Like all of us, I’ve been doing a lot of writing this semester. But beyond actual writing, we’ve been writing about writing, thinking about writing, brainstorming about writing, editing my writing, reading others’ writing, repurposing and remediating writing…you name it, if it has to do with writing, we’ve done it. When I think about the work we’ve done this semester, it seems overwhelming, but I think I have grown significantly as a writer over the past few months.
First of all, practice helps. I have never written so much for a class like I do for the Minor Gateway. The casual, collaborative and comfortable environment also helps. I write what I can, but I have good and bad days. When I look back at some of my précis, QuickFires or blog posts I am concerned about what state of mind I was in at 11:30 am on that Tuesday or Thursday, because it clearly wasn’t one of a writer. Or of myself as a writer. But does that really matter? I think my newfound ability to sit down and write extensively about nothing much has come from the practice we’ve done in class.
So when I’m not writing for the Gateway class, I am working on argumentative papers for my English class. The classroom environment I am in on Mondays and Wednesdays is completely opposite of our Gateway class. It’s almost like I have to flip a switch, and I am much less comfortable with my own writing. No matter how hard I work for that class, I am not as happy as I am with my pieces for the Minor. Peer reviews in a stagnant class environment are dry and ineffective. The juxtaposition of these two classes has demonstrated to me how important it is to foster innovation, open-mindedness and collaboration in a work environment, especially one for something as intimate and sensitive as writing. Endless props go to Shelley for this.
My most recent writing debacle for my English class is a twelve-page research paper that fills a gap in current literature using primary research. Other than the typical high school research papers that seem to be required every year, I have never conducted my own primary research and written a paper like this. I’m writing about corporate social responsibility and consumer perception of companies based on their CSR initiatives, and I’m having trouble creating a survey that will elicit unbiased consumer perception responses. I’ve been told not to use a single transition word in my paper that starts with “A”… additionally, and, another, also etc. not allowed! Needless to say, it is harder than it sounds. The articles we have been reading in class on style for academic writing apply directly to my paper, and it has been interesting applying these strategies to my first true “academic” writing piece. I’m interested to see how you all think what we have learned in this class about writing has applied to your writing for specific fields or other classes. Have you been able to translate the creative and open environment fostered in the classroom to your own writing?
I know I’m still working on it.