Preparing a Written Event
My name is Jessica Tormey and I'm addicted to written events.
Well, addicted might be too strong a word, but I really do enjoy preparing written events! For me, a written event means a combination of learning everything I can about my project and having control over the quality of work I take to competition.
When it comes to finding an event, it is sometimes easier to pick what you want to do and then find the event category that it best falls in to. I have competed in Advertising Campaign, Entrepreneurship, and Business Research. Each time I have found something that I was passionate about and fit it into an event category.
After you figure out what event you will be competing in, you should print the guidelines from the DECA website. These guidelines are important because they explain to you exactly what the judges will be looking for. In my experience, following the guidelines is one of the quickest ways to bring your project out in front from the rest of the competition.
The next step is to make a list of things you will need to complete in order to finish the project. Will you need to meet with a ‘mentor?’ Will you need to find research about this item? As you work on your project, you will find that this list will grow and can push you in directions you would have never imagined. Consider downloading Evernote, an Apple and Android application that allows users to take notes on their phone and sync them with the web application. I found this app extremely helpful when an idea would come to me at completely random times– I could just pull out my phone, jot down a note, and ensure it wouldn’t slip my mind!
When you start the physical process of writing your paper, be sure to keep multiple copies. I’ve used Google Docs and Dropbox to make sure I have continual access to the most updated version of my written event. Google Docs and Dropbox are cloud-computing tools that allow users to access their files wherever they have an Internet connection. Dropbox takes it one step further and allows for users to download a folder on their computer that updates instantly.
Be sure to let others read and edit your paper throughout the entire writing process. Sometimes your writing may seem perfectly clear to you, but to an outsider it could make zero sense. I have also found it helpful to read my paper aloud to helps me catch any grammar or word choice errors that my mind could skip over.
When you think you are completely done and ready to start your presentation, give your paper to a professor and have them complete the Entry Checklist and Evaluation Forms. This will help you determine if you have missed anything important.
My biggest piece of advice to keep in mind is to just have fun! This is a great opportunity to learn about yourself and a new topic. Completing a written event really does prepare you for future assignments in college. After having done written events for five years, I feel confident and calm when receiving any type of writing assignment and that is a skill you can never take for granted.
Follow Jessica on Twitter @jessicaDECAVP.