Sunday, July 18, 2010

Report: Vanquished.

Dear Internet,

I have just completed the first formal report of my university career. It was quite the feat. I had to write about my writing. Not even kidding. The point of the report was to analyze my abilities as a writer and come up with ways I could improve myself. Really, it was just so that when we have to write reports in the future, we know what the hell we're doing.

At first, hearing that I had to write a 20ish page report about my writing, I said to myself, "How am I ever going to pull this off." Then I was told that there are only 4-6 pages of actual analysis; the rest consisted of title pages and tables of contents and such. So, less daunting. I figured I could get it done if I spent a day working on it. Put in a good few hours of work and VOILA! Report.

I was a little off with my assumption. You see, I wasn't entirely expecting to sit there for an hour or so trying desperately to start it off. I had ideas. I knew exactly what my conclusions were. I had the ability to create (I mean...find...) quotations from teachers, family, and peers regarding my writing to refer to for analysis. I knew what "recommendations" I wanted to include. So why should it take me forever to start it off?

Well, I think that the problem was that I spent a long time fiddling around with formatting it (I was using MS Word '07, which is designed to be pretty easy to use for that sort of thing), then I was like "maybe I could start it off with a nifty quotation," which is something I would often do in high school. Unfortunately, reading a ton of quotations then put me in the mindset of fiction writing, and I was having trouble switching back to formal Nazi tone report. I finally got something out, and a few hours later, after much struggling, I had a draft.

I refused to look at it once it was all written. Instead, I made some poor consumption decisions. Because, I knew, by the end, that I was just desperately trying to FINISH. To put SOMETHING out there. And of course, without fail, whenever you are just trying to put out SOMETHING, that SOMETHING turns out to be CRAP. So I spent eight and a half hours on the initial draft...then another four fixing it. Apparently you're SUPPOSED to take about half the time it took to draft to revise and edit...but that seemed like a bit much to me. Considering I spent most of the time rewriting the SOMETHING I had produced the day before.

But yes! Now I'm done! And although I do feel like I could have done better...well, after the third time I struggled with my page numbers and had finally gotten them right, I was done. I couldn't get the formatting *quite* to my tastes. I would put in a section break and mess everything up. I would try to move a diagram an inch lower, and it would turn up on the previous page. Ridiculous. All the time, being told by Steven that if I just used LaTex (the program, not the plastic-like substance used in very not sexual things as well as sexual things), it would all be so much easier.

The point is that it's done. I'll eat some macaroni and cheese to celebrate.



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