I Might Just Pull It Off

The duration of this assignment is two weeks. Therefore, as I schedule my planned writing time, I have to take this schedule into account. If I had four weeks for the assignment, I would plan to write these on Tuesday afternoons between the hours of two o’clock and seven o’clock pm. Because I only have two such times available, I have to add two more days to my plan. So, I will state that I will also work on this project Friday afternoons between the hours of noon and five pm.

As stated above, this is my plan. However, I have discovered in my life that when I make plans to do something, I usually end up taking another path. If I have a day off, one of my daughters needs a babysitter, for example. I am sitting at my computer now, and have about twenty minutes before my next scheduled appointment, so I should be able to get my first entry done today.

November 5, 2019 3:38 pm

What is your greatest writing success, or, I might just be able to pull it off.

Two Voices.  One Subject. Fifty Years Ago?  No Problem.

This is my first semester in Graduate School in the Masters of Professional Writing Program. My introductory course, aka Issues and Research, has one major paper. The class is to write on any subject of their choice, which is great, but there is a catch. A big one. This will be a research paper that is no shorter than twenty pages and must be written in two different genres. The assignment sounds like a lot of fun but is also terrifying.

On the first night of class, when we were told about this assignment, I knew what I wanted to write and which styles I wanted to use. I had previously written a research paper about the Viet Nam War protest songs of the 1960’s and 1970’s. That paper had touched on the Kent State Shootings. I therefore decided I wanted to expand on the subject of these student’s senseless deaths. I also thought it would be interesting to write half the paper in a journalistic voice, kind of like “We interrupt this program to bring you…” The second style I want to do is write diary entries from the perspective of a teenager. This girl would have been born in 1953, so she would be 17 years-old in 1970.

The entire class knows what my project I will be working on and the other students are concerned for me. The general consensus is that I have chosen a very difficult topic since the occurrence was fifty years ago. They also feel that maybe I have taken on a bit much with the journalistic voice. I must admit, I do think that perhaps I should have gone in a different direction. However, if I can accomplish this, I will consider it a great success.

November 15, 2019 12:22 P.M.

 What is your ideal work environment for writing—describe the setting?

Reality vs. Fantasy, Where is the Best Place to Write?

Whenever I actually fantasize about being a successful writer, I see myself in an office in my home, surrounded by all the bestselling novels I have written. The room is bright and sunny, with one wall of floor to ceiling windows overlooking the ocean. Of course the window is open to let in the tropical breeze, the smell of the salt, the sound of the waves crashing, along with the obligatory steel drums playing in the distance.

However, my real life is completely different. Since I have been in school, I have learned how to write in several different environments. On campus, the library and the non-traditional student lounge in the student center have seen me working on many papers. Starbucks has often offered a hot cup of coffee and a small table to my creative genius. This semester, the writing center has had a few downtimes that allowed for essays to be penned, like this one. And, I must admit, there have been one or two occasions where I have worked on an assignment for one class while listening to a lecture in another. 

I have recently moved into a room in my daughter’s basement. It is big enough that I was able to make half into my bedroom, and the other half is my living room/office. It is cozy. While my dream office has floor to ceilings, this one has wall to wall bookcases, crammed with my fiction books, spiritual guides and the textbooks I have collected over the past four years. An electric fireplace gives the illusion of a crackling fire while a blower sends warm heat into the room. Directly over my desk is a small shelf that holds my dictionaries, thesaurus, style guides, and compact discs. All of the fifty or so pens I have collected sit in a mini “bucket” where they are easily accessed. This was carefully set up in order to provide a space conducive to productive spewing of content.

Sadly, it is harder for me to write here than other places. My family, without intent, are quite often a distraction. I can find myself sitting in my recliner, watching the fake flames with Judge Judy on television more often than utilizing the computer screen. Not to mention the availability of the snacks in the fridge which is only a few stairs away.

Unfortunately for my sense of ambience, but fortunately for my ability to concentrate, I have found the public library in my town. I can go there, sit at a table, and write to my heart’s content with minimal distractions. No one there knows me, so there are no expectations. I can listen to music through my headphones, so I can’t hear the soft conversations taking place around me. Reference materials and resources abound. And, if I need a moment to re-center, I have my choice of distractions!

November 17,2019 4:14 PM

What is your most significant writing failure?

Lack of Action Can Also be Considered Failure

In the second grade, I wrote a very short story about where thunder comes from. My teacher liked it and at conference time, told my mother I should be encouraged to write. Since English was my favorite subject in school, I learned everything I could about this language. I dabbled in writing short stories, poems, and even lyrics. But I was never satisfied with the products I was putting out, so I didn’t do anything with my writing other than put the pages in a box or the trash can.

I did, however, spend hours at night writing notes to friends at school. Each one would get longer and longer until it felt as though by the end, each one was a chapter in a book. Then, when I began dating, I somehow became more or less seriously involved with two Navy men. Both relationships required letter writing because this was before internet and cell phones. Long distance phone calls were too expensive to do regularly. I would lie on my bed, listening to music and write long letters detailing my life while they were away.

After high school graduation, and deciding which sailor my future would be with, I settled in marriage and two years later, motherhood. Again, I would dabble with writing, but with the same results as before. The pages would still find their way into a box or the trash. Once, I even rented a typewriter for a week in the hopes that creativity would take over. Still not the results I wanted. Several more years of life getting in the way and no results.

Then, in 2017 to 2018, my life began in a new direction. I finally made my way to school, and an English degree. Through my journey, I discovered there could be prospects for my becoming a professional writer. Even though I have not officially published anything yet, I feel that I am finally on my way. After all this, I think it would be safe to say that my most significant writing failure was my lack of writing for so many years. Who knows where I would be now had I realized earlier that writing is never perfect, that it takes writing, revising, rewriting, editing, and more rewriting to still need a few tweaks. But I refuse to live in regrets and look forward to the future and what is still yet to come.

November 17, 2019 10:19 PM

Give some examples of projects where you postponed or delayed the work? What was the result?

Sometimes I think I should win the award for the “World’s Best (or Worst) Procrastinator.” Even though I mostly make my deadlines, I do have a tendency to put things off. That is not a trait that most accountants can have, especially a tax accountant. In this field, deadlines are not flexible, and not meeting them can have costly consequences.

Likewise school assignments have fixed due dates. Missing these deadlines can take points off grades, some instructors take up to a full letter grade off late turn-ins. However, even most of these teachers will work with a student if an issue is discussed before the deadline. Therefore, I have only missed one due date, and it was a case of reading the syllabus wrong. However, the instructor did take points off, and I received a “C” on the project instead of the “B” I would have made.

Suffice it to say, I quite often put things off to the last minute, but because I know my procrastination inclination, I make myself thrive under deadline pressure. When I have a paper to write, I let it roll around in my head for a few days before attempting to commit to paper. Then, I have to write and re-write the first paragraph. But, when that part is done, the rest of the paper seems to magically appear on the blank page. There are times, though, that I have one idea of what I want to say, but once I read what I have written, I have to go back and completely start over and let the words lead me to where they want to go. This process works fine for me, but it can make a partner nervous. No matter how many times I tell them the work will be done, they become anxious that we will have nothing to turn in. One girl even bribed me with peanut M & M’s. But, so far, I haven’t let anyone else’s grade suffer and have always come through for them.