeezed out four pitch ideas, I was very pleased and excited to hear how my peers were interested in all of them, and one of my pitches allowed me to write about the other three pitch ideas.

Okay, I’m getting pretty vague––in a nutshell, I am a creative person. I love crafting things, painting, writing poetry, making zines, make moody vignettes if I’m in the mood. Three of my pitches for the other day were:

  1. A “mixed media” book of vignettes regarding my relationship with my dad.
  2. A “vlog” of what it is like to be a musician/music student in today’s modern world––how my career may look different and unique.
  3. A “virtual” book club slash blog, where I read a ton of books, and review them, for all readers to see and have a conversation online with me!

But the one that occurred to me first, and the one I actually pitched first, was my idea of a book of poetry, themed “my closet.” I want to write a series of poems, prose or abstract, where I can reveal thoughts or feelings: joys and fears, bothers and good food, secrets and other secrets, etc. I want my reader (and I’m still figuring out who the audience may be) to know who I really am––what is in my closet?

My peer group on Tuesday was really helpful guiding me to see how I can really do all of these other pitches, within the structure of my favorite pitch. I can talk about my relationship with my dad in several poems, or reveal what it is like to struggle in a practice room for hours each day, or quote a book and write a poem of its impact on me. There will be crafts! I know myself, I wouldn’t be able to abstain from that!

Talking these ideas out really encouraged me that I do have something I’m excited about, and I am really looking forward to where this idea takes me!

first of many reflections

It is great to be back in the Writing Minor community. Although I’ve technically been a part of it since the Gateway course, I haven’t taken a writing class since, and spent a semester abroad. I’m excited to get back into writing, and to work on the Capstone project with support and advice from my peers. For my pitches, I thought of four fairly different ideas, but all projects that I’ve thought about pursuing personally over my four years at Michigan.

After discussing ideas with Alexis, I gained some new ideas on how I can expand upon my ideas further. My first pitch is to create a photo essay about the struggles of transitioning out of college as a senior; I would interview other seniors at Michigan about their post graduate plans, and how they came to the decisions that they made. I find that scrolling on LinkedIn has become such a ‘thing’ senior year (I know I do it all the time), but I tend to see the same types of things again and again, another one of my peers has accepted a high paying job at a large company. This is great and exciting for these individuals, but I also wonder about what everyone else is doing, the people that aren’t posting about it on LinkedIn. I think it would be enticing for college students to read, particularly seniors, to know that there is no ‘better’ or ‘right’ path to take upon graduation, we are young, and pursuing what’s right for you is most important.

My next idea was to do something involving letter writing; one of my friends took a letter writing class here that I wish I could’ve taken, so I thought it would be a fun thing to explore for my capstone project. In class yesterday discussing our ideas, I thought of some potential ways I could utilize letter writing in my project. One idea I came up with in discussion was to send letters to the different places I’ve lived, both here on campus and back home in Cleveland. It would be interesting to see who now calls my Oxford dorm room, room in my sorority house, and apartment home as I once did, and how our relationships with these spaces are similar and different. Another idea I had in class was to write letters to the ten people in my life that I text the most; I’m interested to see how our communication changes and what new things I can learn about my closest friends and family from letter writing. I came up with one of these new ideas in the middle of our class discussion, and another when talking to Alexis. I love taking the time to unpack our ideas and discuss them in class, because the ideas of others often spark new ideas for my own work.

The last idea I discussed with Alexis was a collection of poems/short pieces of writing/illustrations inspired by Mari Andrew, one of my favorite writers/artists. I would want to chronicle the past, present, and future of my life in this project and create content that others could relate to. This idea was very similar to a few of Alexis’ ideas, and it was great to connect and share what we were both looking to accomplish and reflect on in our projects.

Project Pitch Reflections

It feels like nearly centuries ago since I last posted on the MiW Word Press, but I am back baby — and it sure feels great. So, without further ado, I’ll jump into how my pitching process went during our second day of class.

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I’ve been loosely thinking about my Capstone project since learning about the course, say, two years ago. I’ve known that I wanted to make it something of a thesis — a product that signifies the culmination of my academic work at Michigan. The cherry on top, if you will. It’s certainly a massive undertaking, so when actually taking pen on my pitches, I started out by leaning on what I was comfortably with. My pitches included exploring (1) occupational licensing, (2) the University of Michigan, (3) loneliness, with public policy as a potential corrective, and (4) running.

The first — occupational licensing — is a topic that I have developed a serious, albeit unconventional, interest in over the last two years as a public policy student. I have written a lot on it (particularly the ways in which it can be reformed), and really enjoy reading editorials/reports/etc. on the topic. But, after talking with my group in class, I realized that it might be time to let go . . . at least for now 🙂 I want to push myself out of my comfort zone and try my hand at something a little new.

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Chatting with my group members was cathartic and clarifying. We talked about the ways in which topics (2) and (3) may overlap. I liked that idea a lot, and since leaving class have been incredibly excited about it. I’m currently thinking not only about the correct medium for the project, but also, with that in mind, the appropriate balance to strike. I want the project to serve as a potential recommendation — either to U-M administrator (if I write about loneliness within the context of the school), or to a government official (if I expand the scope).

Our Capstone goals also excited me, particularly the idea of “leveraging writing experience in order to address current writing problems in conversation with other Capstone students during discussion, workshop, and the MiW blog.” Already I can see that honest, vulnerable conversations in class will be invaluable along the way.

All that is to say that I feel like I am in a great headspace right now — I’m excited, motivated, and, maybe, a little nervous. But I’m ready to go, and I can’t wait.

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Initial Pitch Reflection

On Monday, I pitched four three ideas for my capstone project. The least interesting, in my opinion, was the idea of creating an interactive educational website to help those trying to learn how to code for the first time.

The other two, which I feel far more excited about after our in-class discussions, involve creating a design language (like this). The key distinction between these “other two” was really how they would be applied.

I first thought of applying a new design language to a specific brand. For example, a single brand’s color palette, logo, key marketing messages, and digital products (like their app, website, or even something like ATM screens for a bank).

However, the other approach is beginning to seem more attractive. Instead of just sticking with one brand, why not design a more universal design language and then apply it with various examples? Sure, that’s more ambitious, but I really like the idea. My peers also expressed some favorability thanks to the greater universality compared to the first pitch.

Feedback from my peers was helpful in other ways, too, but the most exciting part for me was to hear what others were thinking.

For now, though, there’s one major question on my mind…

Let Me Paint the Picture for You

Looking at my four pitches, there are three things that can be easily discerned:

  1. I want to do something more creative and of personal value rather than academic or practical for resume-building.
  2. I am a poet, an observer, a nostalgic, and a lover of stories.
  3. If it doesn’t have a semi-catchy title already in the works, it’s not for me.

When I think about it, none of those things really surprise me about my work, and that’s an exciting (and intimidating) place to be as a writer. It means I know myself – or, at least, I’m getting closer to – but it also means that there’s no arguing with the grinning child in me who demands more paint rather than a nice pencil.

So, all I can do is sigh.

But, truly, I think it will be alright. Talking through my ideas with my partner helped me understand the situation for what it was: a passion project. And if I’m not “all in” about what I’m making, I’m probably going to struggle more than if I had undertaken the thing my heart was set on in the first place.

Taking another look at my pitches, something that is less discernable (but still strikingly evident to a perceptive eye) is that two or three of my four pitches are all getting at the same thing: I want to write and share my stories – either as poetry, creative nonfiction, or both. I want to revisit the experiences that have shaped me, and I want to believe that I am as important as to have learned something worth sharing from the short life I’ve lived thus far.

So, call me conceited. Call me reflective.

Call me thrilled.

Whatever you call me, please allow 3-5 business days for a response.

After all, you can’t expect to interrupt an artist when they’re elbows-deep in their work.

Reflection Time

Having to do pitches for what I would spend so much of my time on for the next four months during the first full week of the semester had me like this:

Alas, I did not run away, but instead somehow managed to write four semi-decent pitches. I’m someone who’s really hard on myself, but I was proud of myself that I was able to figure out some good ideas that I would be excited to work on for the duration of the semester. My potential topics are diverse, so I have to pick a topic before I even think about picking a medium for my topic — but one thing at a time! I’m a person with a lot of different passions, so making a decision is always the hardest part for me. 

Once I finally got my pitches done (phew!) someone in class compared this capstone to writing a thesis. I’m already writing a thesis. I can’t write two. Ahhhhhhhhh!

My thesis and previous research projects definitely came into play when I was thinking about my pitches. In the Communication and Media department, I did formal academic media research in my capstone, and I’m currently working on a thesis about celebrity children on social media. So, I knew right away that I wanted to spread my wings with this project and see what I can do with it instead of playing it safe — so, no topics like my thesis topic or my previous research topics. I want to be personal in this in some way. But, hearing that this is like another thesis scared me. 

The fear went away a lot when I got with my group to listen to pitches. I realized that everyone is nervous, and this is a big project for all of us.

I was really surprised when I presented my pitches to my group. The pitch that I wrote last and came as an afterthought — exploring people’s relationships with feminism — is the one that my entire group liked best. I almost didn’t even include that pitch because I thought that no one would be interested in hearing about it. I’m a bit nervous because I did a lot with feminism in my gateway course even though my final project ended up being only loosely based on it, so I don’t want to repeat myself. I have to figure out how to make this new and different if that’s the topic that I end up going with. 

I also really enjoyed hearing my peers’ pitches because it gave me inspiration of my own. I realized the diversity possible in this project and how much I’ll be able to learn from my peers who will likely do such different projects from me! 

Right now, I’m both excited and nervous for the rest of Capstone. I know it will end up being great in the end!

Am I back at square one…

okay no I can’t be because I think I definitely have the idea for my capstone down. I know the topic, I’m sure of it. But..that’s about it…

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But okay that’s okay, I’m breathing and I’m still quite excited and I still have time on my side I think. I definitely didn’t even think I would be able to fully write out one pitch, but hey, that happened…4x! And I surprised myself with the way I began to think. I was actually somewhat creative. And class was super helpful in allowing me to get some input on which of my ideas were the most interesting and of course also provided me with some validation. But the aspects that my peers like the most are the parts of my project that I’m most terrified of committing to. But it’s senior year second semester. I’m about to graduate. I’m about to begin stepping out of this bubbly comfort of academia into another realm of reality. So it’s about time for some risk taking right?

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Then why do I still feel so jittery? Someone in class compared this capstone project to a sort of thesis. Boy did I not realize what I signed up for. And yet, I still can’t help but feel so excited. So excited to create something original and big and personal. So excited to have a finish product that I can look back at and feel accomplished about. So excited to really feel like I’m shaping the culmination of my college years. So, I’ve decided to push away the thoughts of worry currently racing through my head, and instead approach this project with a positive, calm, and hopeful mind. I have so many wonderful people to help me along the way too, so what could really go wrong?

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Reflecting and stuff

I’m excited and I’m nervous. I’m nervous because I’m excited, and I’m excited because I’m nervous. You follow, right?

I *love* the concept of a capstone project — the freedom, the creative possibility, the writing, all of it. But it’s precisely that open-endedness that’s left me uncertain. I thought I had a pretty good idea, and then I wasn’t sure if it was too rigid. I added three more good ideas, and now I’m starting from square one, wondering what I should be pouring in four months of effort into. I want this to be something I’m proud of. What if I choose the wrong path, and don’t realize before it’s too late? Are my ideas too academic? Are they too ambitious? Not ambitious enough?

This is also, I must say, Classic Max. Hesitating and pondering, running it all in my head way beyond the necessary, healthy amount. So here we are. And I have to say, both of those feelings — nervousness and excitement — were heightened after Tuesday’s class, both because the other members of my group have such cool ideas and because it’s here right now.

Taking a step back, I know I’m ready to throw myself, my energy, my thought, my focus into this project. I feel fortunate that something in an academic setting could get me this excited, and that I’m passionate about writing, generally.

Which is to say: I’m ready. Let’s do this. I think?

Capstone Project???!?

So I actually didn’t pitch because I wasn’t in class/in Ann Arbor last week, but my experience in class was really helpful. Hearing my peers’ ideas was exciting. My group was particularly interesting because we are all in Ford together, so we know each other in a different academic setting. Writing is more creative, less bound by spoken and unspoken norms and guidelines of public policy. It was uplifting to hear how both boundary-pushing and aspirational the ideas of my peers were, going past interests in our major or typical academic pursuits, doing things that are new and different, and taking advantage of what feels like a final semester for experimentation and exploration before we graduate. Nick’s project pitches reflected what I know about his personality in their clarity and obvious intelligence, and after hearing Nick’s really apt descriptions of feeling ungrounded and disconcerted with the end of college, I am incredibly excited to get to know more about these more personal and creative avenues. Similarly, Venela’s incredibly personal and moving topic struck me because she of her clear vision on the kind of project she wants to pursue, and her willingness to confront such deeply emotional experiences in this project. With this boldness in mind, I felt more equipped to think about my pitches.

A frequent problem of mine is that I have so many theoretically good ideas, but they feel half-baked, underdeveloped–for lack of a better word, not that good. It is extremely difficult to make decisions between an initially overwhelming amount of promising ideas but ultimately underwhelming amount of really viable ideas. I’m currently working with better refining my ideas, distinguishing what is actually good and promising, and what is an idea that lacks the depth, character or passion I’m looking for in this project. I guess we’ll see where this goes…