Closure

The act or process of closing something. My time at Propel has felt short. Every minute of writing and editing finally coming to a close as the hard copy of my book is being sent to publishing. Though the semester is ending, I feel extremely accomplished with a book of my very own to close off my year.

Still Growing is my take on a boy’s life growing up in Winnipeg. My book will be hardcover and matte, giving a very modern feel. My project is in its last stages where it is waiting to be sent off to publishing. I am currently done all of the writing pieces and sent them through several rounds of feedback. I have finished all the formatting in BookWright by Blurb.com which will take approximately two to four weeks for binding and delivery. In the end, I will have a physical copy of Still Growing for final presentations. I chose to publish a book this year to showcase my love for writing and photography; so I said, why not mix them both?

Overall, Propel has been an interesting experience for me. After living through very structured schooling my whole life, I never imagined something like this. I struggled to adjust at first and accept the fact that I was at a new school, but I persevered. I stuck with it and enjoyed every minute of my Journey. A wise man once said don’t stop believing and I have to say, the progress in my writing has been substantial. Though this is my final blog post this semester, I have learnt so much and will take everything back with me to my home school. I want to thank everyone who made my experience possible; people who made Still Growing possible. This semester officially has its closure. Thank you for reading.

Yours in writing,

Janelle

http://www.propellrsd.com/janelle-writing

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Progress

Progress – moving forward towards a destination. In phase four, we are now in the second last stage of Propel, with six weeks until our final presentations. My project has come a long way since the beginning, and I have progressed in both my photography and writing abilities.

To keep track of my semester, I have been using what is called a Gantt chart; a visual aid that helps to plan projects of any size. This will show you tasks you have and haven’t completed and if you are ahead or behind your scheduled times. For myself, the Gantt chart has been a timeline for my milestones – each spread I have to complete – and the action steps – tasks that need to be done for a milestone to be finished. The chart will fill up as you accomplish your goals set earlier.

My timeline has consisted of twelve milestones: the beginning steps, ten writing, and photography spreads and the finishing steps (see below). During the introduction of my project, I had to define my central idea. This took me much longer than I had scheduled in my Gantt chart, but I finally decide on the theme ‘growing up’. I then signed up for a photography course to further my knowledge in the area and found a mentor to shadow for a day. After this was complete, three days into our work time, I began with my spreads. Each one was set to take four days and contains a photo and a complimentary written narrative around 1000 words. I made the goal to complete ten and am currently on the ninth. Finally, to end my project, I must publish the book. This milestone is broken down into an ‘about the author’, cover design and double-checking the formatting.

Overall, I am ahead of schedule by three days. I planned to complete my spreads one by one but ended up having them overlap when I was receiving feedback. This didn’t cause a delay in progress because when I was in a feedback loop, I would start a new narrative based on a photo previously taken. Being ahead will greatly benefit me because I have two deadlines to meet approaching shortly. The first is my last day to have the spreads completed and the second is my publishing deadline for the program BookWright. With that being said, I have a week to complete two spreads and another week to finalize my book. Though this is not how I planned it, being ahead of my timeline is proving to be very helpful.

For the next couple of weeks, my project will be full speed ahead. Aforementioned, I will be finishing spreads nine and ten by May 17th and my full book will have to be finished by the end of the day on May 27th. The photos for each of my writing pieces have already been taken and I now need to write the narratives and receive feedback. For the finishing steps, I have completed my ‘about the author’, but still have to go through the publishing process (i.e. creating covers, final formatting, etc).

This semester I have been moving towards my final goal. My progress throughout has been evident and I am much closer to my ideal destination.

Journey

Not the band. LOL.

A Journey is traveling from one place to another and the process is more important than the final destination. In the Propel environment, the improvement throughout the year is what counts and in order to do so, I have broken down my project into stages, so the flow goes on and on and on and on.

            The first stop on my road to success was what I call “the beginning steps”. This stage consisted of learning about the camera, signing up for a photography course and defining the central idea. I took a day to explore my camera, reading the manual so I knew what I was doing and signed up for a course to further my knowledge. Defining my central idea took a while but I ended up deciding on the theme “growing up” which would tie all of my stories together because any way you want that’s the way you need it. I chose to start with these steps so I would be prepped for the writing portion and I could start planning how my book would come together. I completed this phase very quickly and moved on to the next; spreads.

            The writing or “spreads” stage is the longest section of my Journey which I have broken down into separate groupings that make up 10 total milestones or phases. A photo, a narrative and several feedback sessions are all combined to make one spread. I predict each of these will take approximately 4 days and take up the majority of my work time. I will complete one spread at a time and format each one when it is finished so that the next stage of my project will flow nicely because I’m working hard to get my fill, and everybody wants a thrill.

            My final phase is the “finishing steps”. This phase entails revision of the writing, making sure the layouts match, designing a cover, writing the “about the author” and finally publishing. I chose to put this phase at the end because in writing a book, you need some form of writing before you can publish.

            The overall layout of my semester is the way it is because I have always been a sort of linear person; needing to complete task from start to finish. Though some of my spreads overlap, so that I have a little freedom in what I choose to do that day, the majority is very left to right. I intend to follow my timeline faithfully.

            In the next few weeks, my intention is to complete a few of my spreads, staying on track with my schedule. I am currently three quarters of the way through my first spread and keep telling myself hang on, don’t let go now. By the end of week 10 here in Propel, my Journey is over half way done and I will be at approximately the end of spread three. The wheel in the sky keeps on turning, I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow, but I do know I will be working hard to complete my project stage by stage.

Don’t stop believing my friends.

Perseverance

Perseverance is defined as persisting with something no matter the delay in achieving it or the difficulty of said task. Even during the short, two-week proof of concept phase, I managed to persevere through my struggles and overcome challenges in my path.

            My mini project this semester was to create two one-page narratives based off interviews and eye photos. I believe my endeavours went very well, despite the obstacles I faced with my narrative writing, procrastination and general time management issues. I found it very difficult to manage my time well due to distractions but now know that there are many tools for me to use to my advantage. My interviews went very quickly so I felt that I would have copious amounts of time to write two small pieces. I was mistaken. Though I did finish on time, my narratives took way longer than anticipated, going through two sessions of feedback each and personal reflection as well. I became worried toward the end but persevered to the best of my abilities and now have two finished products I am proud of. I ended up with every task completed and a project idea moving forward, but what were these two weeks used for?

            A proof of concept is a project early in the semester to prove that your larger idea is achievable in the time given. My POC was completed therefore I was given the OK to move ahead with my larger goal, but this mini project is also set in place to bring up possible problems that could occur with your idea. In my case, I figured out that my time management is my biggest enemy but the concept itself is attainable in the next three months. Though I started the proof of concept phase thinking of going down the music road, that quickly changed when my passion for writing became even more evident. Thus, showing me that I was going in the wrong direction which is largely what this time was for.

            I discovered that writing and photography were the write (lol) direction for me as well as that I need to better manage my time doing what I am passionate about. To achieve my well managed future, I need to be using my KATA as well as my AB task board much more often so I can make the most out of every second at Propel and persevere through distractions. My new writing techniques such as “show not tell” will inform my project going forward to improve my craft even more.

            So, what does this mean going forward? I will be spending my time this semester on a writing and photography project to help improve these skills. I also hope to get to know new people I wouldn’t normally speak with to take my project out of my comfort zone and to make new friends. Through out doing that I will be managing my time with day planners, AB task boards or whatever it takes to achieve my best work!

            In the end, I want to have a published book with around 20 photos and narratives with matte pages and a modern layout (fonts, picture placements, borders etc). I would like my photos to have a consistent edit or colour palette so that they are pleasing to the eye. Most of all, I hope to persevere through no matter what challenge comes my way and find a whole new love for writing and photography.

Acceptance

“Acceptance is the action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered” – Google. We practice acceptance in the littlest ways and most times we don’t even notice it.  

In the seventh grade, my science teacher approached the class with a project. He asked us to create some sort of diorama to represent all the layers of the earth. Being the outgoing person I am, I accepted the challenge by baking a cake. I included three different flavours, one for each layer. In each one, I used various types of chocolate chips to show each type of rock. Needless to say, I got one hundred percent. This challenge for me was one that was easy to accept and tackle with no holding back. I cannot say the same about deciding to apply for Propel.  

My mother came to me with the idea early last year and I thought it was a joke. A school with one project? A school with a CHOICE? This seemed so extraterrestrial to me, like some sort of dream. For ten years leading up to that moment, I was used to standardized testing and using my time the same way each day. I had never heard the terms “purposeful play” or “here’s three hours, go!”. After being accepted into the program, I struggled as so many realizations hit me. I wasn’t going to see my best friends every day and I would be completely alone at a new school. Little did I know, my friends were my biggest support system on my road to accepting Propel into my life. Truthfully, it was the best decision I could have made. 

Being in Propel has given me so many opportunities already. I have met so many new people who I can genuinely say will be my friends for life and I have explored talents I didn’t know I had. This environment has taught me that standard schooling is only one way to acquire knowledge. We are three weeks in and I have already had some struggles as a writer. Sitting at a piano and trying to create a chord progression (a sequence of note groupings) or being behind a laptop with two hours and told to go nuts! This hasn’t been easy, and I know it is going to get tougher, but I am loving every minute of it. I know that setting goals and not letting time go to waste will help me do great things and achieve those wishes. I am ready for what Propel has to offer and I am excited to put my thoughts and ideas on to paper. The next step for me includes creativity in every form. I cannot wait to create music or make the simple things beautiful through a camera lens or write what I desire. 

This program has recently started and I already know this is where I’m supposed to be. No matter what challenges are thrown at me this year, I will accept them and become a stronger person because of it. Acceptance may not seem easy when it comes to major decisions but I couldn’t be happier with where I am now.