This month our Rising Voices Fellows reflect on their experiences of the fellowship over the past year. Be sure to check the JWA blog each Tuesday for a new post from our fellows—and check out the great educational resources provided by our partner organization, Prozdor.
I honestly had no clue what type of psychological boot camp I signed up for when I agreed to participate in JWA’s Rising Voices Fellowship. This was nothing like the physical endurance that I face at school when I dance; writing for the Fellowship has carved every possible theme, issue, and interest that could be put into a blog post out of my cranium. Yes, we fellows technically had a month to write our pieces, but for perfectionists like me, this was nothing!
Writing a blog post takes time, which is very hard for my Americanized brain that wants things done now and of the best quality. The irony is, when I push my work for time’s sake, I often sacrifice quality ideas that could have evolved with just a bit more patience. Outlining feels like it’s coarse and wasteful, but really, the result ends up being a much richer piece.
Therefore, I know that if I want to write a successful post I have to take baby steps during my writing process. Probably the most important part of the process is to never get ahead of myself. I do not think there has ever been an assignment where I would start writing on the computer. Usually, that would lead to extensive concern over the format of my essay, topics of paragraphs, and conclusion—ultimately wasting even more time because the structure of my pieces rarely remain the same.
Throughout the entire agonizingly slow process, I have to constantly check myself to make sure that I am being a genuine writer. From the get-go, I had a very big struggle resonating with the feminist topics for my assignments. For starters, I was so overwhelmed by the different “categories” of feminism and had no clue which one was most relatable for me. I was painfully tempted to simply create an artificial feminist side, but then there would be no way my readers could connect to my writing if I could not relate to it myself.
I had to dig real deep each time I was confronted with a feminist prompt. Nevertheless, in the end, I was able to discover my growing feminist side—I would put an emphasis on the growing part of my feminist side because even though the blogging fellowship is coming to a close, it has opened a new door for me to explore my feminism.
Being a Rising Voices Fellow has been such a blessing, and I am able to take away so many lessons as both a writer and individual. From learning the tactful art of patience, to throwing away my shyness to reach out to my peers/mentors for edits (and of course to market my blog posts), and finally defining my feminism. But what’s more, I have also entered the realm of a new community filled with intellectuals and innovative thinkers. Though they may have done so unknowingly, each member of my cohort and all of my mentors have moved me deeply with their works and gave me the confidence to consider myself a writer.