Thanksgiving Daze…

Because I was literally in a Thanksgiving Daze and completely forgot to blog about the “How I Write” event before break, I am taking the time to reflect on it now. Better late than never, huh? Thomas Hager spoke in depth about a number of interesting things having to do with his personal writing process. The most important thing i gathered from his presentation is that science is not boring! He talked a lot about wanting to “be read” but also writing about things that you want to write about. Because of his expertise and interest in the scientific field, he is able to do both. In his speech, he highlighted the importance of research. He described some anecdotes about where his research took him. In attempts to find out more about one historical event, Hager traveled all the way to South America just to feel the soil that was a part of this event. As he said “It may have only been one sentence in my book, but the research was definitely worth it.” However, he also advised audience members that there is a time and a place to STOP research and get to writing. This relates perfectly to the redmediation project we are all working on now. Since my original research paper written two years ago, there are millions of articles, interviews, and video clips about adderall that I can use for my project. Each time I set out to search the internet, I am finding myself pulled in various directions and not really knowing when enough is enough with my research. Although I can learn some really interesting things from my research, i need to keep in mind that my final product is my main concern. At this point, I have definitely done enough research…it’s just figuring out what to do with all of this research!

Mediating and RE-Mediating and RE-Mediating…

This re-mediating project has definitely taken a toll on me. My original thought was to make a Prezi. What better way to share facts about adderall with students to try to convince them that it is not a casual study buddy like they may think it is? However, the major issues I am coming up with are that A) Prezi is pretty sensitive (and confusing) and B) I want it to be EXCITING and ATTENTION GRABBING! Is Prezi capable of doing that??

A) When I say Prezi is sensitive, you probably don’t know what I mean unless you’ve played with it yourself. If you want to add something in, change a path, or move any shape or symbol, there is one specific way to do it. The shapes or symbols move very very easily, which makes it difficult when you are just trying to move things around or mess with the layout a little bit. Your entire base could be messed up just by a quick tap on your trackpad.

B) I would love to add in video clips and photos and interesting facts. For the facts, Prezi is absolutely the way to go. However, for the MEDIA (video clips for the most part), It would probably be MORE exciting and attention grabbing in the form of an I-movie. However, when I finish messing around with Prezi, I know I will be able to get it to where I want it.

Lastly, I think it would be extremely cool if I were actually able to show this Prezi to students, and it could hopefully have the real affect I was hoping it would have on Michigan Students. Once my final draft is done, I need to figure out who to talk to about possible getting my Prezi shown on those TVs in the UGLI. Does anybody know who I could talk to about that?

So, as my title says, I have been re-mediating and re-mediating again and again. It is definitely a difficult process, but I know the end result will make it worth it! More importantly, I can’t wait to see what everyone else has been working on!!

How She Writes

Last night, as Sheila Murphy spoke about How she writes, I took the time to think about my own process of writing and how it differs from other writers. Many of the things she mentioned were very interesting, one being the importance of getting to know yourself as a writer. She discussed how she was able to finally “sit herself down” and start writing when she learned the best time for her to write (early morning, mid-day, late night) and made a personal space that was her own. Although these writing techniques do not directly apply to writing as a college student, they are still things to consider when writing any kind of piece at all. Even while working on my Re-Purposing Project, I like to work in the middle of the day and in my own personal space.

Another interesting aspect of her speech was when she spoke about audience. As Sheila said, “How great would it be to write something that my grandfather or father would enjoy,” and not just because I am their daughter or granddaughter. Although it is important to pick a specific audience in your writing, it would always be nice to write to a wide audience so that a wider variety of people can enjoy your work. Sheila also talked about writing something that you are passionate about. She talked about her experiences in undergrad where she started on an art history path and continued to take more interesting classes as her interests grew. She also said that there is no way she would have made it through the nine-year process of writing a book if it was not about something she is passionate about. This inspired me to make sure everything I write is about something that I am passionate about and something that I want to learn more about.

Tis the Season…

As midterm season is coming to a close,  I am spending the night preparing for my last midterm in Linguistics 440. Reading the prompt for this week’s blog post while studying for my final midterm exam, only one thing related to writing crossed my mind. That, of course, was study guides. Ever since I started studying, I have been obsessed with making organized, detailed, and perfect study guides. I am that girl who mistakenly sent her AP Government study guide to too many “friends” and saw it in the hands of complete strangers on the day of the test. Obviously, times have changed since high school, but my love for creating study guides will never end (until i’m done with school and have no more tests to study for…)

Things I love about study guides: They keep all the information you need together in one place. They do not need to be complete words, sentences, or paragraphs, but they somehow illustrate your complete ideas. They are only completely understood by you, which helps you to retain the information. Last but not least, they are completely organized in your own way.

Weirdly enough, my love for study guides directly correlates to my love of writing. Study guides help me learn all the information through writing! And with that, I’m off to re-read my study guide until I fall asleep reciting the stages of language acquisition.


Writer vs. Blogger

Due to my late registration for this course, I was unable to discuss or blog about Andrew Sullivan’s piece “Why I Blog.” I read through the piece once, but it is certainly not the same without discussion – as Sullivan would call it, writing out loud. Luckily, I have the opportunity now to re-read and apply my thoughts of this piece to my thoughts about blogging and writing, specifically the blogging and writing I have been doing Writing 220.

“A reporter can wait—must wait—until every source has confirmed. A novelist can spend months or years before committing words to the world. For bloggers, the deadline is always now. Blogging is therefore to writing what extreme sports are to athletics: more free-form, more accident-prone, less formal, more alive. It is, in many ways, writing out loud.” This clever quote from “Why I Blog” created, in my opinion, a strong contrast between a writer and a blogger. This contrast allowed me to think of myself as a writer vs. myself as a blogger. The differences go on forever, even in terms of something that seems trivial in writing, like motivation. When I sit down to write a paper, I need to have sources, facts, quotes – all confirmed of course. Of course, I love writing..but I am at times completely unmotivated to do it. With blogging, however, I am already excited to write my blog for next week! I am excited to read my classmates’ blog posts, and I am excited to comment on them. I love Sullivan’s line “For bloggers, the deadline is always now.” Blogging is completely my voice right here and right now. My writing is in my voice as well, but with an academic filter. With blogging, ont the other hand, I feel that I am able to open up completely and just type what first comes to my head.

In a way, I feel that blogging directly relates to writing a shitty first draft. Because this is re-purposing rather than writing a paper from scratch, it is almost as if the shitty first draft is in front of me and ready for me to completely cut up and re-purpose. For this project, I am going to try to put my natural, free voice into my argumentative essay turned Michigan Daily news article. I have never written a formal news article before, so I will mess around with the wording and structure before finding what sticks. This is a great opportunity for me to try to show my voice through in a way very different from how I normally write.

The POW!er of Words

          The past week of my life has involved a lot of messing around with wordpress. My first blog post this week had to do with the appearance of my E-portfolio and the importance of the theme, layout, and media selection. While further browsing the website and its various setup options, I was reminded of the importance (and power) of words and of language as a whole. This brought me back to thinking about my love of writing. As a linguistic major, I am extremely interested in language and its effects on situations, relationships, and even emotions. It really is crazy to consider that one single utterance can completely turn around a situation, a relationship, or an emotion.

       Thinking about the power of words made me think about the titles, the headings, and the captions of the E-portfolio. Those are a few things that often can be forgotten about, but are extremely important to the way that you are viewed as a writer!

          I was recently invited to join a WordPress blog for my abroad program to Buenos Aires, Argentina. This was perfect timing, as I was exploring the website itself, and exploring this new blog at the very same time. It allowed me to look around as a reader rather than a writer and think of how I truly want my E-Portfolio to be viewed. The title of this blog was “What’s Next Buenos Aires Spring 2013.” Although this title does describe the purpose of the blog – to help us organize the process of going abroad – it is not a title to draw me in as a reader. Directly under the title is a picture of three pie-type dishes, one looking like spinach, the others like cheese. I’m sure this has something to do with Argentina, probably a typical dish of some sort, however, that certainly does not go with the words! I would rather see a beautiful picture of the city of Buenos Aires. Lastly, the headings of this blog (which we learned are folders) are very straightforward and organized. A few of them are: Academics, Heath and Safety, Requirements and Deadlines. These terms are extremely powerful in that there is no confusion while going through them. If I have a question, I know exactly where to look.

        I was lucky to have the opportunity to get some thoughts and ideas from this additional blog. I would definitely recommend finding some interesting blogs and looking around as a reader before its too late.

Do Judge a Blog by its Cover

Reading through the E-Portfolio Prompt, the main thing that stuck out to me as important was the appearance of the blog. This brought me to thinking about the infamous saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” referring to the idea that it’s what’s inside that really counts and that you don’t know what’s inside just by looking at the outside. However, in this case, you definitely DO judge a blog by its cover, which would be the cover page. The blog would be the outside, making the actual pieces of the portfolio (any essays, pieces of writing, or blog posts) the inside.

As Shelley mentioned in class, we want to really think about the layout and appearance of our E-portfolios. Just because wordpress gives us the option to make it pink and sparkley does not mean we should do so. The appearance of our E-portfolio, or the book cover, will in a way, define us as writers. If we chose to use the pink sparkley design on our wordpress portfolio, our writing will not be taken seriously. However, at the same time, I also want to make sure I do not make my design too minimalistic and appear “boring”or as “just a writer,” which would take away from my personality. Instead, I will settle for something in between pink and sparkley and blank and boring.

What Reading Experience do you want your audience to have?

-I would like my readers to be entertained, but at the same time, see the professional side of my writing and of me. The entertainment aspect will allow me to add in some appropriate, CAREFULLY selected media (possibly a few video clips, only if they directly pertain to my topic). In terms of the professional display, I would really like my E-portfolio to be completely organized and easy to navigate.

I just need to find that happy medium!

Authority: the power to determine, and the right to control

As I first sat down to read “Reading and Writing Without Authority,” I considered the possible meanings behind the title. What does this even mean? I thought about my own ways of reading and writing. Do I read and write without authority?!

As I read, I realized what exactly this reading/writing authority was referring to. While comparing two very different writing styles, the authors pointed out the major differences between the two. The more unexperienced writer was used as an example of writing without authority. Janet, the undergraduate freshman, assumed everything she read as a fact, making her research paper into a summary of many different opinions combined together. “Claims and proposals in the readings often became “facts” in Janet’s notes” (510.) I was once taught to never assume because it makes an ass out of u and me. This warning can also be applied to reading and writing! “In ignoring both the original and current rhetorical contexts, Janet created a series of unauthored and undisputed facts” (510.) In assuming, Janet made claims that not only were missing her voice, but were also untrue. The authors describe ways to write with authority by reading articles as different voices of a conversation, and actually inserting yourself in that conversation by offering opinions, disagreeing with authors, and comparing the opinions of multiple authors.

Reading this piece really got me thinking about my own writing. Do I read and write without authority? Unfortunately, sometimes, I do! Sharing my opinion is something I certainly do not have a problem with. However, it is sometimes hard for me to integrate my opinion into my writing. With the Re-Purposing writing assignment, this is definitely as aspect of writing that I will be paying attention to. While researching and reading, I will think of things not as facts but as claims that need evaluating. Immediately upon reading, I will formulate my own opinion, and finally, find the best way to integrate everything into my writing.

The Question You Never Want to be Asked…

Preparing for an interview or even a class session, the one question you never want to be asked is “why.” Shouldn’t you be able to express your love of philanthropic organizations or your interest in a certain passage of narration without explaining WHY? The answer, of course, is no. The question words were introduced into human language for the sole purpose of expanding, explaining and clarifying. That big question mark at the end of the word is meant to push your thinking even further and maybe get you to consider the question in a completely new light. In this case, rather than considering the question I would not want to be asked, I am forced to ask myself WHY I write.

As I started to consider what writing means to me, the first thing that comes to mind is my love for language. While speaking is considerably the most effective way to communicate, many would agree that everything sounds better in writing. After thinking long and hard, I came to terms with the fact that I write to make everything sound better – which is exactly why I have spent time perfecting the wording of this short blog post rather than writing the bulk of my “Why Do I Write?” essay. Describing my fear of the term why? sounds better than expressing my difficulty in writing this essay.

With that, I’m off to write. Good Luck Everybody. And Go Blue!