As a writer, I painstakingly draft my work, edit, and rework it until I start to feel like I am stuck in the cycle of lather; rinse; repeat. Sick of the uncertainty, I set myself the goal of researching my writing process. Putting my Science degree to use, I set up a research project with my writing habits as the center focus and recorded not only my thoughts and musings but the way I went about recording said thoughts and musings. The process of completing a “post-write” after each of my writing projects has helped tremendously to answer my research questions: how did I construct my sentences, my descriptions? Did I use plain or sophisticated vocabulary? Are my attempts at humor universally understandable? Are there details that I leave out because they are too personal that might be included? Do I include too many personal details that might bore people? Do I use a no-nonsense business approach or a warm and inviting tone? Do I overcompensate in my attempts to sound polite? (I know I do this, especially in my query letters!). Worse, do I come off as meek and ineffective? Worst of all, does it sound like I am apologizing for being an interruption into the reader’s life? After reviewing all of my work, pumping up my weaker sounding paragraphs and paring the over-sized ones I eventually reach the equilibrium I seek.  The conclusions of my research on my writing boil down to what I now call the SOCKS moment.

SOCKS stands for the Spanish phrase, “Eso sí, que es!” which loosely translates to “That’s it, yes!” My eureka moment. I have discovered that, on average, it takes me five drafting/re-working sessions per article to reach my SOCKS moment. Some of these sessions – such as the original draft – can take several hours; others, mere minutes. This information is important for me to know because my career goal is to work as a successful writer. In order to reach this goal, I need to know that it is attainable. While it is one thing to be a good writer, it is another altogether to be able to maintain that level of proficiency while working against a deadline.

As I prepare to graduate, I am looking back on all the work I have done towards my Writing and Rhetoric minor – 21 credits worth of work, spread out over six classes. I am reminded of my younger days, when I was active in high school theater. Rehearsals and insane directors would make me gnash my teeth, which are the same effects that short deadlines and critical editors have on me; just like the in the theater, though, I find the finished project worth every ounce of effort put into it as I look forward to the next one. This is how I know that this is what I want to do for a living; how I know I should never have cast the dream aside for a sensible, “normal” life. How do I know that I am good enough to do this for a living? Faith and the 4.0 GPA I earned in my Writing and Rhetoric minor. (Yes, that last sentence was a brag, and not even a humble one, but I prefer to think of it as self-marketing).