Forums Writing Chapter 1 First assignment difficulties – Help, please!

First assignment difficulties – Help, please!

So after a slight delay in getting started on the course—lots of things suddenly got dropped in my lap at once—I’ve been thinking about the first assignment, doing some writing, trying to make some headway. Only I’m completely stumped. Any other time, I could talk about Chicago, my hometown, until you finally just tell me to shut up about effin’ Chicago. (It’s happened more than once, haha.)

I ran my first attempt past my best friend, but his honest feedback was that he didn’t love it, that it didn’t grab him, that I used a certain literary reference that perhaps not many people would understand, and that it sort of came across as me sounding like I was trying to convince the reader of how brilliant I am (his words; I may have my moments, but I’m hardly brilliant). What I wrote didn’t excite him. It just didn’t make him care either way.

In hindsight, he was absolutely correct, so I’ve been looking at what I wrote, trying to rework the angle to make it more interesting. On the one hand, I feel like this should be really easy to knock out (and to knock it out well), but I really feel like I’m up against a wall. Perhaps I’m trying to make it harder than it needs to be. It’s frustrating. I know we’re all here to learn and develop our skills, but I want to turn in something that at least has potential.

As my mom would say, I told you all that to ask you this: what suggestions or advice do any of you guys have to help me get past this? I really want to do well, and I feel like I’m floundering right at the beginning.

Help, please!

View Profile 2013-01-23 20:03:31 PST

A bit late but I am having doubts about my first piece too. I’ve “written” things in my head but am yet to put pen to paper. Perhaps due to fear and wanting to do well. I don’t know if you’ve done the piece yet? But having read lots of the others, I’d just be yourself and be honest.

Good luck!

View Profile 2013-02-04 17:09:28 PST

I can’t image that issues like these are uncommon.  Remember that the point of the first assignment is so that the faculty members can see where you’re at.  If you feel that everything you write comes out in a way that you don’t like, and perhaps are not able to write any differently, then my suggestion would be to spend a total of at least three days writing your assignment:

Day 1) Write your first draft, but remember to stop after every paragraph and reread what you’ve written, reflecting on what is said and how it could be read by the reader.

Day 2) Revisit that first draft; review the entire assignment written – sometimes having stepped away from the computer and reading it afresh the following day can really help you to see issues that you hadn’t noticed before.

Day 3) If you made changes on Day 2, review those changes.  If not, proofread and submit.  If you have made changes, review and wait one more day before submitting.

If you find that you still can’t write in a way that you like, submit it anyway.  The faculty and this course will help you develop your writing; I also strongly recommend reading a lot of travel blogs by others, particularly if you find someone who writes the way you’d like to write.

Hope that’s of some help.

View Profile 2013-09-06 14:21:54 PDT