Capstone Challenge Journal 2

The writing games have begun. My project is two-fold in that there is a personal storytelling component and an analytical narrative component. Originally starting this project I figured the analytical narrative would be the easiest to write as it is the most interesting aspect of this to me, however, in me experience thus far it has been quite the opposite. While the personal storytelling has been hard to think back on, it has been easy to write about. Whereas, when it comes to the analytical component, I find myself more stuck. I believe this roadblock is because reflecting on these experiences analytically will make my feelings about them more real, which can be tough to deal with when they are emotions I oftentimes try to forget about. All in all, I do think this will be a therapeutic experience for me when everything is all done and I look back on it.

On a dryer note, I have created my website. I say dryer because I am not a very creative person. I find the content producing aspect of this to be the easiest while I wish the website would have just made itself. After 4 hours of obsessing over what would be the perfect design for this project, I think I am pretty happy with where everything landed. It is coming together nice with complementary colors working in my favor and the flow of where the content will live seems to be productive for the reader. 

As I continue on this journey, I know I will face more challenges, however, I am excited to tackle this current challenge of analytical reflection in the coming weeks.


Personal Paradox

So, for this week we were asked to discuss competing thoughts which were at least partially contradictory as far as our evolution as a writer. These thoughts manifest in the evolution essay and are something that we must grapple with to create a solid, meaningful essay. I have two that go hand in hand.

Revision is important vs. I’m good enough to not revise.

It is a self identified fact that my biggest writing flaw is a lack of revision. I don’t go over my work nearly enough. Because of this I end up with dumb mistakes and shallow messages. Sure I can make this mess pretty, and someone might not realize that I didn’t put extra thought into the piece…but writers know. I know when I look at the piece again. My teachers know when they grade. I’ve gotten a lot of messages that are summed up as: this is good work, but needs more revision to connect and string through theme, or where exactly are you going here, and this is close to potential, but needs more thought. I always seem to come up a little short because I won’t go back and do the necessary re-writes and edits and final polishing and teasing out of a central theme and bringing that theme out through an entire project. I guess I am a lazy writer sometimes. I think I am also a bit vain at times. I do actually feel as if I’ve written a perfect draft after five hours of typing a paper (beginning-middle-end). There are many times that I don’t even go back over this rough, rushed draft…and to be honest it usually works out. However, once I got into upper level writing the chinks in my armor were exposed. I was specifically called out in my evaluations for lack of necessary revision. I still attacked my papers with the same attitude and as a result received the worst grade I ever have in an English or writing class. The kicker here is that my dad has the same problem…and I’m pretty critical of him for not revising like he should. He has published two books, and is about to release his third ( a sequel to the second book).  While I think that he is a good story teller, and I credit him highly for constructing a story that spans 300+ pages and connecting the dots, I think he could be so much more. I know for a fact that he has read literature from all over the world and from many different times. He knows what good writing is, does, feels like, and looks like. He is smart enough to produce writing that at least moves in that direction. And yet, after writing a book for nine months he gives it a two month break and then revises for about a week, maybe two. And bear in mind that he isn’t a professional writer so the actual revision that is happening isn’t two weeks of nonstop revision. The effort into the rough draft is completely imbalanced to the work that goes into the final, he also spends the revision time making the book cover! I’m not knocking my dad, but just pointing out my own problem on a larger scale…5 hours of writing to 5 minutes of revising is basically nothing. Moreover, it’s even worse on me because I know better and I know that it is my primary problem in writing, and yet I still don’t revise like I should. I’m working on it! One great thing about this capstone class is the high stakes which will require the revision or else risk embarrassment and failing grades.

My love for writing vs. Only writing for school

These two connect in the phrase “I guess I am a lazy writer sometimes.” I think writing is potentially the thing I can be best at. I play music and have good reviews by people who here me, but I don’t really like to brag because there are so many better musicians. I was okay at sports. Understanding high level writing at a young age, through reading, and then eventually starting to form complex metaphors and messages in my own writing made me feel gifted. That is the one area that I (at least used to) brag about. Of course there are countless writers out there that are better than I am, but I truly feel like someday I could have my name in a book with them. Maybe not, and who cares either way, but I think I’m good. Even with that confidence and passion though, I don’t really do a lot of writing outside of school assignments. I populate my free time with friends and video games, and an array of social events to the point that I don’t really give myself the free time necessary to write. This is a huge problem. On one hand I don’t feel too bad because I like my life and the people in it and the way I live (mostly). On the other I feel like  I could have written a book by now if I followed this passion and shut out the other stimuli. For this reason, I am very excited for the capstone project. I will actually be forced to apply myself to a writing venture of my choosing, that I am interested in, and that will require the work and level of thought to make it a high quality piece that I can be proud of. I am grading against my own expectations and ambition, not a rubric. I feel that the capstone project will help me to fix…or at least find a path through my writing deficiencies.

Contradictions in the Writer’s Evolution Essay

Hi everyone,

As we in the Capstone class embark on the process of now editing our Writer’s Evolution Essay draft, I wanted to pause and reflect on the contradictions that are emerging in my first draft of this essay. As I was writing I definitely noticed that there were contradictory sentiments arising out of my essay. I resisted the urge to press ‘backspace’ and instead continued to power through my first draft as organically as possible. It turned to to be quite messy which I took as a partial victory because in that mess there was a lot of truth. However, I did find myself questioning why so much of what I wrote seemed to twist back on itself.

One thing I mentioned is how much less I seem to write as I get older. I seem to write only when it is demanded of me and less and less for myself. When I was younger, it was just the opposite dynamic. Yet, I also cover how I continue to use writing constantly as an outlet- something I covered extensively in my initial ‘Why I Write’ essay. These two facts definitely seem at odds. How can I continue writing as an outlet if I am writing less? Is this just a biased perception of myself or are one of these claims blatantly incorrect? As I weed through the revelations and challenges that came out of this first draft I think many of these contradictions come from a variance of perception. While in the thick of this class, I feel like writing is something I don’t do enough- at other times, I feel like writing is an inherent part of my life. The way I view my writing is circumstantial to my current viewpoint and therefore its changes.

As I now look to revise this first draft I think its important not to view these contradictions as challenges to be tackled but as nuances to be fleshed out. Something seemingly contradictory is probably only scratching the surface of a deeper, more complex explanation. By allowing myself to create a non-linear but truthful first attempt at this paper I am hoping now I can begin to make meaningful, deeper connections. This paper is undeniably challenging and I see many of us encountering the same struggles but I do believe that is only going to make the pieces stronger in the long run.

-Anisha