Really Bad First Drafts Are Okay

Hello blogosphere! I feel like it’s been awhile since I’ve posted a new blog post directly from my account, so a warm greeting to all of those out there in Sweetland blog-land. My class was recently tasked with synthesizing all of our research we have gathered so far for our capstone project and then taking a crack at writing an introduction for our project (the real drafts are due post-Spring break, eep!). After diving into both of these tasks and creating a really really shitty first draft of an introduction (there were spots in my intro where I actually said “need more info” in parentheses), I have definitely come away with a greater knowledge of the things I need to research further and the overall deadlines I need to set for myself moving forward.

To give some background, I have done a majority of my research for my project on prominent women who attended the University of Michigan. A lot of this research has been focused on “the first women,” which, appropriately named, are the first female students to ever attend the University of Michigan. I feel as though I have a pretty well-rounded knowledge of what it was like to be the very first women to attend the University, but outside of that I do have a ton of other questions. A lot of these questions revolve around the experiences of women at the University between the years of 1900-present day. I know, I know. That is a HUGE time period that I have left unexplored in my research of University of Michigan women. I think a lot of that is due to my natural interest in people who are named “first” in accomplishing something. But regardless of my affinities, this introduction draft really opened my eyes to an entire section of history that I have been blissfully ignoring to research.

So moving forward, I am going to dig into the history of women in the 20th century. I have already done a little bit of research into the University’s first black Homecoming queen in the year 1968, and although that is a good start, I know I need to push my research further in order to fill my current gap in University history. I think one of the first places I will start is by learning more about the women who formed the Michigan League and what it felt like for women during that time to not be allowed into the Michigan Union building. Their experience is something I put in my introduction draft, but did not have enough information to fully uncover the impact the women of the Michigan League had on the University culture. In addition, I am interested in researching more about what it was like to be a woman, specifically a woman of color, during the Civil Rights Movement at the University of Michigan. I think Opal Bailey’s difficult, yet impactful experience as being the first black Homecoming queen during this time period speaks to a greater need for exploration into this historical era.

Opal Bailey at the 1968 Homecoming game. Source: http://michigantoday.umich.edu/fractured-fairy-tale/

In addition, I found myself while writing my draft introduction asking a ton of questions about the experiences of more present-day students. Although I will be doing a lot of first-hand research on current day students through my podcast, I think it may be important to understand some of the diverse experiences of female students throughout the past few years. The Michigan Daily will be a great source for this information as they have a ton of op-ed and opinion piece content from women and women of color on campus. The newspaper also recently released a “Women Issue” a couple weeks ago that I am excited to explore.

In regards to my patronus Charles Baxter, I think it might be good to spend some time delving into his work over Spring break in order to better understand storytelling and characterization. Although my podcast and investigative bibliographies are non-fiction, I ultimately would like to tell a cohesive story of what it means to be a female student at the University of Michigan. Sharpening my storytelling skills will only help me reach this goal.

And…We did it!

Did anyone else think this semester went way WAY too fast?! I mean, I feel like it was just yesterday everyone in Shelley’s Writing 220 class was awkwardly sitting down in that little computer lab USB classroom, not knowing what exactly we were getting into but excited to find out. It feels like just yesterday when Shelley introduced the major projects in the class and my heart began to flutter with excitement and a whole lot of panic. It feels like just yesterday we were all sharing our first ideas for our repurposing pieces and discussing the rubric for the eportfolio. It feels like just yesterday I was the insecure writer who would have never dreamed of creating a whole WEBSITE to showcase her work for all of the interwebs to see.

But that wasn’t yesterday, it was a whole semester ago. And the amount of growth that occurred has allowed that insecure writer to become slightly less insecure, if not actually confident about her writing. Because ultimately the thing this class taught me the most was that it is okay to have confidence in what I write. My voice does matter and people do want to read what I have to say. And it is okay to share my story; it will only mean more people will get to connect with my hope and my past struggles.

So here is my eportfolio, a whole semester’s worth of work.

http://mmoog90.wix.com/meport

This little url has caused me many sleepless nights, a little bit of anxiety, and a whole lot of love for what I have created this semester. I truly believe the work I have done throughout the class represents who I am as a person to the fullest extent. I have grown and learned more about myself in a way no other class on campus could come even close to doing. And lets face it, I have worked SO hard to get to this place, I can’t help but be proud with what I have accomplished. And with that, I am signing off for the last time as a gateway student!

Writing Out Loud

After reading all three of these self-reflection pieces by Orwell, Didion, and Sullivan, I have come to one conclusion: writers want to tell people the things they think inside of their head before they even know what those things are. Didion, in her “Why I Write” essay, says it best: “Had I been blessed with even limited access to my own mind there would have been no reason to write.” And then in Orwell’s piece where he discusses the “four motives” for a writer: “Historical impulse. Desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity.” Writers are constantly trying to figure out the world around them and they are best able to do this through the writing they produce. Even when writing this blog post, I had the slightest idea what I was going to write about until I started moving my fingers against my keyboard.

And that’s where Sullivan comes in. With the ability for writing to be instantly scrolled across our vast technological landscape–posted and shared in a matter of seconds–writing becomes different. I am not saying writing becomes better or worse than the previous analogous form, but I am arguing it becomes different. The main difference is timing, we are able to share our thoughts faster, but that also means our readers expect our thoughts to come faster. Sullivan has an awesome comparison in his piece about blogging and writing: “Blogging is therefore to writing what extreme sports are to athletics: more free-form, more accident-prone, less formal, more alive. It is, in many ways, writing out loud.” In my experience blogging has been a way for me to write exactly what I would like to say when I want to say it. I am not burdened by the formal constructs of strict grammar rules or a professional tone. I am able to place the exact words that are running through my head onto the electronic page without worrying if that word choice was too repetitive or if I’m even making any sense. I can just write.

Thinking about the “urgency” embedded within Orwell’s and Didion’s writing, I really think they would come to love blogging. Both writers discuss the intense need to be able to release the thoughts inside their head through writing, Didion going on to say (as mentioned above) that she can’t even access the thoughts inside of her head unless she writes. This makes me wonder: What would Orwell and Didion say about blogging? I am imagining Orwell would probably look a little something like Ron Swanson interacting with computers for the first time:

Ron Swanson Computers

But maybe if he got past all of the technical difficulties, he would end up thinking blogging was the perfect platform to share his political ideas. Or maybe he would think it was a waste of time, a place where a fully constructed thought could not be produced? Didion, on the other hand, would probably LOVE blogging. Her desire to get the words outside of her head onto the page would be best fulfilled through blogging because the options are limitless online. She would be able to write as much as she wanted and as fast as she wanted. Her sense of urgency that we talked about in class today (holla to my Writing 220 class) would be subdued.

Thinking about all of this in regards to my “Why I Write” piece, it will be important to think about what makes me feel urgent about my writing; what makes me want to “write out loud.” I will want to uncover that first moment I recognized I was a writer and discover what has made me into the writer I have become today. Whether it be writing imaginative stories in the second grade, winning a fiction writing contest a few short years later, or starting my own blog my freshmen year of college, there have been several moments where I have been able to call writing my home. Tapping into those things is what is going to make my “Why I Write” piece the most effective.

Planning is my Passion

One thing about me that you should probably know: I absolutely love planning. I am the queen of color-coding and sticky notes. Staples is one of my favorite stores (next to Target, of course). I also spent a pretty penny in order to get the cover of my Erin Condren life planner monogrammed and set with metallic paper. I wouldn’t call it an obsession, just a perfectly healthy passion for planning everything. *cue heavy breathing*

meme cat heavy breathing

That being said, I was super pumped after reading the chapter in Writer/Designer on “Drafting and Revising Your Project” because it talks a lot about planning for your major project; in this case our e-Portfolio. There were two places within the chapter that stood out to me and changed how I thought about my e-Portfolio, the first being the rough draft checklist. Some of the things on the list were pretty basic and something I would check without having to think about it (such as finalizing my written content). However, other items on the checklist made me re-think all of the individual parts of the e-Portfolio.

For example, creating a style guideline to follow throughout the e-Portfolio and bringing attention to/making a plan for the navigation of the website. I am a huge proponent of a cohesive aesthetic feel to a website, however, I have never thought about creating an actual style guideline for my e-Portfolio site. I have worked on one before for my current marketing job on campus, so I think following a guide similar to that one would be really effective and beneficial to me! Right now I am thinking of following neutral tones that are calming. I want the people who visit my site to feel relaxed and invited to read my work in an approachable atmosphere. The topic of mental health can be such a scary thing for people; I want to keep the tone of the e-Portfolio as calming and inviting as possible!

As far as the navigation of the site goes, I remember taking a web design class in middle school (obviously SO outdated compared to the technology of 2015) and we discussed the importance of navigation when it comes to websites. We worked through an exercise where we acted as an audience member viewing our page and tried to imagine where their eyes would be led to on the page based on our design choices and where they would be most likely to click first after reading the homepage. Looking through the lens of an audience member really helped clear up any discrepancies I had with the navigation of my little 2007 website. Although the technology may have changed, I think practicing the same exercise will be very helpful for me when I am creating my e-Portfolio navigation. Also, sticky notes are always a must.

Ultimately, I am super pumped to start working on my e-Portfoilo, but also weary of the time needed to execute my dreams for this website. I think with a lot of pre-planning and use of my prior knowledge, I will be able to make my e-Portfolio the perfect representation of me.

Stuck in a Perpetual Feedback Loop

One of the things that really caught my attention when reading about designing our remediation projects in Writer/Designer was their idea of the “Feedback Loop.” I have never been too great at listening to other’s feedback. Chalk it up to a little bit of confidence and way too much stubbornness, but sometimes the ideas inside my head for my work are so sacred I shut all other voices out. I think my distaste for feedback also comes from the lack of effective comments from the dozens of peer editing sessions I’ve had in the past. News flash: “Great work!” is not constructive criticism.

Parks and Rec April Ludgate nightmare
I was the April Ludgate of peer editing.

All bitterness aside, feedback has just not been my cup of tea. But of course, Writing 220 forces me, yet again, out of my comfort zone by having TONS of chances for feedback at every corner; forcing me to not only give feedback, but to receive it with open arms. And I really have learned to love it. I love listening to what my blog group has to say every week through comments and peer review sessions. I love receiving feedback on Canvas for all of my writing assignments I love understanding what others liked about my work and their suggestions for further improvement. It’s all going splendidly.

However, feedback and I are in the beginning stages of our relationship and for some reason we can’t seem to move past that honeymoon phase. Instead of moving forward with the feedback given to me, I love to revel in it and ponder it and keep on revising with it. I am staying within this draft phase of my work; within a perpetual feedback loop. I guess you could say I am a little scared of commitment, scared of moving on to that coveted “final draft” stage.

As far as my remediation project so far, it is going well in the sense that I know what I am doing, but not so well in the sense that I am scared as heck to actually execute this kind of thing. I have never created a well-edited video and I am terrified of the amount of work and late-night hours this project will indeed create. But I am looking forward to pushing myself; challenging myself to go past the feedback, rough draft stage and going for a product that is final and awesome.

Once upon a midnight dreary…

Edgar Allan Poe
Me wishing my responsibilities would be nevermore.

Honesty hour with Maddy: I am totally freaking out. Maybe it’s because school is finally picking up, or the weather is so chilly, or the career fair is this week, or I can barely find time to think. Regardless, I really just want to curl up in a ball and hide under my covers, ignoring the perpetually loud knock of responsibility constantly tapping at my bedroom door. I mean I am basically channeling my inner Edgar Allan Poe. (Much love for the guy, but we can all agree he was a little insane.) Does anyone else feel as utterly overwhelmed as I do right now? I want to put in as much time as possible into my re-purposing project, but life happens and I am struggling to find the right balance. 

On another note, I recently (last Friday) decided to change the topic of my re-purposing project (another reason to add to the ‘Why Maddy is Freaking Out’ list). My new project is based off of a rant I wrote my freshmen year of college when I was hardcore struggling with mental health issues. The rant contains some of the purest and most truthful words I have ever written, and I thought it would be a great starting point for a re-purpose. I ultimately decided that my original re-purposing project of a fashion blog branding how-to guide was too much in my comfort zone of what I already know how to write and write about. I wanted to take a leap and try something entirely new and talk about something I don’t usually talk about: my mental health disorders. I am excited, but also slightly nervous to unveil a personal narrative where I discuss my past, present, and future with mental health. I truly believe speaking about mental health is the only way we can all break the stigma, so I am pumped to be apart of the stigma-fighting movement!

mental health stigma fighter

One of the things I am most worried about, however, is the construction of a personal narrative. Right now I find it so tricky because there has to be a balance between personal anecdotes/thoughts and creativity. My research so far has allowed me to see some interesting takes on the personal narrative, such as a poem and a blog entry. But when I think about writing something like that myself, my stomach gets all twisted and this fear of failure starts rushing in. I want my personal narrative to be authentic, yet captivating, and that’s what is so terrifying right now. I am trying to find the place within myself to muster up the courage and confidence to begin such a daunting task. However, I think this challenge will be so much more rewarding even if I do fail. I am scared, I am excited, and I am unsure. But that’s okay. I truly believe the end product will be worth all of the stress.

I guess the one major request I have for the class is to send me any and all personal narratives you have read in the past and loved. I want to gather as many useful models as possible, to hopefully build my confidence in the personal narrative genre and allow me to get started writing sooner, rather than later.

Thoughts on Writing: More Than Words

Pusheen writing gif
Me writing and being cute.

I have always viewed writing as a personal endeavor. Back in elementary and middle school when I stayed up late with a flashlight under my covers, filling colorful journals up to the brim; I was writing for myself. In high school when I took various creative writing and english classes, I saw writing as a personal therapeutic release from my heavy course load (#futurewolverine). Even in college, writing essays upon essays, making the prompts and the rubrics the driving force behind my words, I was writing for personal success–to please my professor and get an A.

The Craft of Research chapter about “Connecting With Your Reader” has made me question my habit of disregarding the audience of my writing. Instead of writing for myself, or choosing to write solely for the person grading my work (following a certain strict criteria that would burden the creativity and truthfulness of my writing), this chapter challenged me to think about ways to consciously include the reader’s perspective in everything I write. For example, when writing this blog post, I am aware of the fact that, due to the public nature of this online blog, not everyone reading my post will have previously read the chapter I am talking about. That being said, I tried to summarize the point the authors were trying to make in the reading before I began my commentary. I also know that some people who are reading this post have read the chapter and will be looking for my individual take on the assigned reading. Finding this balance in one blog post is important, as it not only helps my audience understand what I am talking about and stay engaged, but it is also improves my credibility as a writer. I am learning that my job as a writer is more than just putting words on a page, but understanding who will be reading, digesting, and possibly questioning those words.

I really enjoyed the image of creating a “persona” for your reader, stated on pg. 19. To me, having this idea of not only thinking about my audience, but defining (or personifying) the type of person who will be reading my writing helps solidify the idea of creating a relationship with the reader. It is honestly very similar to everything I have learned about marketing in my current internship. In order to sell something to someone you have to first understand who the person is that you are trying to sell or reach out to. From there you are better able to send out the best messages that will attract your target audience to buy or consume a certain product or idea. Defining your consumer (or audience) persona is such a huge part of marketing, but it is unusual for us to think of our writing in terms of consumerism. However, when it comes down to it, the goal of your writing is to communicate a message to a group of people in the most efficient way possible…sounds a lot like marketing to me. Looks like my comm degree is getting me somewhere! Woo!

Leslie Knope Parks and Recreation gif
My face because my comm degree is cool. Also, Leslie Knope is my hero.

One thing I will say I was little hesitant to accept was on page 28 when the authors were talking about the so-called awesomeness of writing with a group of people. At first I thought they were talking about sharing your own personal writing in peer-editing groups. However, when I realized they were discussing strategies on writing with people on the same project I. was. appalled. For some reason the communication studies department LOVES assigning us group papers for our midterm and final. That being said, I have a ton of past experience working on one paper with a multitude of writers and it just plain sucks. Everyone has their own unique voice and way of writing, so it is extremely difficult to agree on even one sentence. Plus, relying on other people can be annoying when you are all busy college students with at least three other classes. I have even tried some of their “tips” before, such as delegating tasks. But then everyone’s individual works sound so different and any cohesiveness to the paper is completely lost. I am not sure if any of my fellow peers out there have had a good experience with group writing, but I can definitely say mine have, unfortunately, all been negative. Some things, like writing, are just better when alone. 

Do others feel the same? I would love to hear about some positive group writing experiences! 

The Feast of Love

The Feat of Love Book Cover
Read this book; it will change your life.

This blog post set an especially difficult task for me: choosing only one or two pieces of writing that I loved. As an avid reader and lover of literature, this was no simple task. However, I decided to fulfill both criteria with a piece of writing I would like to emulate and one I consider excellently written and artistically engaging. I chose “The Feast of Love” by Charles Baxter. Although this piece of writing is a novel, I would like to focus on a small section of chapter two. This passage can be accessed here through amazon book previews (bless the internet).

Starting on page 18, Baxter is is writing from the point of view of the main character Bradley. Bradley is discussing a memory he has with his first ex-wife named Kathryn. He says,

“So on this day I’m telling you about, we were both free of our jobs, Kathryn and I, one of those late autumn midwestern Sundays, with a few golden leaves still attached to the trees, you know, last remnants, leaves soaked with cold rain and sticking to the car windshield or clinging to the branches they came from. She woke me up and we made love and I said, I’ll make you breakfast, and I did, my speciality, scrambled eggs with onions and hot sauce, and then I made coffee, while she sat at the table, smiling, with her legs tucked under her. That was something she did. She sat in chairs with her legs tucked under her like that.”

One of the initial things I love about this passage is how Baxter is able to take something so simple as waking up and making breakfast on a fall morning, and elongate it with sensory details and characterization. This idea is showcased specifically when he is describing his idea of “late autumn midwestern Sundays.” By going in depth and describing the look, feel, and location (“sticking to the car windshield”) of the leaves, the reader is able to gain a better understanding of what he actually means when he talks about a fall day in the midwest. Baxter is truly showing you how fall looks in that moment, instead of just telling you–a way of writing I would like to emulate myself. You are able to picture exactly what the setting looks like, and that’s awesome.

Later in the passage, Baxter goes into detail about Bradley’s morning routine and the characterization of his ex-wife, Kathryn. Again, I love the way you can actually see what kind of breakfast he is making through his description. Baxter doesn’t just say, “We made breakfast and ate it,” but instead goes into detail about what kind of breakfast (“scrambled eggs with onions and hot sauce) and how his wife reacted to the meal. Her reaction, and Baxter’s use of detailed indirect characterization, is my favorite part of this passage. The line “That was something she did. She sat in chairs with her legs tucked under her like that,” helps indirectly show the audience who Kathryn is as a person. There are several underlying meanings we can develop from this description: Kathryn is childlike, she is comfortable with Bradley, she enjoys being comfortable, etc. The ability for Baxter to tell us something about a character without giving away all of the meaning is, for me, one of my favorite parts of reading. I love being able to uncover the hidden messages throughout a piece of writing. And ultimately, being less straight-forward with his audience is what makes the characterization of Kathryn more enjoyable for the audience to read.

I would love to emulate Baxter’s style of writing. I love his ability to create meaning indirectly and implement meaningful word choice to tell a story. P.S. You should all read this book, not only because it is amazing, but Charles Baxter used to be an English professor at Umich and the setting of the book is in Ann Arbor!

Let’s Talk About Starbucks & Access

Before I read the first chapter of Writer/Designer, I really thought the only way to achieve multimodality was to have some complicated and labor-intensive podcast where an animated video would be projected Star Wars holographic style into the homes of my audience. Little did I know, multimodality is already apart of my everyday life. Let’s take a look at some of the texts I view throughout my daily routine and see how oblivious I really was to this multimodal thing.

Clueless GIF
Me after reading the first chapter of Writer/Designer. (Also, shoutout to all of my Clueless fans out there.)

Gmail

Like the Type A person I am, there is never a time I go on my computer or phone without checking my email. I am one of those people who gets freaked out by the little notification numbers that start to stack up if you don’t check your email enough. That being said, analyzing something that is very much apart of my daily life was really interesting. First, Gmail implements the linguistic mode as each email sent and recieved uses words to convey messages, as well as the written language used to tell the user where to click on the screen to enter certain parts of their email. Visually, some emails contain images that allow for more detailed messages to be conveyed compared to emails that just contain the linguistic mode. Gmail also uses the spatial mode by having the buttons used to compose and view past and current messages on the right hand side, and the columns of messages showcased on the left hand side. Finally, Gmail implements the gestural mode by allowing user interactivity through the search bar at the top of the interface. This one is a bit of a stretch, but as defined in the reading, gestural mode is included in not only face-to-face interaction, but also in interactivity.

Canvas

Another place I’m sure many of use check frequently, because skool = lyfe (just kidding…kind of). Similar to Gmail, there are several portals/tabs to click on that implement linguistic text in order to convey meaning. There are also several pages of linguistic text, such as announcements from professors, links to class readings, and conversation forums. Visually, Canvas is home to several pictorial modes, such as the picture on the homepage of the Writing 220 canvas site!  Also similar to Gmail, Canvas has a particular spatial set-up that allows for the user to understand how the site works and where to find the information they are looking for. Tabs are also set up on the right hand side, and the messages contained on the left hand side. There is also a column on the very left that allows the user easy access to all of the assignments due and a calendar of assignments (my personal favorite; calendars are my jam). Finally, Canvas allows for the gestural mode of interactivity. One of the ways it does this is through the ability to click on links to readings and submit assignments right on the site.

Pumpkin Spiced Latte Starbucks Sign
I awkwardly snapped this picture in the midst of a huge line and a bunch of confused looks from the baristas behind the counter. #DoItForTheBlogPost

Starbucks Menu Signs

I figured my obsession with Starbucks would have to come out at some point throughout the semester, so why not now! I am actually sitting in Starbucks as I write this blog post, so I figured I would analyze my surroundings while blissfully sipping my grande iced decaf latte with classic (one pump, not two). Taking a look at the menu signs placed behind the barista counter, there are the obvious linguistic messages, such as what kind of flavor shots you can add to your machiatto, and advertisements for the pumpkin-spiced latte (personally, not a fan). Along with those linguistic messages, there are a ton of visual modes, such as images of fall-colored leaves, pumpkins, and the PSL cup itself. Spatially, these signs are placed high behind the counter in order for the customer to see what they would like to order and relay that information to the barista in a smooth fashion. The signs themselves do not hold any aural or gestural modes. However, if I include the barista who helps the perplexed Starbucks noobie order from the menu boards, aural and gestural modes can be analyzed. Aurally, the Starbucks barista helps the customer with their order by talking to them through one-on-one communication. This aural communication goes hand-in-hand (pun intended) with gestural modes as the barista may point at the starbucks menu signs and use their hands while talking–there’s a pretty emphatic barista at this Starbucks who likes to practice both of these things.

Everyday Feminism Facebook Screenshot
Here is an example post from the Everyday Feminism page. Note the image description!

Everyday Feminism: Facebook Page

One of the pages I follow on Facebook to stay current on social justice issues is called Everyday Feminism. They are a really awesome website for anyone interested in learning more about social justice and how they can contribute to making this world a more inclusive and safe environment for all people. One of the things I love about the page is how they post each article by describing what the article entails via the linguistic mode, include an interactive link to the website (gestural mode), post a picture with the article (visual mode), and then describe in words what the picture looks like. By not only posting the visual mode of the picture, but also describing through the linguistic mode what the picture looks like, Everyday Feminism allows for their post to be accessed by a larger group of people with differing abilities. For example, if someone is blind and they would like to know what the picture posted looks like, they can hear through aural mode a person reading the linguistic text of a detailed description of the photo. I just think that’s awesome and inclusivity rocks!

All four of these textual examples represent the modes of communication in similar ways, but ultimately carry varying meanings. A tab on Gmail may be formatted the same as a tab on Canvas, but the places they take you to online and the information they hold is entirely different. These differences are cool to think about, but I am more so interested in how much multimodality is present within our daily lives that we don’t even think about. We are constantly bombarded with information, while at the same time are sending out information from all different modes of communication. I think it is important to recognize, as the chapter states, the ability for us as writers/designers to “compose for access.” Since communication through several modes is impossible to escape, it is important to understand how someone from a varying background/ability may not be able to obtain the same information as you when using a certain mode. Like Everyday Feminism, I think it would be awesome to incorporate universal access into my e-Portfolio and beyond.

The Long Road to (Almost) Authenticity

One of my favorite lines from Lynn Hunt’s “How Writing Leads to Thinking” is “writing requires an unending effort at something resembling authenticity” (pg. 3). This passage immediately jumped out at me when I was reading Hunt’s essay because I am always striving to make my writing nuanced and steer clear from the dreaded “cliche.” Although this is more than likely the goal of every writer, I sometimes take it a little too far by analyzing all of my thoughts to the point of frustration and utter confusion. Much like Hunt was describing, I second-guess the words I put on the page and end up erasing tons of sentences and paragraphs that were probably great to begin with. When writing a paper, my screen can easily turn into a blank page of nothingness if I end up erasing everything I say in a fit of self-doubt. This struggle, I’m sure, is not unique. However, Hunt lends a beacon of hope when it comes to us unsure perfectionists when she says that writing requires you to pursue “something resembling authenticity.” This is important. She does not say, writers must pursue authenticity, but instead a writing that resembles authentic. In a way, Hunt is saying there is no way to make your writing truly authentic. This can be challenged, of course, but I find comfort in believing this to be true. Instead of constantly worrying about whether or not my writing sounds “new” or “interesting” or “unique,” I hope to be able to accept the fact that finding my individual voice is going to be a long, and ultimately never ending, journey.

Thinking about my goals for the Minor in Writing as a whole, I really connect with Hunt’s “radish rule” she discusses on page two of her essay. The idea of growing my writing everyday just like the growth of her grandmother’s radishes really relates to my second goal of slowing down my writing process by maintaining a steady momentum everyday. I think this goal, as well as my previous one, can be accomplished through the Minor in Writing curriculum due to the reinforcement of the importance of drafting and rewriting. I am excited to see where I can take my writing by spending time to write “shitty first drafts” and even better second, third, and maybe even fourth ones. I am pumped and full of joy to begin this semester and start learning more about myself, my voice, and my writing.