UGP Wobbling

Okay. I’m wobbling. I’m wobbling hard. I honestly don’t want to work on this assignment. It’s like there is sooo much to do and all I want to do is write the stupid thing. I’m excited to write it, I want to write it, but I am not writing it. There’s so many moving parts to this assignment that it is a bit overwhelming. Too overwhelming.

There is the journaling (blogs), the documentation, the pictures, the researching, the writing, the rough drafts, the final draft, the how-to book… So many things to do! And I feel like I don’t have enough time. Luckily, however, the deadline was moved and I have about an extra week or so to complete this, but it is still overwhelming.

Plus, I don’t really know where to start on my UGP. I know I want to write about my senior year of high school. I know I want to write about how the student voice is important and that students ultimately come first, because education is for the students. But I feel stuck.

How do you start a memoir? How do you even know where to start?

In my findings, I found this nice article that suggests ways to begin and ways to process what we value in our lives. One idea was to have a mementos box that were shared around the room anonymously – this way other students could see what was significant to their classmates without really knowing who was each student. Then, they wrote about why these objects would be important to the individual. This activity allowed the students to hold value in their experiences, but also hold value in others’ experiences because their mementos represented something to them.

I love this idea. Not only do the students see what they value via the things they keep because they hold value, but they can also see how important it is to explain those things. This prompted the students to write about their experiences through the genre of the memoir. At the end of the school year, each student received a published copy of their memoir which allowed them to feel accomplished and to see what their stories can do.

I wish I had the opportunity to do this, but even know as I get to write my memoir I can see different ways to start. Finding mementos, or starting in a different point of view, or finding what we really value. I know one of my next steps is to narrow down what events I want to really focus on. I want my memoir to get my point across, but I don’t need to overwhelm the reader with several instances. I wonder if other writers have this problem when they wrote their memoirs. How do you choose? How do you know what will be most effective? Or do you just include it all because it could all be relevant?

I want to write each event, but do I write them all? Do I say, explode a moment, and really only focus on that moment, or do I focus on 5 moments? Geez, these logistics are annoying.

I think I need to get out of the what ifs and the how abouts and just write. I am talking for myself and at myself, but I even feel like I am talking to a brick wall. I need to just write. I need to remember those moments and I need to start writing about them. Maybe write an outline. Maybe not – the point is to just write.

Maybe once I start writing I won’t be too overwhelmed anymore. But honestly, all I want to do is procrastinate. I look at the long list of things that I have to do, and I become increasingly overwhelmed. Even my other classes have several assignments do, and it is hard to balance them all. I’m sure it is the same for my professors, but how do they manage? Or is it all the same amount of procrastination?

And I don’t usually procrastinate. I am usually the one that completes things days in advance, but I am involved in several things, and I don’t have the time to constantly stay ahead. Lately, I have constantly been behind on everything. Reading, papers, projects – in the end I always tend to finish when things are due, but like I said, I am still involved in a lot of things.

Now, I like being busy, but still – sometimes it is a lot, and I have to admit that. But I love working with kids, babysitting, helping in kids ministry at my church, work isn’t so bad, volunteering at GVA isn’t so bad either, and I love leading in my college ministry with Antioch.

But right now, I am still stuck. I feel like my journal for my UGP contains nothing but my complaints – but it is how I am wobbling with this project. I am struggling to find the time and the motivation, and the inspiration to write my memoir. I still have so many questions, and I almost feel like I need someone to answer them for me. If only I could talk to past me, the 17-year-old-graduating-senior me that went through all the memories I am choosing to write about. Maybe she could remind me of the defeat and the neglect that I experienced and how I only wanted to rally against everyone for the sake of my fellow and future students.

I still have that passion, but the oppression was much more present. At the college level I can choose whether or not I indulge myself in the problems, but at the high school level, everyone felt everything. And it seems like a lot to tackle if I tackle everything.

I know I need to just sit down and write, and maybe I will find the motivation, or just make it up myself. Maybe it will come to me in class, or in the middle of the night, but I need this inspiration. I need it, because I am wobbling.

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3 thoughts on “UGP Wobbling

  1. I would say maybe write about two big events? I’m not really sure how long you want to make your piece and I think that will really direct how many events you write about. Hope that little rid bit helps!

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  2. Lauren, I feel you, these are my thoughts but in better words. I’ve been trying for at least a couple years now to write my scandalous (as scandalous as you can imagine me–don’t) story about high school and boyfriends and such. It all comes out like all my other writing–jumbly and out of order and stops making sense because I want to say everything at once, I want you to know everything, but I can’t decide where to start and what to put and whose perspective to tell it all from. So it gets pushed to the side because I’m telling you twelve stories at once. This is all to say, I understand your wobbling.

    Recently, over Christmas break (which is actually almost a couple months ago now that I think of it), I got a burst of motivation, which was essentially a break out of my months of writer’s block. I started writing and wouldn’t stop. Each story found its way to separate paragraph (somehow). And I showed it to my boyfriend (which now makes me cringe) and it was good. It was a good feeling at the time. Now, I’m not gonna tell you to wait for a burst of motivation, because holy crap, that’ll never come if you think of it like that. You have to force yourself sometimes. If the turn-in date isn’t enough, my suggestion is to just start “word vomiting.”

    Like, Mean Girls “word vomit.” Or, all of my writing. Just start talking and once you find something substantive, go with it and take that on a journey. That’s what I’m doing right now with my poetry. Writing ideas and plugging words into a formula. And it’s not beautiful yet. But it will get there. Because everything always does.

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  3. I feel what you’re saying- I really do. Personally, I would explode a moment. I’m not exactly sure how long our final UPGs need to be (I don’t think there’s really a guideline), but I feel like unless you have multiple points in your life that you feel are absolutely essential to the original touchstone moment you’re writing about I wouldn’t force five points of discussion for your memoir.

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