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  1. I feel “squeezed into the same slots” every time I start writing, but probably because I force myself into a box. I’ve created templates for MLA and APA formats, and I keep them on my desktop to eliminate extra work for myself. However, I’ve found, from time to time, that these templates hinder my progress more than help it. I begin to feel stifled as a writer, only creating works for assignments or for what’s expected of me as an MA student. Still, sometimes I enjoy the limits. They allow me to flex my writerly muscles in a safe space, which I sometimes need and desire. Overall, I don’t feel standardized by this approach because sometimes taking this approach alleviates some of the pressures associated with writing—the perfection necessary regarding format, for example.

  2. Can I break the rule and project this into the future? I hope so. Here goes: I’m just about to open a letterhead template and write a formal letter that is a kind of testimonial, summing up a series of emails over many months. Blarg is how I feel about it. But. The constraints are also a luxury in that I can quickly grasp the scope appropriate to the task. Genre, that is, provides a sense of “same slotness” that can come as relief, too. Maybe?

  3. I feel particularly “squeezed into the same slots” when writing a resume. Looking for internships for the summer is frustrating, and although there are many wonderful resources and individuals on campus to help with resume writing, it’s a genre that continuously irritates me. The resume structure and format is set. Resume writing feels rule-bound, but also screams for individuality. The resume is also standardized because businesses often pass the resume through a computer generated test to sample the words within the resume and see if the words match the job posting. Because of all of these factors, I feel particularly confined in my resume writing. My life’s work literally becomes summed up into a page. In the truest sense, a resume flattens me, and it takes all of the unusual, interesting, and fascinating things about me and processes me into a page of information that an employer could toss into the trash.

  4. Yes! I was helping/tutoring one of my neighbor’s son for the SAT exam last spring. He read the prompts and began writing a 5-paragraph essay and as much as I insisted that he should compose something meaningful and try to have a voice in his writing, he got more and more puzzled and emphasized on the length of his paragraphs. After he left, I tried to write a five paragraph essay using the same topic and tried to stay focused on the length of each paragraph–I felt that I was squeezed too.I felt even though I successfully passed many standardized tests in my life, I can’t take it any more. I feel we can’t teach every one with one formula. We are individuals.

  5. Over the past two weeks, I’ve been going through the tedious process of condensing my four-page CV into a one-page resume. I’ve approached this task with more than a little resistance and resentment for several reasons. First, as Lauren mentioned, the resume genre (and CV genre, for that matter), is pretty standard. It’s frustrating because we want our resume to stand out among the others; yet, if it strays too far (and this threshold doesn’t seem to be too wide to begin with) from the expected genre conventions, we stand out in a really negative way.

    Another reason this writing activity has made me feel “squeezed into the same slots” is because I don’t want an industry job. I want a teaching job. Yet, knowing that it is more likely to get a full-time job outside of academia, I’ve set to consolidating my CV to a resume. In some ways, maybe this is a way of freeing me from the same slots since this potential job path invites me to break away from what my degree already sort of slots me into–teaching writing–to do something else with writing and communication. Yet, because I don’t want to break away from that path, the act of revising a CV into a resume feels entirely standardized because it doesn’t feel like me anymore, or the me who wants to be employed doing something I love, anyway.

  6. Applying for PhD programs gave me this feeling somewhat. The genres of the materials they ask for are all difficult to anticipate how to write one until it’s time to apply, but yet they’re conventions are still defined and have high expectations for how one participates in this genre. To write like this in a way that conveys you as a student meaningfully within these confines is difficult. I found myself shaping the me I presented within what the expectations and conventions of the genre allowed for.

  7. Not for myself recently, but today I subbed at a high school for a 9th and 10th grade English class. One of the posters in the class had a step-by-step process of the 5-paragraph essay. I know that many teachers teach essay writing that way because that’s the format expected on standardized tests, but it makes me cringe. The formulaic nature of it gives the false impression that ideas can and should be tied up in a neat little bow, and it stifles the wondrous ideas that may reveal themselves to the students if they weren’t tied to the format.

  8. When thinking of a recent time where I felt squeezed when it came to writing, I surprised myself because it was today. My friend is out of town currently and we’ve been keeping in touch by texting. A situation came up that I want to tell her about but it was rather too long to text. Here I am trying to find ways to condense this moment into a short message. I was squeezed by the natural of the genre. Does this mean I feel standardized? I’m not sure, is text messaging standardized?

  9. I kind of feel squeezed into a slot every time I write. Or at least I fear being squeezed every time. When I put words down, I do so within a pre-existing genre. Currently it is the “blog comment.” Sometimes it is the “email response.” Or “text message.” Well now that I think about it, I am not so worried about being squeezed in a text message. That may be because most of the time I text my wife, or other close family and friends. My mold has been set for these audiences and nothing short of drastic would change that. But in other situations where I am asked to write, the audience has yet to make decisions. So I feel squeezed. I think this is maybe a good thing. It may create etiquette and comfort. If I did not feel squeezed, would I make more fart jokes at inappropriate times? Maybe more fart jokes is what the world needs, but would I also vent frustrations more? Perhaps the changing nature of communication, moving from analog to digital, has lifted a “squeeze” that was needed to keep the conversation polite.

  10. As a high school teacher, I feel squeezed when writing with my students. As some of you mentioned earlier, some teachers are told that they have to model the five paragraph essay–it’s not always our choice to teach and write this way. Since I am one of those who are told to teach it, I model why I might use it (standardized tests) and discuss limitations as I walk them through it. We draft a different essay response to those prompts, but I still have to teach the kids that way, and I have a hard time writing an authentic response to show them how it might sound. In most assignments, I feel like I am squeezed in what kind of writing I can do with my students since everything centers on literary analysis. Different genres and purposes would be a welcome change.

  11. For many writers, “squeezing into slots” is just their jobs. As a freelancer, I meet the criterion sent to me by an employer. There is not a whole lot of wiggle room there. However, I have been able to initiate some dialogue between myself and a potential employer about working remotely. Many freelance copywriters work remotely, andI think that it is the worst idea ever. How is a writer supposed to be immersed and truly communicate the values of a company when they are cut off from its systems??? Anyways, that’s a personal thing. The point is, I have felt more squeezed out than squeezed in. I think it goes both ways.

  12. Lately I have felt “squeezed into the same slots” as I write my WRTG 121 assignment sheets. When I started teaching last semester, I was happy to squeeze into those slots, because I was nervous and unsure of my abilities as a teacher. I didn’t know how things would play out in the classroom, so I greatly appreciated that I could draw from the shared materials from the graduate assistants before me (particularly Natasha – she’s a wonderful support-system) to write my own classroom documents. These materials are excellent and have helped me find my way as a teacher. However, now I have started to find my own teaching style, and I feel like I need to squeeze out of these slots to find my own way of writing for the classes I teach. I’m still not quite how to do this, but I hope to experiment with different writing and design techniques over the summer.

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