JoAnn Gometz

Writing | Editing | Content Strategy

One Semester Down and All Is Well

Okay, the semester isn't technically over for another week or so. I handed in my last assignments ten days ago, though. I’ve already received my marks and comments on them, so I've declared my personal semester complete, formal aggregated marks notwithstanding.

What have I learned? Well, that I’m far more critical of my own work than anyone else is, for one. Seriously, this is what comes of 17 years on the assigning and refining side of the desk, as well as writing for clients. I’m used to things hitting my hands or needing to be written about five seconds before they appear on the web or in print, so they need to be just about perfect on the first try. Because the drafts for my MFA work are significantly earlier on the publishing continuum, I’ve been adjusting to the breadth of my terrific mentor’s comments. It’s quite refreshing to take in her reflections on the craft aspects of my writing, rather than receiving prescriptive direction.

I’ve also realized that I thrive on organization. This semester started at the same time I was shifting from full-time employee status to self-employment, so I’ve spent the last few months feeling a little like I was jumping on a running horse. That’s, in large part, because I’m writing a book that requires significant research, yet it’s the words on paper that earn the grades. I didn't have the opportunity to methodically frame documentary research into the timeline for my story and schedule interviews in clumps so that I could write individual chapters efficiently. Over the semester break, that’s the top task on my list, to set myself up for more streamlined writing over the next semester—and the next year and a half. 

Finally, I’m apparently more comfortable winging it and living on the edge than I expected. School deadlines and the ebb and flow of work projects make for interesting collisions as well as fascinating gaps. I know the gaps will get less gap-py and the spikes more predictable as time goes on. That's the other priority for the break: expanding my client base and variety of projects to smooth the way forward. If you or your friends are looking for a highly skilled and experienced writer or editor, please let me know. You’ll find details on the Services page, and I'm happy to discuss opportunities outside those I've described on the site. (Thanks for keeping me in mind!)