I used to hate doing homework when I was in school. There were always more fun things to do like play Monkey Island or read really long ubernerd fantasy books late into the night. And yes, I also did the “but I want to hang out with my boyfriend” thing in college. Don’t look at me that way…he’s nice to hang out with. I married him after all! Anyways, I have homework again, and it’s been hard to break my procrastination habits, but I don’t have the anxiety and loathing for it that I used to. Probably because I’m doing something I actually like this time (more on the “Faye Decides To Be a CS Major” problems later).
What kind of homework do I have? Well, the first assignment is from Toastmasters. I joined to become a better public speaker and improve my communications skills in general. The reason being that I needed to practice this whole… talking thing. Being shy, that was something that I always had a problem with. There was even a moment in high school when I realized I was so awkward at verbally communicating that I just decided to talk less. Good one, Faye :p
There’s a Toastmasters club at work, and they meet at lunchtime once a week, so it’s quite convenient. It seems like a bit of a cheesy corporate thing to do, but the club I’m in is full of really fun people. I liked the meetings, so I joined up a few weeks ago and now have to write my Icebreaker speech. I’ll basically do what so many people love to do, and talk about myself. The speech I have to come up with is to introduce myself to the rest of the club and to get me started down the road of practicing public speaking.
I’ve also been taking a fiction writing class. It’s through The Writing Salon, a small writing school housed in a San Francisco loft. I’ve taken classes with them before and really liked it. I started these to get into the habit of writing more (that’s what this blog is for too) and to hone my wordsmithing skills. I haven’t written very much since high school, so I thought this would be a good way to get back into it, and it’s been worth it so far. Most classes have you free write every week, so it’s definitely a good workout for the right side of your brain. My writing habits aren’t the best yet, but I feel like those are getting better as well.
The homework I have for this class is to eavesdrop on other people’s conversations, and try to figure out when they’re lying. Someone is actually telling me to snoop on what other people are talking about! The trouble is, I think I’m around too many honest people, because I haven’t been able to pick out any lies yet. I guess I’ll just have to keep listening.
So I actually have homework that I want to do now. The problem I had so often when I was in school was that I didn’t see the point. Everything is given to you as something you’re just “supposed” to know, but the reasons why it’s important for your life are so vague. Integrals are important because you can build bridges or…something. History is important so we don’t repeat bad mistakes…and stuff. This book is really important to read because people have been reading it for a long time. Never anything like, it’s important for you to read this book as an inspiration for how to live your life or, you need to know about this period of time so that you can relate it to the principles of good and evil and human survival, later using this analysis to judge and be involved in current events.
So, to wrap up this somewhat rambling post, why are writing and speaking important to me right now? I want to learn how to be a filmmaker, and so far I think that I may want to be a screenwriter or director. The connection from screenwriter to writing classes is pretty easy. But what about public speaking? Well, if I want to be a filmmaker, I’ll have to be able to communicate my ideas, not only on paper, but amongst other people. And possibly (if I’m successful enough), amongst many, many other people. So Toastmasters seemed like a good place to start.
It’s funny that when you realize you’re in control of your own life and you know where you want to go, you start to make up your own assignments. Attend writing classes and finish all assignments given. Attend Toastmasters meetings and complete speeches in the Competent Communication booklet. Sign up for Scary Cow and pick 2-3 films to work on in order to get experience on the set. All of a sudden homework isn’t just drudgery being forced on you for arbitrary reasons, it’s how you become one of those exciting, fleshed out human beings.