My name is Kaesey Stobaugh and as I'm sure anyone who reads this has already noticed, I'm a writer who loves to write. Years of novel and story writing led me to a dream. A dream of being published one day. A dream that has yet to come true. A month ago, while I was still waiting and working for my chance at becoming a bestseller, I found a program that changed my writing forever.
My sister actually suggested MoviepilotU to me. After stumbling upon an ad on her Facebook for a 6-week writing program, perfect for young writings looking to advance their skills, she decided it was perfect for me. I'd heard of Moviepilot before, of course. It was the entertainment site for which I received a good chunk of my movie news. MoviepilotU, however, was a complete mystery to me, one for which I had serious doubts about and quickly turned away from.
After some convincing, my sister ended up talking me into applying for the course. I had a week before entries closed, and as it turned out, I had to have already written at least two articles for Moviepilot to qualify for MoviepilotU. Well, I wasn't one to turn down a challenge, so I got to work.
I created an account, wrote two articles, and received an email from the MP team that I was accepted into the program! I was thrilled, excited, and terrified. Up until then, I could barely stand to let my own family read my writing, much less a whole social network. I stayed terrified until the program started, which brings us to Week 1:
Okay, week 1 was a piece of cake. Actually, the two articles I wrote in one week at the very beginning, that was a piece of cake. Because now I'm writing four articles a week, and ideas seemed scarce. I was optimistic though, and after meeting Julian, my Staff Mentor, I was also motivated. I was introduced to a whole new world of writing, for I'd never written an article until MPU. Not only that, I was also introduced to dozens of other writers taking part in the program. It was encouraging to see other people from all over the globe working down the same road as I was, and something that became quit clear was that we all had one goal in sight: becoming a better writer.
Four articles later, and I'd finished my first week of MPU. That was a victorious feeling. Little did I know, each finished week would continue to feel like a new milestone in my life. Anyone who ever thought writing four articles a week would be easy clearly never participated in MPU.
Week 1 articles:
1 - Did Henry Bring Will Turner Back For Pirates of The Caribbean 5? (featured on Moviepilot Superheroes)
4 - Unpublished piece
Week 2 started and I was pumped and ready to roll! You see, I set a routine for myself at the beginning of Week 1. I wrote one article a day from Monday to Thursday, and because all four of MPU student's articles had to be submitted to their mentors before Sunday night, that gave me a whole weekend to relax, refresh, and brainstorm for the next week. By the time Monday hit and a new video lesson was put up, I was itching to dive into a new article! That strategy worked for me throughout the entire course.
Week 2 was fantastic! I wrote some of my very favorite pieces in Week 2. I also really started to click with my mentor. At first, I was hesitant to bug him with my questions, thoughts, or concerns during Week 1. I knew he had a lot of other writers he was reading from and helping through the course, and I'm not embarrassed to admit that that intimidated me. I'd read some of his own MP articles before the program started, just to get a sense of his own style and skill, and needless to say, was blown away by his writing. Because of that, I didn't really want to voice myself the way I needed to. However, he was always quick to reach out to me, encourage me, praise me, and uplift me on my writing. He really motivated me during Week 2 and very soon I was not only comfortable letting him read my work, but excited about it too! This was a very good thing, because from here on out, MPU was a rocky journey with many ups and downs.
Week 2 articles:
3 - 5 Things All Teen Dystopia Movies Have In Common That Will Blow Your Mind (this was my very favorite article I wrote for MPU)
4 - Unpublished piece
Oh, Week 3, why were you the worst? Week 3 was a struggle and constant headache. My ideas did not flow freely that week. While I think all four of my articles turned out pretty great, they were a challenge to put together. I was getting tired, and I knew I still had a long way to go. I was only halfway through, after all. But honestly, I think the real reason Week 3 kicked my butt was because one of my articles back fired on me. I received my first dose of hate that week.
I'll say this, I'd never really gotten any kind of negative feedback on my writing before. While all the comments I got were utterly ridiculous, I'm not gonna lie, they were frustrating. I laughed them off though. I took the blows with a smile on my face. I let the comments encourage me, build me up instead of knocking me down. It took a lot of support from my family, friends, and my mentor, but I came to realize that provoking any kind of emotion in my writing is a good thing. Besides, the article I wrote was completely for fun! I suppose it's better to receive hate on a piece that's silly and doesn't really matter and learn how to deal with it then. Now, when I write something and decide to put it out there for the world to see, something that's personal and meaningful to me, something I'm sincerely passionate about, when the hate comes, I'll know how to take it.
Yeah, all the credit for that lesson goes to my mom.
Week 3 articles:
1 - 6 Movie Score Soundtracks That Will Help Spark Your Creativity (I think this may have been my mentor's favorite article from me)
2 - The Descent From Teen Heartthrob: What Happened To Taylor Lautner? (the hated article)
4 - The True Story That Inspired Disney Pixar's "Up" Will Change The Way You Watch The Movie Forever (featured on Moviepilot Vampires)
Week 4 was my very favorite week. It was definitely refreshing after coming out of such an intense week. All my ideas were great, I thought, and the writing that came out of them was even better. I was able to pay my respects to one of my favorite book authors who passed away that week, I put together my first quiz which was a lot more work than I was expecting but turned out to be really fun in the end, and I found the chance to voice my inner fangirl on a matter that's been pestering me for years. Really and truly, geeking out about your favorite subjects was the whole point of MPU, right? You know, that and learning the ins and outs of digital writing.
Week 4 articles:
2 - Which Teen Hero/Heroine Are You? (quiz)
Okay, so Week 5 is when I started to scramble for ideas. While I was definitely more confident and secure in myself than ever before, I felt as though I already used up all my good ideas and now I was just scraping at the bottom of the bucket. Not really true, because in the end, all my articles turned out alright, but you know how it is. In addition to my fried brain dilemma, the Moviepilot website was in the process of switching over to Creators.co, which left me with only one format to use. Standard post. Nothing I can't work with, but it did limit me and many other MPU students, so that was a little annoying. However, Creators turned out to be pretty epic, so I don't really have many complaints there.
Back to the original problem of Week 5; not only was I searching for ideas that weren't lists (because we MPU writers decided somewhere in Week 2 that lists were lame and a last resort), but the reality that MPU was actually coming to a close was setting in. So, not only did I feel as though I was running out of ideas, I felt as though I needed to come up with really good ideas! Because I only had eight articles left in total to write, I had to make them count. So, I opted for addressing the haters, sharing my theories on one of my favorite series, fangirling over a new, exciting trailer, and delivering some much deserved disapproval.
Week 5 articles:
2 - The Maze Runner: The Death Cure - Should We Be Prepared For Another Complete Plot Change? (featured on Moviepilot Vampires)
4 - 4 Times DreamWorks Killed A Good Movie (unpublished but coming soon)
And finally, coming to my very last week with MPU, Week 6 was a dream. It wasn't stressful or overwhelming like previous weeks. It was surreal, actually. MPU turned into a daily norm for me. My family would tell me that it had taken over my life, and in a lot of ways, they were right. For a month straight it was the first thing I thought about when I woke up and the last thing when I fell asleep. Writing, editing, submitting, editing some more, writing some more, publishing, reading feedback, more writing, more editing, that was my brain for 6 weeks straight and it was a blast!
As for my final four articles, I kept it very close to home for me. I babbled about Disney (because I love it so much), I exercised my frustration for my favorite TV show, and I wrote about a love story fit for Hollywood that happened in real life.
Week 6 articles:
What I achieved from MPU
Before MoviepilotU, I was a homeschool girl who loved to write but was afraid to write. MPU not only made my writing stronger, but it also made me more confident in myself and my abilities. I was forced to step way out of my comfort zone in order to complete this program. I had to hand my work over to someone else in order to get constructive criticism, and that's never easy. I had to release it for the whole world to see. I had to work harder than I ever had before on nothing but writing, writing, and more writing. And you know what happened? I got better. I got better, and it got easier. It became less nail-biting to send my work over to my mentor, publish it and read comments, and voice my opinions on subjects in a way only I could. It made me value my writing, because value was being put into it. In 6 weeks, I accomplished something that seemed impossible before, and I never felt more proud of myself than I was when I submitted my final article to my mentor. I smiled, and I laughed out loud. It was a moment that I'll be able to hold onto for the rest of my career in writing.
What I learned from MPU
In 6 weeks, I learned more about writing than I have the five years I've been writing. You know how you sit in school every single day and feel like you've been there your entire life and have learned absolutely nothing? With MPU, my writing was improving literally overnight! My articles got better each week. Sometimes, I thought my articles were getting better each article. The amount of information I was soaking up every day throughout the month of February in 2016 was insane! I learned so much.
Each week focused on a new topic, a new skill to work with when writing online. I learned about sourcing, headlining, formatting, plagiarism, and structuring, among other things. In addition to the incredibly helpful video lessons, I learned so much from my mentor on the correct way to put an article together perfectly. I learned from reading other MPU student's work, which like mine, seemed to keep getting better as the program went on. By the end of MPU, when the mentors and Moviepilot team said we had graduated, it felt just like that, like we had journeyed through this great adventure and now all our hard work had finally paid off! We reached our destination.
What I advise for future MPU students
MPU is a challenge. It is in no way easy. It's stressful, and hardcore, and it's going to push you everyday until you finish. It's not something you can do alone, and it's not something you can finish in a week. Take your time, but use your time wisely. Work it in with your schedule, because it's not really something you can do in your spare time. Persevere when the going gets tough. Read other MPU articles from the people working in the program with you. They're not competition, they're your motivation, and for the next 6 weeks, they're your classmates. You're all in this together!
Talk to your mentor. Ask questions and listen to the answers. Seek out advice and use it. Voice your concerns, setbacks, struggles, and problems. They're there to help you. And judging from my experience, all five of them are going to be downright fabulous! Absolute superheroes! You shouldn't have any problems connecting and communicating with them, so don't be shy, because for the next 6 weeks, your Staff Mentor is your new best friend.
All that being said, MoviepilotU was a tornado of emotions and stress, but it was also a truck load of fun! Watching a piece you wrote get the credibility it deserves is the very best feeling. You're going to celebrate every time your article's views surpass another thousand reads and suddenly, the blood, sweat, and tears you put into it that stressful night is going to have been worth every moment's headache. MPU is worth it. It's worth every hour put in. You're going to meet some remarkable people with remarkable writing, find strength inside you didn't know you had, and most of all, you're going to become a better writer in just 6 weeks.