Writers at Work: a Retrospective
Ever the procrastinator, I waited until December to sign up for my Spring 2012 courses. When I saw the description for Writer’s at Work, I thought, “Wow, that sounds really fun and actually useful.” I knew I had to have it! So I emailed Professor Z to beg for a spot and was promptly shut down. All hopes I ever had to work professionally in any capacity as a writer were instantly dashed. Lucky for me though, and soon enough the world, a spot opened up about a week later and I was able to squeeze in. Then I showed up to class and noticed all the empty seats and knew this sheisty professor was not to be trusted.
Slowly though, I let my guard down, downgraded Jamie from hostile threat to neutral knowledge source and started to learn some shit. I had been forced to blog in classes before, but this was different: I could actually blog about things that interested me! (In addition to reflections of course). I think this was probably the key to me learning anything in this course. Once I started writing about things that I like, I took some pride in the whole blog thing. It wasn’t just “post whatever is required,” it was “post whatever is required then post some of my own stuff and make it all look cool so I can actually show some people.” I came into class having never used WordPress before. Now I’m pretty good with it, if I do say so myself (and I do). Sure, my blog isn’t the fanciest one out there but that’s more of an aesthetic choice. With the stuff I’ve learned in this class I could really trick it out if I wanted, and maybe I will someday.
The internet materials we were assigned to read/watch/listen to were all pretty interesting as well. Although if one more class makes me read “The Medium is the Message” I swear I’m gonna dig up Marshall McLuhan and kick his ass. Admittedly, I may have skipped one or two things here or there, but I’m grateful that I got to check out some stuff I probably would have never gotten into otherwise, especially the various websites and internet fiction.
It’s hard to say if I’ve improved as a writer due to this course. I picked up a few rules now and then from Cassagrande, but honestly I felt like I knew a lot of that stuff already. Not necessarily all the terminology, but the way sentences work. I think I have a sixth sense for grammar, probably thanks to my English major father, so I thought a lot of that book was just a really drawn out way of stating the obvious. However, they say the only way to improve as a writer is to write, and I certainly did a lot of that in this class. So let’s say I’ve improved, even if this informal blog style may have inadvertently crept its way into some academic papers and screwed me over this semester.
In the end, I’m giving this class two thumbs up. Best of luck to anyone who bothered to read this; you all kept me thoroughly entertained this semester.