Who Are You Writing To?

Assignment:

For this blog post, we were required to complete a mini-assignment from “Revising & Refining.” In this mini-assignment, we were tasked with looking at our Evolutionary Essay from the perspective of four peers: a top expert in our field, a trusted peer in the Minor in Writing, a trusted peer from outside of the Minor in Writing, and someone who isn’t an expert in writing or in our field. Reading our essays from these perspectives would help us see in a new light what’s working in this draft and what isn’t. Below, the four peers I chose and my predictions for each of their points-of-view:

  1. Emily Kramer: Emily was the director of the team on which I interned this past summer. Next week, I am interviewing at the new agency she works at. Emily works primarily with numbers, and her work is quite strategic. I think formatting my essay as an outsider looking at my work will make it easy for a reader unfamiliar with writing assignments at the University of Michigan to follow along. However, she doesn’t know anything about the Minor in Writing program or my major, so that may be something I would want to explain better.
  2. Hannah Schiff: Hannah is a trusted friend as well as one of my peers in the Capstone course. I trust her constructive criticism. I think out of all the potential audiences listed, Hannah would be most welcome into my work and understand my motivations best. However, I think she also would buy into it the least. She has experiences in many of the same classes as me, so I know she would be looking for clear, honest analysis of my academic writing.
  3. Joey Schuman: Joey, my little brother, is a freshman at U of M. He also writes for the Daily and is an amazing writer. Joey and I struggle with different elements of our writing. I think that they elements of my writing that I pick out to analyze wouldn’t be ones he would pick out on his own, but that he would understand them with my explanation. I bet he would suggest that I clarify the structure and format of my essay.
  4. Frances Hinkamp: Fran is one of my best friends from high school. She’s a great writer, but she’s pre-med and hasn’t done a lot of writing in college. She also would be very unfamiliar with the courses I took and assignments I completed for those courses. We talk a lot about how the curriculum differs tremendously between the small university she attends and U of M. She also has trouble getting out of her own head when she writes, so I think she could sympathize with that aspect.

Conclusions: My findings through this exercise are fairly similar to what I wrote about in my writer’s note for my Evolutionary Essay rough draft. My main concern is that the way I structured my piece and my reasons for doing so are confusing. This exercise supported those concerns. If I have doubts that Emily, Joey, and Fran, my three trusted peers who are unfamiliar with the minor in writing, will be confused by my approach, then I have to consider making some clarifying changes. I am thinking about explicitly stating who is “reading” these past works of mine and why their objective opinion is important. I also want to clearly mark the transition between my first-person voice and a third-person perspective. Also, I need to do some brainstorming on why I chose to approach analyzing my work this way and synthesize my ideas so they would be understandable for someone less familiar with the assignment than me.

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Sarah Schuman

Hi! I'm Sarah, from the Chicago area. I write more eloquently with a chai latte by my side.

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