This is the last post in this series.
Do you want to go deeper into understanding the relationship between yourself and the world around you?
What is autoethnography?
“Autoethnography is a form of self-reflection and writing that explores the researcher’s personal experience and connects this autobiographical story to wider cultural, political, and social meanings and understandings. It differs from ethnography —a qualitative research method in which a researcher uses participant observation and interviews in order to gain a deeper understanding of a group’s culture— in that autoethnography focuses on the writer’s subjective experience rather than, or in interaction with, the beliefs and practices of others. As a form of self-reflective writing, autoethnography is widely used in performance studies and English.” http://research.omicsgroup.org/index.php/Autoethnography
Also check out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autoethnography
This section is a little more philosophical. It’s looking at research-inspired methods of writing as a way to spark insight. I love this type of work. My Master’s thesis used these ideas.
List five values in order of importance, that you consider important to your life. Give a brief definition of each in your own terms. Select the most important one and explain why it is important.
Complete a mind map. Consider categories such as race, ethnicity, language, gender, class, religion, ability, profession, and personal interests.
- List all your identities and draw lines to make connections. Add category labels if it’s helpful.
- Examine your map carefully. Select one from your list and write what you know so far or what questions you may have.
Being Intentional about Form
Using the form to inform–this is a way of being intentional about what we are writing and how we are writing it. We let the form do the work for us–the experience of writing a poem is different than the experience of writing a play. How can the choice of form provide different entry points for understanding who we are?
What is the role of autobiography in all/any forms of writing? What role has autobiography played in something you have written?
Audiences need to know who we are. We need to be there. Consider: What is the lens through which you see the world?
Reflecting on Culture
- How are you part of a culture and an individual?
- What defines people as a group?
- How can you be part of multiple groups at the same time?
- What is the degree of influence of various groups? The strength of affinity? Identity? Voice?
- When you leave a group, do you shed the group’s traits?
- Can you acquire the traits of a group without official membership?
So then, Who am I?
- How am I an extension of community? A contributor to community?
- What does it mean to be you? Why is it important?
- Why did you decide to become a writer? I think this is an important question. I’m a fan of going back to my roots, the moment where something began, or the journey of becoming. What choices led you here? Where were you when it started? How old were you? Free-write for 5-10 minutes.
- Does why we write match what we are writing? Are our mission and action aligned?
- What are we saying with what we write? Is it what we want it to say?
- Take some time to write about the writer you want to be. Where do you see yourself in x-years? What impact would you like your writing to have?
- Using only questions explore a project you are working on. How does it reveal your personality, interests, and communities? Which truths resonate with your truths?
It comes down to a matter of purpose. To understand what it means to be human. To understand the self.
What changes have you noticed since starting this workshop?
Tape together ten sheets of computer paper. Using a blue marker, draw a river from one end of the paper to the other end. The beginning of the river is the start of your journey as a writer. The end of the river is where you hope to be in fifty years. Fill in the river with symbols of successes and challenges that make your journey distinct.
Spend a week being mindful of your writing energy. Allow yourself to go wherever the writing energy takes you—even if it doesn’t make sense.
Use a different prompt for each of your writing days:
- Monday—I am grateful for…
- Tuesday—I forgive you with all my heart…
- Wednesday—I’ve always wanted to share…
- Thursday—I am open to…
- Friday—I pray for…
- Saturday—I’ve wondered why love…
Write everything you know about love and ask everything you would like to learn about love.
This week is all about consolidating the course and your learning. It is a time for you to reflect on what you’ve learned and plan to continue to live each day creatively.
Choose a way to celebrate your finishing the course. Share your idea in the comment section. We’d love to celebrate virtually with you!
Design a plan for your writing future. Be specific. Paint the picture! Include the following milestones:
- 6 months
- 1 year
- 3 years
- 5 years
- 10 years
Scan through your notes from the workshop and back through some of the modules. What still has a sticky factor? What is going to stay with you from your work? What is your best next step?