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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Doing what you're good at sucks.

I'm nervous, guys.
You're nervous, Hayley? Why? Is someone asking you to do math?
No, metaphorical responder. That's not it.
Does somebody expect you to perform several cartwheels with perfect form?
Uh, no. That's not it, either.
Then what? Are you being held at gunpoint, asked to list the periodic table of the elements?
No. You want to know why I'm nervous? I'm nervous about WRITING.
Writing? Why are you--
Shut up!

Yeah, you heard me correctly. My first short story is almost due for my "big kid writing class," and I am positively terrified of messing up. This is the moment of truth! What if I find out that I'm not as good as the Noir Bards? What if I learn that all these years of reading books about plot development, covering the back pages of class notebooks with interesting phrases and quotes, spewing my soul out to the internet... what if I learn that it was all in vain? What if I bring my story into class, the professor takes one look at it, and he yells, "Go back to Happy Candy Bear Island; you're terrible at this!" and I promptly implode?

Okay. I just reread the first half of this post and I realize that I'm acting like a psycho, but this is a high-pressure situation. I feel like I have so much to prove in such a small space. What do I write about? I don't want to produce a quirky-life-lessons-learned-blah-blah-cotton-candy-blah anecdote, because, a) sometimes you have to subscribe to the deep-dark-despair-and-black-Sharpie style in order to be taken seriously, and b) I don't want to start the class off in my comfort zone, in the event that I need to pull out all the stops for a later story.

What do you think? Should I push myself to write something more powerful, or should I stick with my light humor security blanket and see how it's received?

Chipotle burritos this year: 13
Subscribers: 26,650
Nail color: This is significantly less interesting when I'm updating daily. Still plum.

P.S. My Geography professor just preached about how high school cafeteria pizza is an effective form of birth control, since it makes you feel like your mouth is lined with cardboard, and there's enough garlic on it to kill a vampire, so no girl will want to come within twenty feet of the boys nasty enough to eat it.
P.P.S. Good luck today, Catherine! I hope you get the job!

117 comments:

Samantha said...

They might not think you're one of them, but I think that the light humour is very Hayley. Did you want to be one of them? If so, write something else.
Yeah, that was a little obvious. Whatever.

eibbore said...

Push yourself. The only way to improve is to go out with your comfort zone. Plus you always have it to fall back on if it fails, like you said.

But you are a great writer Hayley, you can do it.

allysonkate said...

Dearie, this is so exciting!
I think that for your first story, you should stick within your comfort zone. However, don't worry so much! Even if your "big kid writing class" absolutely HATES your work, this is okay! One, it will provide you with even more motivation to do your best, and two... it's just your college classmates! You have hundreds of fans who love your work. No need to impress everyone.

With that said, don't let criticism from classmates and professors keep you from taking a risk and stepping out of your comfort zone for your next assignment. You're Hayley G. Hoover, gurl! :]

alyson said...

Sometimes light humor goes over really well. Especially when it's something you're great at. Since it's the first short story assignment I would say to stick with what you know. You're a fantastic writer and every person that comments will tell you that. So whatever you decide, I have no doubt it will go over great.

Also, professors tend to grade harder with the more assignments you have. So I would say try the light humor now and then go for more later to show that you can.

The Dreamers said...

I think you should do whatever you feel will be best for the story. But I think it's a good idea to take a little risk, bring something different to the table, art suffers when it becomes easy for the artist.

You're a GOOD writer, I've only read your blogs, but they're very well written, and I imagine that carries well into your other writing, so I wouldn't be afraid.

Although, it's easy for me to say as some random commenter on a blog, but those are my two cents.

Brenna said...

The best advise I can offer is to write about what you know. Not in the "moral of the story" or "life lesson" way, but write about a situation or feeling that you're familiar with. *shrugs* It's what I do for my writing class.

Marwa said...

I think you should stay true to yourself and stick to your light humour. That way you'll know if your professor likes what you've been working on all your life. And even if he doesn't, who cares?! That's just one person's opinion. I know for sure there's people who want to read what your plum-coloured fingers have written <3

Phyllis said...

who are you impressing? us? yourself? the Bard Noirs? the wonderful thing about writing class is that it isn't math class. there is never any one right answer. also writing is super self-indulgent, and the only thing that matters in writing classes is improving your skill not proving yourself.

partyweetow said...

You're an awesome writer; don't be nervous. If I were you, I'd go easy first, see how the professor grades, what s/he's expecting for the future, etc.

If you're good enough to get into this class, then I think you'll be okay. And even if your professor tells you to go back to Candy Bear Island, or whatever you said, that's still only one person's opinion. Neither John Green nor David Levithan got into the advance writing programs while they were in college (I found that out last night!), and they're both really, really good authors.

Christy said...

Stick with your normal stuff, Hayley. If he doesn't like it, then you know what not to write in that class,or you'll learn how to improve it. If he doesn't like it, it doesn't mean that you're never going to succeed or anything, because I'm sure one person told Leonardo da Vinci that the Mona Lisa was the ugliest thing they've ever seen. You're just freaking yourself out. Write whatever you feel, learn from his criticism, make yourself a better writer. I'm sure most people in the class have been writing longer than you and have more experience, but you can surpass their awesomeness if you stay relaxed.

Azu said...

Okay. Firstable CALM DOWN.

You've got to remember that, even though the teacher spits at you and shouts how bad you are at writing, he can be WRONG. Harry Potter was rejected by editorial houses dozens of times, and J.K Rowling never gave up.

Your blog-writing skills are awesome, so I'm sure your writing is great.

You'll be just fine :)

Sammie said...

I am about to be majorly cliché, but i say follow your heart! You write amazingly, and im sure no matter what you write it will be awesome! <3

Edward said...

Push yourself. Prove to yourself that you can write with extreme depth. I'm convinced that you can.

natalie said...

i think the reason you have so many subscribers and readers is because people like reading what you have genuinely written while being just you. so i'd say be yourself and write what you feel represents you. good luck!! :)

Zombie said...

Hm, you've probably already read this a thousand times but try something different! Something that is difficult for you to write. You might surprise them and yourself!

And if it doesn't go as planned, we still love you!

BenCracknell said...

Hayley, I have to say that I'm a little disappointed with you. Through the past couple of years, if there is one thing you've taught me, it's that don't care what people think. I know what, in such a high class you're in you want to prove yourself to everyone and make them think you're amazing, but honestly, as long as you love the story that you've written, then it doesn't matter. That's it. It doesn't matter. If you try the first time and love your story, that's amazing. If you're so set on proving yourself, then try again with a different one. Don't go out of your way to write a superfantasticzomgthisstorywillblowyouaway, because if you want to write something steady and sweet, then that's the path that's going to end up with the better outcome.
Like an old DK1 blog post once told me, Never apologize for your art. You're amazing, Hayley, so don't worry.

Ellery said...

Go with your gut! Do whatever feels right to you. :)

I also want to add that I always get really nervous for writing assignments, too, but it always ends up okay. And I'm a Chemical Engineering major! You've been writing well (VERY well), and infinitely better than me, your entire life. I BELIEVE IN YOU! ;)

Tiffany said...

I would stick to your comfort zone, for your first short story at least. Generally, and I say generally because you don't always fall into the "generally" category, when people try to push themselves to hard to write something "deep and powerful", it comes out sounding really overdone and fake, and I'm not sure that's the first impression you want to give. I think once you can gauge the your comfort level and the reactions from your peers and professors, you should definitely experiment more, but for right now, I think you should just show them what you've got; a sort of baseline or foundation for the rest of your pieces. Your light humor is funny, and not necessarily superficially so, and for works like short stories, I think light humor really shines through.

Lorena said...

I think you should stick to your comfort zone and see what happens there. If it goes well, push yourself on your second go. You're an amazing writer, Hayley, everyone who reads your blog knows that. I really wish you make it as a pro! <3

Anonymous said...

Ditto to what BenCracknell said!

Joanne said...

Your predicament reminds me so much of "Spanking Shakespeare" by Jake Wizner -- he even mentions people along the lines of "Noir Bards" in the book. If you find the time, you should definitely read it (it's a fairly fast read)unless you have already. It won't blow your mind or anything, but I think you would really enjoy it, especially considering the way you seem to be feeling right now.

Joanne said...

Also, I would like to third what BenCracknell said

VTBurninator said...

Procrastinating tweets = HGH blog! Yay! I must say that April is my favorite month because of the daily HGH. In any event, you asked for advice.

I am split...on one hand I want to say, "Go with what you know." Play your strengths and learn from the bumps. On the other hand, I can understand the "fall back on it" later mentality. I'm assuming it's a short story about anything. In which case I say go for what feels right and don't over think it. You've already blogged about it so I'm sure over thinking is already in progress…

Related: Don't take one professor's view of your work as truth. Subjectivity (even in college professors) must be expected and prepared for. If there appears to be a constant theme, however, then self-reflection is due.

Margaret said...

I would say stick with what you know first. Then you know where you stand. If you write something completely out of your element, you're already going to feel uncertain about it, which might (read: will) make the situation even worse.

And it's high pressure, yes, and the other students are intimidating, yes, but this is their first short story for the class too. No one's expecting perfection. If they were already the Best Writers Ever, why are they taking the class?

Good luck! <3

Niki. said...

I don't think you should write the deep-dark-despair type of story just to be accepted. If you want to, to challenge yourself and try something new, then sure, go for it. But there's nothing wrong with sticking to your comfort zone if you're writing something you want to write; you'd be genuine, and that's a good thing, right? I'm sure you're a wonderful writer, so, whatever you decide to do... at least attempt to relax and just write, and it'll be great. =D.

Jamie said...

You should do what you want to do and what you feel is the right thing to do, Hayley.

You can push yourself to write something powerful and different because you want to get out of your comfort zone and improve your writing skills. But, don't do it for the sole purpose of impressing your professor or classmates.

Don't think too much about what others will think. Perhaps your professor will enjoy what you have written. It may be a refreshing change from the rest of your classmates. You end result should be something you are extremely proud of. Even if your class does not enjoy it, I'm sure there's bound to be someone else in the world who will.

Also, don't be afraid to fail. Don't let it consume you because if you get over it, you get stronger after each one. For every few successes I have, I fail a lot.

Dinah said...

You are wonderful no matter what happens. Just write about anything, big, little, dark, light, deep, shallow whatever! It will be a good learning experience regardless.
You rock and we love you. So TRY not to worry.

Kendall said...

Good luck, Hayley! :) You're a great writer and you'll do fine.

Mina Carlisle said...

Hayley, dear, you'll be fine, trust me. The thing about college creative writing classes is that they are designed to make those of us who feel like we don't write like Noir Bards (Love the Jessica Darling reference) feel bad about what we write.

Don't feel bad because you don't want to write about depressing stuff or weird stuff. I don't know what you're writing about- but it's more for you then it is for them.

My writing professor witnessed my big fiasco about feeling insecure about my writing and told me this, "People always give you advice about not changing yourself to please your boyfriend or a group of strangers. So why would you want to change what you write to please someone else? If you disrespect your writing, it's almost like you are disrespecting yourself. Don't do that."

You'll be fine!

Sarah said...

I'm just like you Hayley! I get way more nervous about things I have to do when I feel like I am (or should be) good at them!

But! I think you should push yourself with this story. Go out of your comfort zone! Worse comes to worse it blows up in your face (which is sooo unlikely it isn't funny, you are amazing after all). Best comes to best, you're like WOW "I am even better than I thought! Why don't I listen to my blog readers more" :-p

GOOD LUCK! (and if you can bare it, sharing the story would be fantastic!)

Just, Ale said...

Hayley, you make your daily life the most interesting thing for me to read each day. Anything you create is great writing.
Worthy-of-a-bobble-head-Edgar-Allen-Poe writing! Don't doubt yourself, you don't want to go prematurely gray do you? It would look too bland after the lovely pink you had a while back.

Robyn said...

I wouldn't try to write something powerful because it will end up seeming forced. I would just write what comes naturally and if it's a darker story than so be it, but if it's light-hearted then ditto. Besides, it seems that I lot of people like your lightheartedness - all ten billion of us - so you must be doing something right.

... I don't know if that was advice or just a ramble...

Also, if you have some time, I'd recommend reading something by Miriam Toews. She kind of reminds me of you (her writing style, that is) and manages to expertly blend some of the funniest moments and some of the darkest. "A Complicated Kindness" is by favourite.

All in all, good luck, and have a cup of decaf tea to help with the nerves :)

K-Mac said...

I have complete confidence that you will totally own this assignment no matter what you do.

But, since my confidence probably isn't really that important in this situation, I would say...do what you are excited about. If one way seems easier, but less exciting, go with the harder & vice-versa.

My unsubstantiated opinion also tells me that you are a freakin' fantastic writer. Just thought you should know.

Also, chill. Take a deep breath. ;)

& I ate a Chipotle burrito today in your honor.

Abby said...

You know, everybody hates something. If the bards hate you, don't retreat. You know your audience already - see if you can develop other parts as well, but worst case scenario you know where home is.
That being said, start at home and take steps forward. I'm excited for you!

Jack said...

I don't know why you think writing in your comfort zone now means you won't be able to pull out all the stops later. Personally, I would go with something well within my comfort early on, so if I did need to pick it up later I'm not striving past something that's already intimidating. That probably means I have less confidence in my writing than you, and I do. With good reason.

danielle-driver said...

My advice: Stick with what you know. If it doesn't go over well, don't let it get to you, you're just warming up...the class and the semester just started. Then, next time, once you're a little more comfortable with the class and the whole writing-stuff-that-people-see-and-judge thing, try something a little more out there..push yourself. Use this class as an opportunity to grow as a writer and expand your horizons...not as an opportunity to impress older students and your professor. Good luck!

jenibo said...

Hayley, it will be fine. I think you should write the way you write. People will appreciate your voice. It's Hayleyesque and no one else has it.

SillyJaime said...

It's good to stick with what you know, but just because you're stepping out of your comfort zone doesn't mean you don't know what you're doing. I think you should push yourself, or else how will you ever learn?

KateyMatey said...

Remember that you're always your biggest critic. If you don't completely hate it, then it's probably fantastic. And don't worry about it not being ZOMG-THISISAMAZING. You're in a class, they all want to learn and improve as writers too. You're already ahead, I doubt any of them have 10 billion blog followers :).

Kate said...

i love that nail color line. i have the plum color and i bought Commander in Chic yesterday. I LOVE IT SO MUCH.
i needed to let someone know.
also, you're gonna do great on your paper! go girl.

Anonymous said...

I think that it would be a good idea to stick with what you're comfortable with for your first story.

Also, although it's kind of irrelevant and of no help to you whatsoever it is really comforting to someone like me to hear that a writer as amazing as you are gets nervous.

Annalise said...

I love that you're blogging so often!

I'm sure a lot of people here are telling you to push yourself, and I have to say, I kind of agree. It's college and you need to get out of your comfort zone and take some criticism to learn new things. Everyone worthwhile has gone through this. On the other hand, since it's the first assignment for the class, it may be smart to stick with what you know and are wonderful at and blow everyone away with the awesomeness that is you.

Catherine said...

I know nobody named and spelled Catherine (it's my name too) and so everytime you shout out to a Catherine on your blog I get so excited, then realize I didn't... actually... comment on the last post.
MMmm paranoia, looks like it's all around the world today.

Relax, you're a killer writer, you'll be fine.

Tom Elliott said...

Hi Hayley, I'm sure you'll do a fantastic job of whatever you end up writing about. I think the fact that you're nervous is a good sign. I find I get nervous about things that I really care about, and the day that I don't get nervous before doing something is the day I don't care as much as I did the day before, which is a bad thing I guess. This is my first time on your blog, but if your fiction is as well-written and thoughtful as your blogging, you'll be absolutely fine :) Best of luck. Tom.

Veronica said...

Long time reader here, just coming out of the closet after getting a Google Account...this was a post I couldn't resist commenting on.

First of all, I think that you shouldn't write in your comfort zone, or out of it either. You should not be even thinking of a comfort zone. You should be writing what you have the most fun writing.

Here's how I see it:
No good writer ever wrote about things they didn't enjoy writing about. To stick with something as long as it takes to write a brilliant piece, you need to have some fun. If you think getting experimental is fun, then fine, get experimental. If you think writing angst is the most boring thing on the planet, then don't do it. You will write the best when you are agonizing over every little word and phrase, and you can only do that well if you get some enjoyment out of it.

Second of all, in all likelihood someone will tell you they don't like what you write. You can't please everyone. The important thing is knowing how to sort out what is useful criticism that you can use, from criticism that you know is downright wrong. Once you figure that out, you will improve at an incredible rate.

Thirdly, if there is one thing you are AMAZING at, it is readability. You may think this means very little, but many authors are only worshiped within a circle of elite scholars, while the typical person on the street could care less. If you are readable, you can appeal to that person on the street, which is far more important than obscurity because writing is MEANT TO BE READ. It's not meant to be dissected. It is important to be meaningful, yes - but it is just as important to be readable, which you have down just fine.

So just do something you'll have fun writing, do something people will like reading, see what happens, and screw the rest.

Sorry for the long post and my previous lurky-ness, but this is a subject that I feel very strongly about. :D

Ida said...

Personally I would start of doing something I know I'm good at. Something I feel very comfortable with. From what I've seen of your writing, it'll be brilliant.

You'll do great Hayley.

alylurker said...

Maybe just toe the line instead or going way out over your comfort zone? That way your still pushing yourself but you still have some security

Deanna said...

I once took this scary big kid writing class, and my teacher said to me: "I know you like writing the mildly serious melodrama of teenage life, but break the comfort zone; you'll be a better writer."

So I did, and I wrote something that wasn't about quirky teenagers who love boys they can never have and wrote about being an adult, and I'm a better writer because of it. Sometimes you have to reach outside the comfort zone to better yourself.

Write something different, even if it doesn't work out quite the way you want it to, you can grow from it. Don't let the possibility of failure stop you from growing.

And this is my two sense.

Arletta said...

This may not be of much help...
A majority of my friends are at least 4 years older than me. I've noticed that one or two years doesn't really make that much of a difference. Everyone has strong and weak points. Use your strengths to the fullest, but allow your weakness to grow strong. You'll do fine.

Christina said...

Don't worry. You will be fine. I think the point of the class is to help you reach beyond what you are doing now. It should help you get out of your comfort zone and help you become an even better writer. My suggestion is to maybe start off in your comfort zone but maybe with bit of elements that you are not used to. Either way, it will be amazing because you are a good writer and a force to be reckoned with it in the world of authors.

Sarah said...

You can do it, Hayley! It's not calculus or chemistry or trigonometry or *shivers* quadratics. You KNOW how to write, and all of us read your blog and see that. Whatever you choose to write will only contribute to making you even better :)

Jess said...

Seeing as it's your first assignment, I would stay in your comfort zone. But whichever you choose, I can honestly tell you that it will be great. Best wishes!

Kristina said...

Hayley,
You are a wonderful writer, but the only way to truly improve your abilities and become "well rounded" is to write outside of your comfort zone. However I wouldn't think about it too much, just write whatever comes from your heart. If it's mysterious, romantic, serious, sad, depressing, happy, or even typical Hayley light-hearted. No matter what, you write best when your true to your self and your instincts.
Good luck I'm sure you'll do great.

Afton said...

Hayley, you have tons of people that read your blog. Obviously, you are a talented writer and manage to keep people interested. So why not push yourself a little and see just how talented you are in other areas. Whatever you do I'm sure it will be wonderful and good luck in your "big kid" writing class. :)

Manuel said...

I don't feel in the position to give creative advice to anyone but i'm sure it will work out great for you :)

I'm excited for a book full of light humour by Hayley in the future.

Tom said...

Stick to the light humor stick to the light humor stick to the light humor. For seriously. It's really amazing how effortlessly such writing flows from you (with the nonfiction at least). I'm telling you, though; yours will be one of the best written/least-awkwardly-written stories in the class. The kids who try to write stories about doom and gloom and cancer and AIDS will fail to execute them properly and the emotion will feel all contrived and silly.

And remember, if all else fails, you can always write about Happy Candy Bear Island. Now THERE'S a story I'd want to read.

accioweasley said...

The thing I absolutely love about John Green's novels, is that they have a sense of hilarity and depth to them. ... no wonder Looking for Alaska took 4 years.
I would write about what you know, and choose to write it in any way possible. You're a fantastic writer, and we know you can do it. Good Luck!

Kylie said...

Never stay in your comfort zone, I find that to be the most contradictory thing an artist can do. Always do what you're afraid to, and you'll better yourself along the way. I know it's scary, but you'll never progress if you don't try something new.

genevieve said...

I think you should stick to your usual style for this first piece. Because after all, if that's who you are then that will come across and they will see your natural flair for words. As the wise old adage suggests, "Never be afraid to be who you are!" /cliche

While there is something to be said for breaking out of your comfort zone and taking risks, I'm sure you'll have plenty of time to refine other styles later on in the class. For now you should give them a taste of that classic Hayley prose that we all know and love!
:)

Kelly said...

I think that maybe you're putting too much pressure on yourself here. Like you said, this is your first assignment for your first "big kid writing class" so even if the professor does hate it (he won't), that doesn't mean you're not supremely talented or that you can't be a real, grown-up writer.

I would suggest pushing yourself to try something new for this project. Not because you feel like you need to so that you can fit in with the Noir Bards, but because you can. I know you can, because I read your writing and it so happens that I'm brilliant and I can spot talent a mile away.

And what is college if not a time for trying something new and big and scary? Playing it safe is for wimps.

Roxanne said...

You would think that by putting your nail color online everyday it would remind you of it and therefore motivate you to change it up more. I know I would! *hint hint wink wink*

outofthenightsky said...

Hayley, I can hardly be sage as a 17 year old high school student.

BUT, what I will tell you is that last year for my Advanced English class, I sat down to write about the beautifully broad topic of 'Belonging', which resulted in something completely different to my standard 'angsty-teen-whining-or-dying' stories. It became a series of short poems (proper ones, not limericks! I KNOW!), which was something I'd never done before, but somehow I enjoyed doing it & felt like it expressed my thoughts perfectly.

So the point of this long winded re-telling of a dull event, is that you should let it flow, but with a vague idea of what you want to communicate in mind. You might find yourself trying something different, something more powerful. But if what feels best is your light humour, then stick with it. I've found that trying to force something powerful never works.

Sorry if you got nothing out of that, I'm not the best at giving advice. =S Good luck!

Elly said...

Short answer: if you write something in your comfort zone and GOOD, the teachers will sit up and listen. They will push you to do different things and challenge yourself. If you write something out of your comfort zone and it's not so good, they won't recognise that you're actually good, and won't push you as much.

Okay, that kind of turned out to be the long answer.

Johnny Rollerfeet said...

after my wife's first "big kid writing" assignment the professor said "some day you may write something i want to read, but this isn't it." in poker the best advice is to view the winnings over your "career", because a hand, or even a game, is not a good representation of your skill. there are too many variables every time you play effecting the outcome. don't give too much power to one class/professor/assignment.

Foxy Roxy said...

*Second comment of the day*

I just wanted to let you know that I mentioned you in my latest blog if you'd like to go over there and check it out, it'd really mean a lot to me :)

Alex Cee said...

Since you made the Jessica Darling reference -- the Noir Bards have nothing on you, just as they had nothing on Jessica.

I won't say stay in your comfort zone, but I also won't say write dark just to write dark. Write about what needs to be told. I honestly believe that you can make it. Write for yourself and others will read and enjoy it.

daiana said...

Umm, Are you absolutely CRAY CRAY?!?! You are such a good writer and it's what you are meant to do. This is not all in vain, you're so talented and everything will work out, i know it.

muse88 said...

It's only natural for you to be nervous about the writing class but the fact that you're in that class makes you more than capable. And write how you've always written, don't write what you think will impress them. Showing your talents and style will be way more impressive. You can do it!!

Anonymous said...

Hayley, I'm so stoked that you're taking this challenging class. My band conductor went off on a tangent the other day, and he told us to try and pick a college that is really challenging and out of our comfort zone. This will force you to work extra hard in order to fit in. Along the way, you will grow and adapt, ultimately improving yourself.

-Marebear

cassiumpotassium said...

I think you should push yourself to write something really great because then on your next assignment you'll have to push yourself to write something better. You're there to grow, not to play it safe! :)

cassie.

Melissa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa said...

When it comes to that short story, I'd say that you should stick with what you're comfortable writing. If you write a story that's out of your usual comfort zone, it might show in your writing that you're not entirely confident and comfortable with what you're trying to say (Or it may not, but that's what happens to me!) And remember, you have a whole semester to take risks with your writing and try new and different styles!

And all your worrying aside, I'm sure you'll write a great story! And even if your teacher or your classmates don't like it, just remember that you've got us, your blog readers, and I'm pretty sure we'd like it. :)

Gianna said...

I think you should go with a light humor that has a well thought out good important meaning. You should do your best work and impress your teacher, don't save your best work for later. If you give him your best work up front you will force yourself to be challenged and have to improve throughout the class. It is also importnat to give you teacher a great first impression, it makes a big differance.


p.s. sorry about the grammer/spelling... its just not my thing, but I think you Amazing!

Craig said...

Always, always, always push the limits. It's the only way to expand your comfort zone. CAPT Frank "Whip" Ault, founder of TOPGUN, put it best: "The day you stop trying to be the best is the day you stop being good."

Madhu said...

I must say that comfort zones are where I dwell daily, and I don't regret it. I'm staying there because I'm not a risk-taker.

Basically, I think you should stick to your comfort zone. Once your grade is high, you'll have room to challenge yourself/explore other types of "black sharpie" writing, as you put it.

Madhu said...

I must say that comfort zones are where I dwell daily, and I don't regret it. I'm staying there because I'm not a risk-taker.

Basically, I think you should stick to your comfort zone. Once your grade is high, you'll have room to challenge yourself/explore other types of "black sharpie" writing, as you put it.

Katie said...

I think you should start with your security blanket, and work your way down into darker holes of despair from there. If you start deep, it's harder to work your way back up without seeming like a FAILURE.

<3

ClassicFilmFan said...

Don't try to be like the 'we-dress-in-black-and-are-growing-beards-as-an-external-equivalent-for-our-profound-thoughts' people just to "fit in".
Trying something new IS good, sure, but you don't have to write about Very Earnest & Serious subjects to be taken seriously.
'Just' write what YOU would like to read! :D (no matter what other people may think of it -- or what you assume they may think) Good luck!

Pat Taylor said...

Noir bards... is this a reference to the Jessica Darling series? :D

Snottlebie said...

I find that handing in a piece of writing (especially something like a short story or a piece of fiction - something you have complete control over) is one of the most nerve racking experiences out there. Writing is so personal that you feel like you're sharing a bit of your soul (or mind) with whoever reads it; it's a scary experience. The natural reaction is to try and create something others will like, but really, it's far better to create something YOU like.

Of course I'm just a high school student, but I do know one thing - you're a fantastic writer.

Sera said...

Challenge yourself, but don't move to far away from your style. You're still the author.

kira902k said...

I'm sure whatever you write will be wonderful.
Face it, even if it doesn't match up to the rest of the class (but it will), it's physically impossible for you to write something that is *complete* crap. You're too good.
Natural talent, gurl.
Ew. Girl.
<3

Abbie said...

I think you should write what YOU want to write about. Don't worry too much about what they're all going to think. Write something you know you'll be able to write well and that you enjoy writing about. It's just gonna suck even worse/be more nervewracking if you're writing in a way you're not used to, because

a.) you'll probably wish you could just revert to your signiture style

b.) you'll be more worried about whether or not it's good because you're not used to writing about that stuff/in that style/whatever.

c.)it's harder to come up with ideas for stuff you don't really, really care a lot about/enjoy.

Good luck! I'm sure whatever you write will be awesome. :)

Olivia. said...

Hayley, you'll be fine. Don't worry about it!
Your an amazing writer & yeah, when you care about something so much & you want to do it so much, its normal to freak out. (I know how you feel.)
Just take a deep breath & do the best you can do !
Hope it works out well :)

Anonymous said...

"You must be willing to fail to succeed."

Don't tell me you're dreams are so flimsy that a simple college class lead by a human made of flesh and blood just like you can crush them straight out of you, Hayley.
Write your little heart out. Send those beautiful words scrawling across that page and enjoy doing it, like you do. Will you seriously let the threat of someone disliking your writing stop you from pursuing what makes you feel complete?

Just go for it, dear. Write what you feel is inside of you.

Kat said...

Jess Darling reference, love it.

sbg_bubbly said...

I think you should stick to the funny quirky stuff for this writing piece not because it will be easier but because it's what you want to write in the long term (or at least that was my impression). Getting constructive criticism on this type of writing now is what will help you the most in the future.

Anyways that's just my 2 cents. You do what you think is right, just be sure to tell us which one you picked :P

Alice said...

The point of a class is to get better, so its okay to not really know EVERYTHING at the start of the class, because you're there to learn.
ALSO are we like, telling you about our lives now? Because if we are, I'm spending my spring break taking drivers ed, I got my ear drums like STABED repeadedly today and I got a shot in my arm. But I got a "My Little Pony" band aid. So yeah, I'm having a pretty good day.

Alice said...

Okays so after reading everyone else's awesome and thoughtful comments it is clear that we AREN'T telling you about our lives. So yeah, write the light one, because it would be a fun challenge to see if you could make one of the noir bards actually LAUGH (or see if they are capable of it)

Caroline said...

Hayley, I'm sure your moment-of-truth short story is great!!! Nobody has to say it... I know that I'm expected to major in something "practical", but your willingness to take a chance, even if it means "being poor" has really inspired me to take my own chances when I enter big girl land next spring. So... Thanks!

Katie said...

I really think you should push yourself out of your comfort zone. You'll be happier with the final product and feel like you did more than just retold the same old cookie-cutter, boy who cried wolf thing.

Good luck and I'm sure you will do great!! You should let us read it when you are done!! (:

Allison said...

Hayley, you are amazing at writing. Trust me, I pretty much just stalked your entire blog...heh. In all seriousness, though, you actually have helped me realize exactly what I want to do with my life. It's sounds like something out of some really awful Matthew McConaughey movie, but it's true. I read some of your stuff and now I KNOW I want to be a writer, you've really inspired me to get out there and push myself to write better and be the absolute best I can -- okay, cheese overload, I'm done :)

OH, one last thing, I remember you saying something about how you were really attracted to hands on a guy...I actually think I died when I read that. I thought I was the ONLY ONE that thought hands were one of the sexiest things about a guy!

Okay, I'm done :)

Elisabeth said...

People have already said it, but it's not your classmates you have to impress, it's the audience who will eventually read your books. You yourself might not particularly enjoy reading war stories (or whatever, just an example), but there is a very real audience for that kind of book.

As for whether you should stick to what you know or go outside your comfort zone, that is up to you. My opinion is that you only learn what you're capable of by going outside of your comfort zone, so you should definitely try something different at some point, but for a first assignment you may want to stick to the familiar until you feel more comfortable holding your own against the 'big kids'.

grace said...

Writing and storytelling is not about "reading books about plot development, covering the back pages of class notebooks with interesting phrases and quotes", and you're a GREAT writer because you know that. Your stories are real. They're true and honest, and this is why you truly, truly are a writer. You never force it. Just tell them stories. It doesn't matter which because they're both yours.

I never comment, but I won't have you doubting yourself! Also, Happy Candy Bear Island sounds like a lot of fun. :)

shawna said...

HAHA don't be like Marty McFly and his father.

Katy said...

Don't treat the class like you're the only smart person in there, or like you're the only one who's ever written before. Don't try to impress the teacher, either. It's not about the teacher, or the other kids in class: the class is about you, and YOU growing and developing as a writer. Who gives a shit if the professor thinks you're any good? Certainly not Hayley G. Hoover! Take advantage of the teacher's knowledge, though. Try something different and see how people like it. You already know you're good at what you do, so don't try for the professor's approval. Try for your own growth, because that's where you'll really succeed.

Holly said...

Powerful.
Trust me, people love anything that can make them cry.

Michael W said...

I've been reading comments, and many people have been giving wonderful advice with which I agree. I could restate some but I won't. The biggest thing is this: we believe in you, Hayley. You should too.

Heather Pinnow said...

I'm not sure you should put yourself in a mindset to do either/or. I think if you start trying to write inside a box, it gets boring. Sure, coloring inside the lines in elementary school was great. But, now that we're older no one expects you to use lines anymore. In fact, what's the big deal if you color a page in a book that someone drew for you?

I think you should just write. Push for something different. Not necessarily different from what you usually do (although, that can be a good idea) but just write what works. Also, don't write to impress a teacher or other students. Write to impress yourself. It's an unfortunate part of school that you do have to figure out what the teacher wants, and in order to get a good grade cater to that want. But, for the first one? You really don't have to do anything of that because you don't have anything graded from them yet. So just write. The rest will come later.

Catherine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Catherine said...

I think you need to WOW your "big kid writing class". You want them to notice your story and have it stick in their minds. You need to show them that you're serious and you love what you do. At the same time, you don't want to completely lose your light Hayley quirkiness. It's what makes your writing fun. You need to find a happy medium and I know you can do it. =)

P.S. You must be my good luck charm because an hour after you posted this I walked into my interview and I GOT THE JOB! Thanks Hayley.

Jeff said...

I say stay in your lane, build some confidence, and gain some experience. I don't know if I am your oldest reader (33) and this is going to make me sound old, but you're only 19 and your best writing is ahead of you, not behind you.

Keiko.LeMon said...

Again, I would say stick to what you have been doing and do that to the best of your abilities. If your prof is any good he will not throw out your work and say you suck but will try and nurture and help you develop. I think it is best to give him a honest starting point, by that I mean what you ae used to writing. You will probably not blow his socks off in the holy crap that was the best thing I have ever read why are you even in this class kind of way. But that's ok. That's WHY you are taking a class, to become better and to let others read and edit your work. I remember feeling the same way in my first big kid writing class... but it turned out ok for me. :)

Alexis said...

Writer's fear at its best, I know the feeling myself. To quote Mauren Johnson: we, young writers need to dare to suck at writing.
I personnaly admire the effort you put into writing, and I'm sure you can pull it off, whether you stick to your usual, or decide to go out of your comfort zone. Also, don't get too worked up about it. You're there to learn and they know that.

Nicky said...

Definitely step out of your comfort zone. That's what college is all about--challenging yourself AND your beliefs [such as being good at writing and wanting to that for the rest of your life].

But it's definitely hard. I want to be a writer... badly... but I don't write. I think of so many stories but don't put them down to paper. There's something terrifying about it. Like failing.

You'll be amazing, and even if you aren't, you'll have learned better for next time. :]

notaclareintheworld said...

I know what you mean! I'm taking advanced poetry this term and you have to ~get accepted~ based on a submission to the prof so I'm always really scared that people are going to read my poem and say how did this chick get into this class?

That being said... this hasn't happened yet. And I'm sure it won't happen to you.

nicole. said...

i no i am no help to your problem, but you need to see this gif of you, it's gold:
http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l0dienv5cV1qbydgco1_250.gif

Kathryn said...

I know what you mean Hayley, I go through that feeling every time I hand in English Coursework.
Write something you know, something you're comfortable with. You can get fancy and try different things in future lessons. I'm guessing that's what your teacher wants to see; how you're doing now so he knows how you can improve.

Good luck and don't ever doubt yourself. You can do it.

That bloggers blog said...

the thing is they might not expect anything from you, so this could be the perfect chance to try something new if it doesn't work at least you can say you tried your best

Eff said...

Thousands of people doesn't follow deep-dark-despair-and-black-Hayley.
They follow the ironic and humorous Hayley, the one that you actually are(or are you?). Don't forget that!
I you combine the two of them thought, I think it could make something brilliant.

Christina said...

Have you seen this tumblr dedicated to you?

http://fuckyeahhayleyghoover.tumblr.com/

chelsea said...

I say push yourself, but not too much outside your comfort zone the first time. Humor is great and often hard to pull off and if you can do it, I say include it if and when it feels natural. Try to find middle ground if you can. Good luck! I'm sure it will be great!

Bobina said...

For this first assignment, I would say go with your usual writing style and establish your voice. That way, the plunges you take later on will be more profound and AMAZING. So yes, my vote is light humor Hayley, for now. :)

K. M. Currie said...

A wise man once said, "Any way you want it, that's the way you need it."

Hayley, if there's one thing you're good at- it's writing to reach an audience. Your professor is a future fan just waiting to be inducted into our little internet family. Write what you know, and write it in a new way.

Nokorola said...

1. I say stick with your light humor, the populace sure seems to enjoy it.

2. If your professor doesn't like your paper(which seems nearly impossible unless they're crazy), the prospect of going back to Happy Candy Bear Island doesn't sound too bad.

3. Please don't implode Hayley.

4. The most important thing though Hayley, is to have fun! ...and a great day.

jessmcfadden said...

As a wise man once said, calm the hell down!

The Vagabond said...

I know exactly how you feel about being afraid of how you'll be received and stuff like that. I am a person who freaks out a lot and I want to be a professional chef because I love to cook. I've been told I'm good at it but what if my professors feel differently. I came all the way to Italy to study at an International school of Hospitality and what if I find out here, thousands of miles from my mommy's comforting arms, that I suck and never going to make it. It's all a part of growing up I guess. It sucks but you've got to do it sometime, you know.

I believe in you though. After more than a year of reading this blog and hearing about your writing from your videos I know that you can do it and that you will be great. You will wear another sun dress that matches your plum nail polish and you will be the cutest person in class and you will blow the professor and fellow snobby classmates away with your mad writing skillz. Go for it!! : )