July is the month we say goodbye to writers who are retiring or moving on to new adventures, and this is Kayleigh’s last post. She has been writing with us since August 2020.
Are you a post calvin contributor who wants to improve your monthly writing process? Are you curious what it’s like to be a writer for the post calvin? Are you an aspiring writer in search of any practical tips you can get? You’re in luck! Below is a foolproof, ten-step guide detailing what it takes to craft a great piece for the post calvin.*
The first step in this process has to happen at the end of the previous cycle. Start by breathing a sigh of relief as you click “Send” and submit your piece for that current month. Hopefully you managed to do so by 12 p.m. Eastern time. If not, immediately offer a prayer of forgiveness.
Let approximately two weeks pass. Go about your daily life. Immerse yourself in the mundane. This will ensure you’re well equipped to tackle step 3.
This next step involves a sudden, dawning realization. The moment of awareness should occur during a Tuesday morning Zoom meeting with your boss, while you are reclined in the chair at the dentist office, or in the midst of cleaning the toilet. At any of these extremely opportune moments, you should suddenly remember that you need to write a piece for the post calvin.
After the dawning realization occurs, it’s time to vaguely start searching for inspiration. At this point you have roughly two weeks until your deadline. Remember those old thoughts stowed in your Notes app? It’s their time to shine. If inspiration strikes, so be it, but if not, perfect—you’re right on track!
Let another week pass. Convince yourself that you’re still in a vague state of brainstorming. Maybe jot down a few haphazard sentences on a Post-It note and hold on to the hope that they’ll magically morph into a coherent essay.
At this point, if you’ve been following each of the steps within the correct time frame, you should be one week out from your deadline. Feel a sense of panic setting in? Excellent. Rest assured that you’re still following these directions properly. Now is the time to set a daily reminder in your phone and make sure your schedule is clear for the coming evenings.
Begin writing your post approximately two days before your deadline. This should be fairly simple and not at all challenging. After all, you should be well equipped with approximately five Post-It note sentences and some existential dread. Let the blinking cursor be your guide, and feel free to reward yourself with a ten-minute break for every five minutes of work at this point in the process. Consider yourself an overachiever if you’re done writing before 1 a.m. the night/morning of your deadline day.
At 11:30 a.m. on the day of your deadline, spend the next 29 minutes self-editing. Rewrite the ending of your post no less than three times. Don’t think twice about overusing em-dashes. Oh, and don’t forget to send a photo.
Voila! Your post should now be ready to submit. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done. You totally earned it. Totally. Without a doubt.
Repeat steps 1–9.
*Warning: Completion of this process on a recurring monthly basis may be ill-advised; this process has not been reviewed or endorsed by the post calvin editorial board. The term “foolproof” may or may not be referenced in an ironic or sarcastic manner—it is up to the reader to use discernment when determining the actual nature of these guidelines. Side effects of this process over time may include stress, worry, lack of sleep, and imposter syndrome. Anxious internal monologues like Rapunzel’s emotional rollercoaster in Tangled upon leaving the castle have been known to occur (i.e., “I can’t believe I did this. I can’t believe I did this!”). It is not recommended that this process be used consistently in conjunction with a busy schedule or in the midst of any significant life events, such as changing careers, planning a wedding, getting married, and moving in a one-year period. Such a combination may detract from the joy of writing and necessitate a break from this platform despite an overall sense of enjoyment in being a part of this community for the last three years.
Kayleigh (Fongers) Van Wyk (’18) graduated with a degree in writing and resides in West Michigan. She works as a reporter for the Grand Rapids Business Journal and Grand Rapids Magazine while also making time for freelance writing. When she’s not behind a screen, she enjoys going for walks, eating ice cream, and buying more books than she’ll ever read.