The assignment was to think of something you want to learn. Ok, not so bad right? Well I went into panic mode first. All I could think of is there is nothing new I want to learn to do, I only want to learn about what I already do but to do it better! I have no time to learn something new! I work 2 jobs, take courses, instruct, I have no time for this!! Fear, frustration and panic were at an all time high at this point.
Next step was to settle down and think about what I am interested in. I hate knitting, I already know how to crochet but in my own way as I am not patient enough to follow a pattern, I have dabbled in a few other things over the years but then it came to me. I have always wanted to write, to actually be a published author.
Growing up I was always reading Nancy Drew books. In elementary school I actually started an outline for my own version. It dod not make it very far. oVer the years I have often thought about writing books for my profession or mystery books, or articles for a newspaper.
Topic picked, now what? I knew people! I knew published authors! I contacted local authors; Linda Ducharme, Nadine Dobbin. I contacted Amanda Wang who ghost writes for others. After picking their brains I also checked out the multitude of groups on facebook.
As I talked to Linda and Amanda I certainly had feeling of defeat. Becoming an author is not an easy venture. There is a lot to know about, a lot you have to do for yourself, and publishing has changed so much over the years from what we used to view it as. There is a need for authors to be able to navigate the various types media and technology all on their own now.
I was able to gain so much more knowledge on this topic even though I never actually sat down to write a word for an actual book. I was able to experience doing all kinds of research; talking to people, college courses, internet programs such as facebook and Linked in, Google searches for tips on writing, Twitter, etc. I had an idea as to where to look and each search took me to another place to find more information. I could have gone on for several more hours. The information really is endless.
As a student through this process, I can see how easily the students can become overwhelmed by just choosing a topic. My students are always telling me they want specific options or direction, not a wide open option. For some of them I think it goes back to focusing on the mark more than the knowledge gained from doing research. As an instructor I can be more supportive and give more specific feedback as they go through this type of process. I think the majority of them need that kind of support to reassure them the mark is secondary to the knowledge they will gain.