Can’t Stop Thinking About Writing

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.

2 thoughts to “Can’t Stop Thinking About Writing”

  1. First off, I have to contribute to your props to Shelley: the atmosphere in her classroom makes writing seem to be the most comfortable activity in the entire world. Even when it might be uncomfortable to start out with, the way Shelley guides us in talking, reading, and writing about writing eliminates the discomfort.

    It’s such a bummer to hear that you’re having a hard time applying all of the awesome strategies about academic writing that we’re learning to your own writing. As an engineer I don’t do much writing anyways, so all of my developmental focus is centered on the Minor coursework. One way you might think about including a more relatable aspect in your paper could be to quote some of your survey results. Of the strategies we’ve learned, which ones are you most interested in including in your research paper?

  2. Couldn’t agree more with what you’ve mentioned in your post, and you really nailed it with the type of atmosphere that Shelley has created, especially when compared to the environments that are the norm in so many other academically focused writing classes.

    Had to laugh a little when you mentioned the difference between your research paper and the writing for this class, because that’s been one of my biggest takeaways from this class. I’ve been able to really develop a more conversational tone with my writing, and I think a lot of that has to do with the difference in environments that has been created in the class. Good luck with the paper, as someone that has written plenty of those kinds, however, never with anything quite like the requirements of no transitional ‘a’ words, it can be just as enjoyable as frustrating experience. Thanks for your post!

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