Category Archives: Writing

Ça va . . . (part 3) — Ethan

Eight more pages! I’m finished with the entire media section, and started the synthesis of the history and the media narrative. Being at this point in the first draft is a similar feeling to being at the same point in my outline: I can envision the conclusion of my argument, and that’s supremely exciting. So far, this section has been the most fun to organize and structure, mainly because it’s my own — my own argument, that I get to craft to be the strongest it can be.

I’m doing well at listening to my willingness to write at any given time, and writing a few paragraphs here and there as I feel like it, or working through what I’ve written and rearranging points to my argument, and this seems to be how this particular paper wants to be written. Creating content still takes priority, most of the time, but for this section especially from time to time I spend a little bit here and there refining it.

I expect to finish the first draft by the end of the month, and then it’ll be time for T. Olga to sink her teeth into it — her words, not mine.

So it goes . . .

 

— EDM

Starting Nefertiti – Bella

This week, I started my extensive research on Nefertiti. I have been having some trouble with this chapter, because it is just about one person. There is so much to say about her and how she lived her life.  I don’t know yet how to best craft the way to present my understanding of her.  Do I locate her as wife, daughter, daughter-in-law, or Pharaoh? There are a lot of aspects to her that I could to zoom in on and elaborate on.   I began with researching Akhenaten, her husband, as well as his father. The reader needs to have some background of the family Akhenaten is coming from, as well as Nefertiti’s family.

Another struggle I am having is identifying and explaining all the different theories inside this Amarna period. There are a lot of different  scholars who argue that Nefertiti was pharaoh in her own right and some who argue that she was not. I have to account for both sides, and it is difficult to explain both. I want to accentuate the beauty and magic of Nefertiti while also making her immortal. It is my job to show and not tell her story, and try to paint a vivid enough picture for the reader.

Here is a sample I have from my Nefertiti chapter:

         Every pharaoh was viewed as divine, carrying the regal and magical bloodline of Horus. Essentially every member of every royal family in every dynasty transcended the material and mortality. They were  embodiments of nature.  Ancient Egyptian Religion was so synonymous and in touch with nature itself that to transcend Earth was to go further into nature. Akhenaten and Nefertiti, more so Nefertiti, surpassed this, and this idea of Nefertiti not just representing Godlihood but actually tying together mortality as well as this ascension through life itself will be further discussed in depth throughout this chapter.
Source for Photo:

Egyptian Museum Berlin, editor. “Nefertiti.” Society for the Promotion of the
Egyptian Museum Berlin, edited by Society for the Promotion of the Egyptian
Museum Berlin, http://www.egyptian-museum-berlin.com/c53.php. Accessed 9 Apr.
2018.

Transcribing is the Worst/Best – Sabrina

Transcribing…the enemy of any and all journalists. It is time consuming, tedious, and can even be soporific. Though at the same time, it invokes a sense of excitement.

But then I began to ask myself…why am I excited to transcribe my interviews if transcribing can be so dreary? Transcribing can be a pain: why am I excited for it? Turns out, I answered my own questions as I began to transcribe interview after interview.

As I was transcribing an interview I had with Gauri Kapoor (the founder and CEO of The Girl and I), I began to map out what her article would look like. I began to create sections, quotes, and format in my mind as I was typing and writing out her interview, and then it dawned on me: I was excited because I had concrete material and content.

Screenshot (21)

Trying to describe this and the excitement it brings is somewhat challenging, so here’s an analogy that might help: imagine you are a painter. You are about to start a new piece that you are going to put all of your energy towards. You walk into your studio, and you only have about three colors. So…you work with the three colors. You begin to create something amazing, but then you get more materials. You get more colors and brushes and your piece really starts to come to life.

My piece is this organization. I am putting everything I have into this organization, and I am beginning to get material. With each interview, I get new colors and brushes that are going to make my painting amazing; I get new perspectives and new stories that are going to make my organization amazing.

So as I do these mundane, dreary, and sometimes excruciating tasks, I let my creativity explode with new ideas and new ways to make my painting amazing

Inspired by the little things,

Sabrina Schoenborn

Founder and CEO of Project G.I.R.L


Image Citation:

Kapoor, Gauri. “Home.” The Girl And I, 2018, http://www.thegirlandi.com/.

Ça va . . . (part 2) — Ethan

I’ve written about twelve more pages (bringing the total to 35) summarizing the eleven front-page articles published by the NYT over the course of one month about the Six-Days’ War, while following some crucial themes throughout them all. This section of writing ended up being written differently than the historical section: I wrote for one to two hours each day that I worked on it, as opposed to one long burst of 4-5 hours, and I had it finished in three days

As they are now, I’m not 100% happy with the article summaries. Though I followed through with my intention to go through them one by one, in the order they were published, with a general discussion at the end about what they left the reader with, right now the summaries feel a bit repetitive and clunky. However, it’s difficult to weave too much connection into them because that material would be better suited for the discussion.

In this situation, the first-draft mentality prioritizes creating more content as opposed to refining existing content — for a woodworking analogy, perfecting the article summaries now, in the first draft, would be like fully sanding a piece of wood before I made all the cuts and carved my joints. What that means is I can’t be too attached to perfection at this stage — perfection, or as close as I can get to it, will come on its own in later drafts.

My progress is much the same as it was at the time of my last blog post. I’m still pulling from my outline, which has been incredibly helpful, as all outlines should be, still writing my first draft, and still enjoying the process. One difference is that now I’m beginning to consider options for publishing this paper, which T. Olga and I talked about at the beginning of the semester.

Well, so far, so good, I just need to keep writing — first the discussion on the articles and then the fun part: my very own argument that links the history and media together.

 

— EDM

The Countdown Begins… – Sabrina

IMG_9168.jpgProject G.I.R.L launches May 1st at 11:00pm……that means I have 29 days, 2 hours, 40 minutes and 38 seconds (and counting) until it launches and all of my focus is targeted towards doing whatever I need to do to allow it to launch on time.

My graphic designer has begun to polish the design, my web designer has the formatting complete and is beginning to set up the website, and I am transferring story after story into article form.

It is hard to not look down at my countdown and not immediately drop whatever I am doing and begin working on my project yet again. I find myself always wanting to go back to it… I always want to develop it and I never want to stop working on it.

It is now 29 days, 2 hours, 35 minutes and 58 seconds until Project G.I.R.L launches (yes….this is how I have been since April 1st).

I am both elated and utterly terrified. I am constantly going through the list of things that could go wrong, and the thought of someone being inspired by this organization.

So I put my focus forward for the week:

  • I have two interviews this week (One of which is Gauri Kapoor, Founder and CEO of The Girl and I)
  • I am transferring all of my interviews from audio to text (using Transcribe)
  • I am setting up social media platforms (a Facebook, an Instagram, and a Twitter)
  • I am having my web designer set up the basics of the website
  • And…I am remembering to breathe.

So I breathe and always keep going forward. Through lists and baby steps comes the bigger picture. Just because the finish line is getting closer, doesn’t mean I lose my pace.

Inspired by staying calm,

Sabrina Schoenborn

Founder and CEO of Project G.I.R.L


Countdown image courtesy of Countdown!! Developed by Sevenlogics, Inc.

Citations:

“Start the Countdown.” Shutterstock, 2015, http://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/start-countdown-356844833

Ça va . . . – Ethan

Just a simple post for this week. The title captures it pretty well — ‘it goes’ . . .

Today I finished up the history section of the first draft, and it stands at 21 pages, which is . . . a bit longer than I expected, and also a bit longer than I would like. I suppose it is better to have more material and need to whittle it down than it is to have too little material and to add fluff to make your desired length. Judging from how much of my outline is taken up by history, I’m estimating the first draft will end up being somewhere around 50 pages long — far longer than I want. The following drafts, then, will exercise my ability to condense and simplify while maintaining structure and not losing meaning.

I have an interesting relationship with this paper — it seems to want to be written in fits and spurts. I spent about four and a half hours today writing roughly six pages of text — my first writing session in nearly a week — which took most of the afternoon, and now I’m content to leave it for a few days before diving into the next section: the narrative set by the NYT’s coverage of the war. I’ll mull over how to attack it over the next few days, and probably later this week I’ll sit down and hammer out a course of action. I’m grateful that I left myself this luxury of time to be able to think about how I’ll formulate my writing. . .

Long research papers all have different characters, but I think I’m figuring this one out — how it behaves, how it wants to be written — and I’m learning to work with it, one section at a time.

So for now, ça va.

 

— EDM

Accelerating to the Speed of Traffic – Sabrina

highway imageWhen getting onto a highway, you are told to accelerate to the speed of traffic. If you don’t, you’re going to be hit.  I am currently in the process of re-entering the highway and returning to my routine which is full of adrenaline and always followed by late nights.

So I’m going back to my lists and going back to my goals: I’m switching from collecting my content to creating a product, and I am left asking myself three essential questions: What do I have?  What is my plan for the rest of this semester? What do I need to change?

What do I have?

  • I have a fair amount of completed interviews (10), these interviewees have not signed and returned their release statements yet
  • I have 2 more interviews locked in and schedule for this next week
  • I am in the process of scheduling 10 interviews and that number grows every day
  • My logo is in the final stages
  • I have obtained an Innovation Grant from Westtown School
  • I have a graphic designer, a web designer, and a photographer
  • I have a rough idea about the format for my website

I have had to move up my timeline and accelerate the process of my project due to my rapid increase of interviewees. My previous list is what I hoped to have by the end of the semester, but I have far surpassed that. Now comes the harder part…

What is my plan?

  • Convert the stories that I have into full articles within the next two weeks using the software system Transcribe
  • Have a clear format for my website to give to my web designer so she can set up the website
  • Find more team members and continue to build my board of directors
  • Speak to a lawyer to discuss donations, release statements, and the like
  • Publish the website on April 30th

In preparing for this to-do list…I have to put my game face on. I need to remember that this is a marathon and not a sprint.

What am I going to change?

  • I cannot do this all on my own, that has been clear to me now, but gaining more team members is something I need to do
  • I need to listen a little less. Every person I consult with has an opinion on my project, but I also need to remember that I have the final say in my organization.
  • Somewhat contrasting to the previous point….I need to be less defensive of my project and remember that this will only be as great as it can be with the help of a team

So….I have completed what I wanted to do in a semester in a few weeks and my organization is taking shape…and I am accelerating to the speed of traffic.

 

Inspired by Acceptance,

Sabrina Schoenborn

Founder and CEO of Project G.I.R.L


Image Citation:

“Pan-American Highway.” Wikipedia, 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highway.

Navigating the World of Drafts – Ethan

Spring break has seen me write like mad to complete my outline, which now stands at 32 pages of bulleted goodness. I’ve chosen to separate the paper into three sections on a broad level: the history, the media coverage, and the discussion/original theory. Beyond that, the majority of the writing that has gone into my first draft — fourteen pages currently — has been in the department of introduction, materials / methods, and review of literature.

The introduction has always been somewhat of a mysterious beast for me; it takes its time in deciding when it’s going to be written, and often comes not all at once, but in bursts. I’ve found that if I keep tabs on how inspired I’m feeling to write it, I can usually recognize when is the best time. For a study of this magnitude, the introduction must be a clean and concise rendering of the dozens of pages that follow; capturing that is no easy task. I expect that the rest will come most naturally in pieces, as I continue to flesh out my outline into a formal paper.

Since this independent study has involved specific parameters of research, my mentor T. Olga and I decided that it was best to include a materials and methods section, to clarify why I’d chosen the line of research that I did. I arranged the section similarly to how my paper is itself ordered: history first, media coverage, and the discussion of the two that involved my own original theory. For each section, I provided an overview of the literature I pulled from as my primary sources, and in the case of the primary documents from the New York Times‘ historical archive, I explicated the exact search parameters I used.

All of this detail is in the service of anchoring my research and sources in my primary research question. Like the ‘so what’, every paper needs one, otherwise it means nothing.

Here is my question:

How and why did the New York Times participate in the framing of the Six Days’ War that endorsed the foreign policy goals of American policymakers?

This question has much to unpack; the question encapsulates two broad themes: the goals of American policymakers — which are based on history relevant to the region and the event — and the New York Times’ framing of the Six Days’ War — based directly on the primary source articles I have obtained. Beyond this, ‘how’ and ‘why’ are naturally open-ended, and the ultimate goal of my study is to answer them using my own theoretical framework.

I’m satisfied with where I am right now — for the foreseeable future, I’ll be continuing to translate my outline into a first draft, while monitoring the cohesiveness of my argument and the flow of my paper.

 

— EDM

Week 3: So… how about this paper, then? – Ethan

Up until this point, the structure of my actual paper has been nothing more than a periodically passing, vaguely worrisome thought — but that won’t turn out a paper, will it?

And so, this past weekend I hammered out a rough diagram (T. Olga suggested that I think about it like that instead of an outline) for it, and I honestly have no idea if it will stay anything like how I have it now in my final draft. Continue reading