Personal Project Spotlight: The Art of Noveling

If all goes well, for the next few months, I will be covering the Personal Project experiences of the current G11s and asking them for their stories and advice. G10s and G9s, this might be especially useful for you. 🙂 

Naturally, I’ll start with my own.
PROJECT: Novel Writing
MY GOAL: Write a 75,000 word original fantasy novel.

My supervisor, Mr. Chris, described my project in three words: Creative, ambitious and foolhardyScreen Shot 2015-09-26 at 11.22.09 PM. My teachers and most of my classmates called me insane. Writing a novel for a Personal Project? It can’t be done.

And as the deadline neared, I feared that they were right. I did not reach my goal by the time the product was due. I simply submitted what I had done at the time and used it for my evaluation.

“You did your best. It’s okay. It was impossible, anyway.”

For a few months, while I simultaneously dwelled on my failure and worked on my essay, I actually believed those words. Then I remembered the Personal Project Exhibition. If I didn’t finish my book, what was I going to show the school? Okay, so maybe I didn’t finish a book in time for the product deadline. No one told me I couldn’t finish it for the exhibition.

And that’s what I decided to do, despite people around me telling me it was still impossible, and to make things worse, it was now pointless. There wasn’t a grade involved anymore. But by now, my project had become much more important than a grade on my report card.

I grew sick of people calling my endeavors impossible. And if I didn’t do something to prove them wrong, they would continue to call such goals unattainable. So I kicked myself into high gear and within April and May, I finished my book, Soulstrings. Did I reach my goal in the end?

I look like I need to sleep for 300 years. Or until DP, whichever came first.
I look like I need to sleep for 300 years. Or until DP, whichever came first.

Nope. I surpassed it. Soulstrings stands at 105,000 words. It wasn’t perfect, but the mere act of finishing a novel was enough for an aspiring writer like me. Mr. Chris congratulated me on the completion, saying I did well and showcased “incredible resilience and procrastination”.

And granted, the Personal Project Exhibition, where I finally got to showcase my hard work, was one of the best days of my life. My stubbornness finally paid off.

So here’s my advice: Pick the project that’s best for you.

By this, I don’t mean pick the easiest project. Or the project that your parents want you to do. Pick the project you’re passionate about, that you know you can spend nine months on without loathing it to the bone. It was my hobby that drove me to write, and it was my passion that helped me reach the goal.

This is the Personal Project. Make it personal.

As a bonus, Mr. Chris said his Personal Project would be to stage a variety show.

Personal Project Tip(s) from Mr. Chris:

  • The goal must be attainable. By the student’s definition of “attainable”, that is.
  • Know the ATL backwards.

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