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Z is Zagnuts – The candy nobody wants.

Do they even make Zagnuts anymore? All I know is that when we trick or treated as kids, my brother and I hated to see people drop those red-and-yellow wrapped candy bars in our bags.

Zagnuts was the one candy you hoped you got in the miniature size.

A lot of the writing in college-a lot of the writing you'll do for the rest of your life-is like handing out Zagnuts. Writing up a research lab that, for the past 35 years, every student in Biology 101 has performed in exactly the same way and received exactly the same results on. Or writing detailed office memos on byzantine office procedures no one wants to follow, let alone read about.

When we're students we always think we're the ones holding open the candy bags, hoping for the good stuff and groaning when we get the boring crap.

But as writers we're actually, always the adult at the door, facing a crowd and handing out whatever we've got in the bowl.

There's nothing to be done about it. Except-you know the adults who wore scary rubber masks and put fake cobwebs in the bushes? They were pretty cool, no matter what kind of candy they gave us.

Find your voice as a writer; keep your sense of coolness about you as a person. It'll come through in the end, even when you maintain the scholarly or clinical or bureaucratic tone that's expected from you. I don't know why that's true, but I promise you it is.

You'll still be dropping Zagnuts in their bags, but somehow the kids won't mind so much.