interviewing yourself: the writing process

Same, Spongebob. Same.
Let's face it - the writing process is hard. It's not all "divine inspiration" that comes to you on a beautiful summer's day, as you watch a butterfly gently land on a deer's nose. In fact, a lot of the writing process is the exact opposite - you have to spend a lot of time out in the blizzards of winter, dragging yourself through a storm of snow, just so you might be able to catch a glimpse of the last gallon of milk before someone buys it right before you do. It sucks, but it's true - the harshness of reality is often that writing can feel like a chore, where you're crawling around looking for inspiration, and sometimes even feeling like a failure when you're not the next Wordsworth, who seemed to be able to write a hundred poems alone about the same goddamn dandelion.

But, good news! It doesn't make you a failure! I think these articles help with setting up the beginning of the writing process for anyone wanting to create a piece of literary art. "Writing a Narrative" helps the writer think about the contextual and logistical questions of what you want your work to be - who is your audience? What genre are you going for? What medium will you use to portray your work? These questions are important during the writer's brainstorming process. Additionally, it also helps with the momentum of creating ideas and bringing the piece to life.

For example, last semester I had to create a piece of electronic literature. I'll be honest - it seems like a daunting task, as electronic can literally be anything, as long as it retains a digital form. So, I had an idea of what my medium was going to be like. After that, I started thinking about what I wanted to write about - I knew I wanted to write a love story, but one with a twist. I also knew I wanted there to be a lot of blink-182 references and lyrics weaved throughout... I started exploring my more specific choices for mediums more, and then the piece started to come to life. I chose to use Wix and create a site that looked like someone's desktop, so that this interactive piece was going to be explored by the reader as if they were on this character's computer. Next, I started thinking about the characters themselves - they were young, so I wanted to give it that flair of modernity, and include apps like Spotify, Skype, and Instagram in the piece to help tell the story.

As you can see, a lot of my ideas for my writing process came to me when I had to think about my writing in a more practical sense. Ideas often come when you're thinking about the logistics of your work, or how it will affect the community you want to present it to. Again, the writing process isn't just necessarily about the main poetic idea that you strive and strive to look for or happen upon - instead, it's a rough process that does require a lot of thinking to set it in motion. However, once it gets going, Wordsworth and his dandelion poems better watch out.

Zissner's chapter was also interesting. While it provided good tips for interviewing people, I saw a lot of it as being apart of the writing process itself - Zissner's ideas could easily apply to interviewing "yourself" in order to understand yourself (and your process) better.

I liked the simplicity of reminding the reader to carry a notebook and pencil with them when going into an interview. With that being said, a writer might find it helpful to do the same; by carrying a pad of paper and pen around with them, they are able to write things down they come across that might inspire, amuse, or interest them, in order to fuel ideas for writing later. Additionally, I think people can be afraid to explore their emotions, as interviewers can be afraid to touch on things and ask the people they're interviewing certain questions. I think if writers take that extra personal push and really start thinking about who they are and what their thoughts / feelings are about certain things, it will give more insight into who they are as a person, which can get them to think more deeply and poetically about themselves and life.

Ultimately, getting to know yourself better will help in the long run of the writing process. Being able to know what interests you, or how you feel (or don't feel), creates some interesting ideas to explore and write about. You are unique, and your writing will reflect it, if you are able to be authentic with yourself and the words on your paper - people will be able to see and appreciate you for who you really are after seeing your work, as writing is the most sincere and blatant form of expression.

interviewing yourself: the writing process

Same, Spongebob. Same.
Let's face it - the writing process is hard. It's not all "divine inspiration" that comes to you on a beautiful summer's day, as you watch a butterfly gently land on a deer's nose. In fact, a lot of the writing process is the exact opposite - you have to spend a lot of time out in the blizzards of winter, dragging yourself through a storm of snow, just so you might be able to catch a glimpse of the last gallon of milk before someone buys it right before you do. It sucks, but it's true - the harshness of reality is often that writing can feel like a chore, where you're crawling around looking for inspiration, and sometimes even feeling like a failure when you're not the next Wordsworth, who seemed to be able to write a hundred poems alone about the same goddamn dandelion.

But, good news! It doesn't make you a failure! I think these articles help with setting up the beginning of the writing process for anyone wanting to create a piece of literary art. "Writing a Narrative" helps the writer think about the contextual and logistical questions of what you want your work to be - who is your audience? What genre are you going for? What medium will you use to portray your work? These questions are important during the writer's brainstorming process. Additionally, it also helps with the momentum of creating ideas and bringing the piece to life.

For example, last semester I had to create a piece of electronic literature. I'll be honest - it seems like a daunting task, as electronic can literally be anything, as long as it retains a digital form. So, I had an idea of what my medium was going to be like. After that, I started thinking about what I wanted to write about - I knew I wanted to write a love story, but one with a twist. I also knew I wanted there to be a lot of blink-182 references and lyrics weaved throughout... I started exploring my more specific choices for mediums more, and then the piece started to come to life. I chose to use Wix and create a site that looked like someone's desktop, so that this interactive piece was going to be explored by the reader as if they were on this character's computer. Next, I started thinking about the characters themselves - they were young, so I wanted to give it that flair of modernity, and include apps like Spotify, Skype, and Instagram in the piece to help tell the story.

As you can see, a lot of my ideas for my writing process came to me when I had to think about my writing in a more practical sense. Ideas often come when you're thinking about the logistics of your work, or how it will affect the community you want to present it to. Again, the writing process isn't just necessarily about the main poetic idea that you strive and strive to look for or happen upon - instead, it's a rough process that does require a lot of thinking to set it in motion. However, once it gets going, Wordsworth and his dandelion poems better watch out.

Zissner's chapter was also interesting. While it provided good tips for interviewing people, I saw a lot of it as being apart of the writing process itself - Zissner's ideas could easily apply to interviewing "yourself" in order to understand yourself (and your process) better.

I liked the simplicity of reminding the reader to carry a notebook and pencil with them when going into an interview. With that being said, a writer might find it helpful to do the same; by carrying a pad of paper and pen around with them, they are able to write things down they come across that might inspire, amuse, or interest them, in order to fuel ideas for writing later. Additionally, I think people can be afraid to explore their emotions, as interviewers can be afraid to touch on things and ask the people they're interviewing certain questions. I think if writers take that extra personal push and really start thinking about who they are and what their thoughts / feelings are about certain things, it will give more insight into who they are as a person, which can get them to think more deeply and poetically about themselves and life.

Ultimately, getting to know yourself better will help in the long run of the writing process. Being able to know what interests you, or how you feel (or don't feel), creates some interesting ideas to explore and write about. You are unique, and your writing will reflect it, if you are able to be authentic with yourself and the words on your paper - people will be able to see and appreciate you for who you really are after seeing your work, as writing is the most sincere and blatant form of expression.

interviewing yourself: the writing process

Same, Spongebob. Same.
Let's face it - the writing process is hard. It's not all "divine inspiration" that comes to you on a beautiful summer's day, as you watch a butterfly gently land on a deer's nose. In fact, a lot of the writing process is the exact opposite - you have to spend a lot of time out in the blizzards of winter, dragging yourself through a storm of snow, just so you might be able to catch a glimpse of the last gallon of milk before someone buys it right before you do. It sucks, but it's true - the harshness of reality is often that writing can feel like a chore, where you're crawling around looking for inspiration, and sometimes even feeling like a failure when you're not the next Wordsworth, who seemed to be able to write a hundred poems alone about the same goddamn dandelion.

But, good news! It doesn't make you a failure! I think these articles help with setting up the beginning of the writing process for anyone wanting to create a piece of literary art. "Writing a Narrative" helps the writer think about the contextual and logistical questions of what you want your work to be - who is your audience? What genre are you going for? What medium will you use to portray your work? These questions are important during the writer's brainstorming process. Additionally, it also helps with the momentum of creating ideas and bringing the piece to life.

For example, last semester I had to create a piece of electronic literature. I'll be honest - it seems like a daunting task, as electronic can literally be anything, as long as it retains a digital form. So, I had an idea of what my medium was going to be like. After that, I started thinking about what I wanted to write about - I knew I wanted to write a love story, but one with a twist. I also knew I wanted there to be a lot of blink-182 references and lyrics weaved throughout... I started exploring my more specific choices for mediums more, and then the piece started to come to life. I chose to use Wix and create a site that looked like someone's desktop, so that this interactive piece was going to be explored by the reader as if they were on this character's computer. Next, I started thinking about the characters themselves - they were young, so I wanted to give it that flair of modernity, and include apps like Spotify, Skype, and Instagram in the piece to help tell the story.

As you can see, a lot of my ideas for my writing process came to me when I had to think about my writing in a more practical sense. Ideas often come when you're thinking about the logistics of your work, or how it will affect the community you want to present it to. Again, the writing process isn't just necessarily about the main poetic idea that you strive and strive to look for or happen upon - instead, it's a rough process that does require a lot of thinking to set it in motion. However, once it gets going, Wordsworth and his dandelion poems better watch out.

Zissner's chapter was also interesting. While it provided good tips for interviewing people, I saw a lot of it as being apart of the writing process itself - Zissner's ideas could easily apply to interviewing "yourself" in order to understand yourself (and your process) better.

I liked the simplicity of reminding the reader to carry a notebook and pencil with them when going into an interview. With that being said, a writer might find it helpful to do the same; by carrying a pad of paper and pen around with them, they are able to write things down they come across that might inspire, amuse, or interest them, in order to fuel ideas for writing later. Additionally, I think people can be afraid to explore their emotions, as interviewers can be afraid to touch on things and ask the people they're interviewing certain questions. I think if writers take that extra personal push and really start thinking about who they are and what their thoughts / feelings are about certain things, it will give more insight into who they are as a person, which can get them to think more deeply and poetically about themselves and life.

Ultimately, getting to know yourself better will help in the long run of the writing process. Being able to know what interests you, or how you feel (or don't feel), creates some interesting ideas to explore and write about. You are unique, and your writing will reflect it, if you are able to be authentic with yourself and the words on your paper - people will be able to see and appreciate you for who you really are after seeing your work, as writing is the most sincere and blatant form of expression.

Letting Your Creative Juices Flow


After seeing the titles of this week's reading selections I was excited to read them in preparation for Hope's presentation. We are smack dab in the middle of writing our proposals and this is extremely rigorous work. It was a welcome break to think with the other side of my brain for a moment.

The Lit Review is every bit as challenging as Dr. Zamora told us it would be. I think it is because while we are considering the works that will help us with our thesis we have so many angles and lens to look through. And it is truly hard not to give every text a close read from start to finish. Knowing and understanding what you need and why this bit of information is useful and necessary to you is the   tough. It requires some serious analyzing every step of the way. I must admit that I really do appreciate the process and I am learning so much, as cliche as it may sound from doing this work.
via GIPHY



This first excerpt I read was from the book titled, On Writing Well by William Zinsser.  Zinsser pointed out some specific writing moves to help writers and journalists write about people. We read Chapter 12 Writing About People with the purpose of interviewing skills and techniques. Many of the strategies he talked about made sense to me as a reader. I love reading non-fiction books about celebrities and politicians and usually those books are penned by someone else. Yet, you can still hear the voice of  the person telling the story.

The journalist that interviewed former First Lady Jackie Kennedy was able to capture this in a novel I recently completed titled Conversations on the Life of John F. Kennedy. Interviews of Jackie Kennedy were recorded and written in this book. While reading this book I felt as Jackie Kennedy was telling me the story. At no point while reading did the "writer step in" and make the experience seem "secondhand." I was there in those moments right with the First Lady.

Zinsser writes, "[The persons] words will always be better than your words" (p100). This is so true and hard to do as a writer. Writers that are able to capture this have better interviews and pieces written on their particular subject. As a reader of these types of works, I appreciate those writers that are able to do this well. Looking at this from the lens of a writer I know that there takes a lot of skill and preparation to this correctly. You have to do your research as Zinsser points out. "Never go into an interview without doing whatever homework you can...You will be resented if you insure about facts that could have been learned in advance" (105). So often I hear this done in interviews and it makes me cringe. I want to read about something that I don't know and I can't simply Google it. This is kind of hard in today's world but still possible.

It was helpful to learn that you as the writer still hold the power to tell the story. You have to weave the words of your subject together and bring the most informative and/or interesting product to the masses. Reader's need or "deserve" a "tight package." I can appreciate this as a reader and I understand the difficulty of it as a writer. But Zinsser does offer some points one of which I thoughts was the most helpful was when he said, "Don't become a prisoner of your quotes-- so lulled by how wonderful they sound that you don't stop to analyze them. Never let anything go out into the world that you don't understand" (111). I felt that this showed me that even when you are writing non-fiction you are still telling a story. You still have to make smart moves and choices as writer for the final product or message you are constructing.

Right now I am reading Barack Obama's book Dreams From My Father. Former President Obama wrote this so it is a narrative. The second article we read this week was titled, Writing a Narrative by WW Norton. All of the rules they laid out and structures they set for writing a good narrative can be found in this book. You can hear his voice spoken through each word on the page. The point of view is consistent, and he sets the tone right from the start as to why he is writing this story. With that purpose he takes on a ride and journey where he explores himself and his father through the eyes of the people that knew him. As I read this I thought about this book the entire time. Given Former President Obama's Ivy League education he uses more words and anecdotes to tell his story but premise is still the same. If I were ever going to write a narrative I would use this novel as one of my mentor texts.


Letting Your Creative Juices Flow


After seeing the titles of this week's reading selections I was excited to read them in preparation for Hope's presentation. We are smack dab in the middle of writing our proposals and this is extremely rigorous work. It was a welcome break to think with the other side of my brain for a moment.

The Lit Review is every bit as challenging as Dr. Zamora told us it would be. I think it is because while we are considering the works that will help us with our thesis we have so many angles and lens to look through. And it is truly hard not to give every text a close read from start to finish. Knowing and understanding what you need and why this bit of information is useful and necessary to you is the   tough. It requires some serious analyzing every step of the way. I must admit that I really do appreciate the process and I am learning so much, as cliche as it may sound from doing this work.
via GIPHY



This first excerpt I read was from the book titled, On Writing Well by William Zinsser.  Zinsser pointed out some specific writing moves to help writers and journalists write about people. We read Chapter 12 Writing About People with the purpose of interviewing skills and techniques. Many of the strategies he talked about made sense to me as a reader. I love reading non-fiction books about celebrities and politicians and usually those books are penned by someone else. Yet, you can still hear the voice of  the person telling the story.

The journalist that interviewed former First Lady Jackie Kennedy was able to capture this in a novel I recently completed titled Conversations on the Life of John F. Kennedy. Interviews of Jackie Kennedy were recorded and written in this book. While reading this book I felt as Jackie Kennedy was telling me the story. At no point while reading did the "writer step in" and make the experience seem "secondhand." I was there in those moments right with the First Lady.

Zinsser writes, "[The persons] words will always be better than your words" (p100). This is so true and hard to do as a writer. Writers that are able to capture this have better interviews and pieces written on their particular subject. As a reader of these types of works, I appreciate those writers that are able to do this well. Looking at this from the lens of a writer I know that there takes a lot of skill and preparation to this correctly. You have to do your research as Zinsser points out. "Never go into an interview without doing whatever homework you can...You will be resented if you insure about facts that could have been learned in advance" (105). So often I hear this done in interviews and it makes me cringe. I want to read about something that I don't know and I can't simply Google it. This is kind of hard in today's world but still possible.

It was helpful to learn that you as the writer still hold the power to tell the story. You have to weave the words of your subject together and bring the most informative and/or interesting product to the masses. Reader's need or "deserve" a "tight package." I can appreciate this as a reader and I understand the difficulty of it as a writer. But Zinsser does offer some points one of which I thoughts was the most helpful was when he said, "Don't become a prisoner of your quotes-- so lulled by how wonderful they sound that you don't stop to analyze them. Never let anything go out into the world that you don't understand" (111). I felt that this showed me that even when you are writing non-fiction you are still telling a story. You still have to make smart moves and choices as writer for the final product or message you are constructing.

Right now I am reading Barack Obama's book Dreams From My Father. Former President Obama wrote this so it is a narrative. The second article we read this week was titled, Writing a Narrative by WW Norton. All of the rules they laid out and structures they set for writing a good narrative can be found in this book. You can hear his voice spoken through each word on the page. The point of view is consistent, and he sets the tone right from the start as to why he is writing this story. With that purpose he takes on a ride and journey where he explores himself and his father through the eyes of the people that knew him. As I read this I thought about this book the entire time. Given Former President Obama's Ivy League education he uses more words and anecdotes to tell his story but premise is still the same. If I were ever going to write a narrative I would use this novel as one of my mentor texts.


Narratives and Interviews

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 12.53.34 PMThe first article for this week (that is to be presented by my classmate, Hope) was a very interesting sort of how-to article titled “Writing a Narrative” by Andrea Lunsford, Michal Body, Lisa Ede, Beverley Moss, Carole Clark Papper, and Keith Walters. The authors recount very detailed and precise ways to go about a narrative after explaining what it is, and providing examples of several successful attempts of narratives in many different forms and from a plethora of genres/circumstances. I was able to take away a lot from this article for my own creative work in a very general sense. This article is practical and useful when generating creative content; it provides great guiding questions and doesn’t seem to leave its reader mystified as to what to do next. In more detail, the article providing tips and advice as far as making sure readers understand that setting, point of view, the kind of medium being written in etc. are all crucial to one’s process. What sort of larger picture/context can the narrator bring forth from what they are writing about? Why is their topic significant?

I will say that in my personal experience, and what I have learned thus far, I won’t say that I learned anything new, but there are many more people out there that need this kind of article right alongside what they are working on to better help them with pacing and generating content. With that being said, I also don’t always remember everything, so keeping something like this article for my own use will greatly help when I need a refresher when it comes to my work. I have gotten to the point in my own creative process where it is becoming almost second nature to ask myself these questions not only because I have actually had a mazing professors who encouraged me to think in this way, but also because with technology constantly advancing the way that it does it is almost inevitable that I will have to keep asking myself these kinds of starter questions because change is always at rise. If one part of a machine constantly changes what it does and the job that it does varies then other parts of the same machine will titled
have to adjust and work accordingly, right? Maybe this wasn’t such an effective example, but I think I’ve pretty much spelled it out.

Moving along to the second article, “Writing About People”comesScreen Shot 2017-04-24 at 12.53.02 PM from a larger text On Writing Well by William Zinsser. This excerpt gives the very essence of what an interview is, can be, and how to get there. It reminded me of the “What Not to do at a Stoplight” bit of a spongebob episode. “Writing About People” was straightforward and didn’t seem to spend too much time telling the truth “slant” as Emily Dickinson would say. I immediately found myself agreeing with the author as the excerpt explains the importance and beauty of quoting a person correctly, and it was simply because “as soon as a writer steps in, everyone else’s experiences become secondhand” (“Writing About People”, p.100). I was pulled to think about the ways in which I find myself and others of my generation speaking, and that would be in quotes and long drawn out recounts (verbatim) of what someone said in a play, movie, TV show, song etc.

The excerpt then takes us into “the human element” stating so eloquently how even behind a seemingly dreary brick building can be traces of lives from all walks of life. There is a human element to everything we encounter as people, and that is what makes this world special. The piece gets deeper into the nuances of interviewing specifically when tape recorders come into question. Now, yes, I understand the hesitations that came into play for the author such as practicality (one will more likely come into having a pencil more often than not vs. a tape recorder), as well as sticking to this notion of being a true writer and actually writing and doing one’s work in front of the interviewee. Let’s keep in mind, though, that the most recent publication date (per the copied version we are reading from) is 1998, and it would make sense that some sort of hesitance occurred when it came to a form of technology.

My same fear of the interviewee talking too fast was addressed in this excerpt and the advised solution didn’t really go past telling the person who is talking to stop and then resume. To me, this abrupt pause not only disrupts flow, but inherently makes one lose track of what one is saying. I know I would. This can be a minor hinderance, but still. Being able to refer back to a recorded version gives more archivable artifacts, as well as alternative options for storing and accusing the information even if it isn’t the form you pull from most for whatever end-product is being worked on.

This excerpt from On Writing Well by William Zinger may have much to do with my work for my thesis, since it is comprised of mostly talking about people (through verse). I have no idea if I will interview people in the near future, but it is definitely a possibly and my work can thrive from it, but it all depends on the direction in which the project feels itself going. I am going to lend myself to it… not the other way around. Overall, this second reading was useful as much as the first one was. I like the warnings and the “it’s okay” feel of the piece as it addressed many of the obstacles first timers may see when beginning their interviewing journeys. I didn’t really find myself having questions afterward, but then again, I only read it once. 🙂

 

Literature Review Process

How is my literature review going? That is a great question because I would like to know myself! To be serious, I have having trouble finding motivation and TIME to do the research I so desperately need to do. I am worried, but not worried at the same time because I know that I am diligent and determined and will get it done. On the other hand, I want this research proposal to be over (saying this is the most positive way I can).


Blog 10: Lit Review Update

I know I don’t really have to read my entire sources but as far as chapters and articles I’m doing that and it’s a lot. Then trying to summarize the main parts to is really time consuming. That’s why I’m trying to finish this the 27th rather than later. It’s better to be ahead than behind. The literature is enjoyable tho 🙂

This week’s reading has helped me consider how to write better creatively as well.


Blog 8: Being a Great Narrator

Being a Great Narrator: Blog 8

 

This week’s readings “Writing About People” and “Here’s What Happened” were absolutely fantastic. I was completely engaged and able to relate to the material as I haven’t been able to do in a fairly long time. There was no favorite for me this week. Both articles were equally great. There were so many great points that I took away. I also started to reflect on my own writing process as a future author. Sometimes I have known that I’m missing the elements of what makes a great narrative in stories I write and this is why I stop writing. If you don’t think readers will keep reading, why should you keep writing?

I wish I had someone to interview right now. I’m so excited about having more information about how to do a great interview. I did take an Intro to Journalism class sophomore year but things were still pretty new to me at that point. I interviewed a coworker of mine who met many celebrities, etc. for a national magazine. Unfortunately, he didn’t like the final product. When I read “Writing about People”, I recalled certain areas where I went wrong. Such as leaving quotes as said rather than editing them to sound better and not calling back to make sure that I had completely gotten what he had said. It would be cool if I could redo that interview but nevertheless I learned from that experience. One of my take-aways from this reading is that people are what makes stories turn from ordinary to extraordinary. Imagine if all the greatest stories we have read had no people in them. That would be completely insane. I wouldn’t even want to think about that for too long. One thing the article mentioned that I really had beef with was the fact that recorders “aren’t writing” shouldn’t really be “a machine” working for the writer. The author has a point but I think it’s good to have recorders along with your pencil and paper. Sometimes we cut off people when they were just about to say something completely beautiful.

Order and detail are keys to a great story in my opinion. There’s nothing like a story that is all over the place. It jumps from the beginning to some future time back into the past. When stories don’t have great timelines it kind of kills readers interest immediately. I think people have to know have to tell stories orally to others in order to know how they write them properly. Main key points from “Writing a Narrative:”

a narrative has:

*A clearly identified event

*A clearly described setting

*Vivid, descriptive details

*A consistent point of view

*A clear point


Blog 7: Social Action

This week’s readings were great. I’m glad that there is a movement for youth to have their voices heard in terms of social justice. There are too many youth of today that are lost in FB, Twitter and other forms of interaction focusing on things that don’t matter. They really need to get involved in movements that actually matter. Young people are the future. In the time of segregation and injustice towards blacks, it was the youth who helped boosted the movement along with older people. Every voice counts and everyone can do something.


Blog 6: Weekly Reflection

Identity Construction Weekly Reflection

I really don’t think there is anything wrong with youth obtaining parts of their identities while online. I think fan fiction communities really keep writing alive in youth today when schools lessen the amount of creative writing assignments. There’s only the matter of youth safety and privacy online but other than that I think this is fine.

On the other hand, this quote made me think: “In a world of constant movement and flow, media images of advertising and commerce seep into our lives and strongly identity development.”  This makes youth extra vulnerable to what is promoted to them and it’s up to educators and parents to help the youth stay in the right path and guide their identities in the right direction.