In which I reflect on my progress

I can’t believe how quickly this course is flying by. I’ve already learned a lot about publishing, both from my Google-based research and the people I’ve gotten to talk to. Although I haven’t had much success in interviewing the people I originally wanted to, as you can see, I’ve gotten several interviews from unexpected places. It may not be what I planned, and it was a little rushed because of my deadlines, but even that was useful. People who aren’t super-famous actually have time to respond to me. Plus I get to hear about experiences that are probably more common, and simultaneously ones I wouldn’t have sought out before. I’d like to keep up these connections now that I’ve made them.

The most important thing I’ve learned is that, scary though it seemed at first, I really, really like doing interviews! I love picking the brains of awesome people and hearing the stories behind the stories. Now that I think about it, that’s a really weird and slightly morbid phrase. As if I’m opening up someone’s skull and pulling out bits of information with tweezers. I like it.

There is still a chance for me to get an interview with Ms. Strauss, which I want even if it comes too late to go into the paper, because she and her work are fascinating. Also, thanks to another friend-of-a-friend situation I may be getting to interview Bruce Coville. His Unicorn Chronicles series got me into unicorns when I was around 13, which prompted me to write what I believe is the first novel-length manuscript I ever finished. As you can imagine, it was pretty bad, but hey, nostalgia!

In terms of the project itself, I’m not sure how to feel. My teacher is very encouraging and always there for me, but I don’t feel as if I’m learning anything about how to write a research paper. I’m just mimicking the instructions and (lifesaving) sample papers, without clear understanding. Part of the problem may be the textbook we’re following; it’s written for doctoral theses, and uses a lot of jargon. I have to take it apart to figure out which bits are relevant to my project. Basically, good course, but after several courses with a heavy focus on form, it’s a little unnerving to have to guess what goes where and what all the jargon means.

Well, at least I’m learning the stuff I’m going to use in the future. Plus my grades are good so I must be guessing right a lot of the time.


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