711 In Sum

Revisiting goals
This class has helped me at work every week, since we started.
Since we ate our lessons in weekly chunks, I could share what we learned with my co-worker. Our marketing materials are starting to look tighter with bold text and subheads too.

My original goals for the course were to:

  • apply the course material to work
  • have fun
  • find my voice

For the first two, check! The last may not be a destination so much as a journey.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to be considerate of my reader.
That manifests by rereading emails, looking for places to bullet and bold, cutting what’s not important right now. It’s a work in progress for sure.

When I started this class, I thought I was a decent writer.
It’s been humbling and rewarding to be in 711 with honest-to-god journalists.

Also, I thought being a good writer was a gift. Maybe some start more talented than others, but I absolutely believe good writing comes from practice.

Benefits of 711
A less tangible benefit is this class is my mind is less muddled. As Brad would say, “who’d a thunk?” Searching for the right word and writing regularly have helped me think more critically. I’m more aware of what I’m thinking, because I’m more used to putting words to those thoughts.

The first draft of anything is shit.
Or put differently, revise. The most significant take-away for me is understanding writing is a process. If writing were only a talent, poured liberally on some and sprinkled lightly on others, it would be a lot easier to make excuses like “I’m not a good writer.”

I’m not yet a stellar storyteller. But 711 has taught me that if I want a grant or other piece to turn out well, I need to allocate runway to write, get feedback, revise, rest, revisit and work the process. I have less tolerance for excuses from myself or from my co-workers about not being “good at grants” for example.

Good writing takes a lot of time. Time management is another take-away. A few others:

  1. Write every day. Blogs make this much easier!
  2. Get feedback on your writing
  3. Read the news every day. I’m responsible for my own awareness or ignorance.

New or forgotten pursuits
I’m revisiting the idea of taking a sabbatical from work this summer.

I would like to spend some time with family in Korea and learn to speak Korean. I’ve thought of 1,001 excuses over the past two years for why I shouldn’t take a sabbatical. It makes me anxious right now to think about having that conversation with my staff. But no risk, no reward.

This class has stretched me in an uncomfortable way. From that lesson, I’m revisiting this sabbatical.

Also, I’ve written more on my personal blog as a result of our blogging assignments and being excited about writing.

Next steps
The first thing I’m going to do is get my blog in order. I want to consolidate my personal and JOMC blogs on a domain name I bought two years ago.

Beyond that, I will write each week, with the goal of writing every day.

My younger brother has been blogging daily, and he enjoys it. As a reader, it sounds like daily blogging is helping him understand his relationships and account for and be proud of what he does each day. I like that.

One of my take-aways is to be a life-long learner. This course makes me want to live like a pauper in some tropical country and take college classes for the rest of my life. Who’s in? Applying to this certificate program was like dipping a toe in the water for graduate school, and I’d like to find an M.A. program that is flexible and challenging.


About susanrene

sister, friend, lover, learner
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