Update on My Paper

I have finally mapped out my How I write essay, and now I am in the process of drafting it. I am definitely one of those people who takes forever to write something, so as a means of combatting this problem, I generally write a paragraph a day, and then piece the essay together all at the very end This method works for me. Last semester I used this approach in order to complete a 16 page research paper about lesbian Swiss women who ventured the desert from 1890-1920. This is a topic that I knew nothing about, but through strategy, I got it done. I find that if I write something in short periods of time and when my brain is fresh, it will inevitably be better quality than if I just bull-shitted the piece the night before, as, unfortunately, a lot of my peers do. However, as my English major roommate once told me, “thank goodness for those ‘night-before writers,’ they make my paper look so good!”
For the context of the assignment, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and write a personal narrative. The type of writing that I excel at is academic writing and research. I have never shown much of an interest in, nor been particularly good at, creative writing; Therefore, providing a personal narrative and inserting the word “I” into my story is a relatively new thing for me, a skill that I need to cultivate throughout this class.

My ‘How I Write Essay’ is going to begin with an anecdote about how, when I was a kid, I liked to write stories and I would become infuriated with my family for reading them. At the time, my writing was a very personal thing. There was this one time around age 10 when I wrote a love story and saved it on the family computer; my older brother read it. I remember he merely said, “Good Job” to me, and I started screaming at him and hitting him: I got grounded for my behavior. I think that I felt a personal connection that those stories, therefore, others reading them became a violation to my privacy and myself.

Up through my high school career, I really hated others reading my writing, but fortunately, that changed once I got to college. My ex-Marine high school teacher, Mrs. Hart once said, “if you don’t want people to read your crappy work, don’t do crappy work.” So true. I realized that if I followed the guidelines reasonably, and if I put in my best effort, I need not be ashamed of people reading my writing. And here you are reading my writing right now, and I am not ashamed in the least bit.

5 thoughts to “Update on My Paper”

  1. I really like your idea of writing in small portions, I never thought of that before it seems really efficient. I really like the comment your English major roommate had about ‘night before writers’ it’s really a true comment they make our papers look like masterpieces just because of our efforts.
    I’m the opposite of you I excel more at creative writing and struggle with academic writing, however i’m having my own struggles with this first essay. I just don’t really know where to start and if anything, this blog post and our course reading of “Shitty First Drafts” has taught me is to just write and start somewhere.

  2. As I was reading your blog, I found that we have some things in common. We both started our essay with anecdotes, which is my personal preference for starting any sort of creative writing.

    Coincidentally, i was wondering how you go about sifting through some of the stories or examples that you can use in your writing? I often find myself trying to determine which pieces of information are important in explaining further, and which ones should only be glazed over briefly.

    1. I don’t really think that there is a formulaic process to choosing examples to integrate into the story. There were just a few that really stuck out in my mind; for example, when I was in elementary school, I kept this diary that included how mad I was at people, which boys I had a crush on, little girl stuff…etc. I kept this diary infrequently and every few months I would re-read what I wrote and rip the pages out and throw them away. Why I did this, I don’t know exactly. I think it was because my feelings had changed and I was ashamed. Interesting behaviors like that and the funny one about my brother were ones that I choose to include in my essay.

  3. You made some excellent points: breaking down essays into little bites, preferring others not to read your drafts, and the quotes from your roommate and teacher. I have quite a few research papers to write this semester; I would love to apply your advice of writing a little bit each day to my essays (Let’s see if that actually happens!). Do you do this mostly for long essays or all assignments? I see this as an excellent approach. I’m just concerned that if I were to take on this style I wouldn’t have a cohesive essay. But I guess that’s what revising is for, huh?!

    Similarly, I did not always love when my peers read my essays. In fact, there are times when I STILL don’t enjoy having others revise and edit my pieces. I feel as though people are constantly judging my work and me. I have to remind myself that people simply want to help and give constructive criticism.

    Why did you decide to go with the personal narrative? I’m debating over whether I want to go with my comfortable format of argumentative essay or take on my fear of narratives. We’ll see how it all turns out!

    1. Yes, I really do write all of my essays like that. I find that if I break them up, there is ALOT less repeating myself, as well as far less superfluous filler then if I just wrote them the night before. But don’t think I’m some task-master. There’s been times that I have submitted the essays at 11:59; don’t think I haven’t been there, lol. It’s just that this system is a way to avoid the added stress, pressure, and bad grades that generally result with this kind of writing. Also, the ‘personal narrative’ thing is open. What I am actually doing is using the ‘personal narrative’ as evidence to analyze and intellectualize my own writing process for the context of this paper. Perhaps I was unclear at addressing this, I am like you….creative writing = AVOID AT ALL COSTS!!!!

Leave a Reply