#Dunzo

What a long and winding road it’s been.  As I look back at this semester with pride, I consider where I started, how far I’ve come, and where I’m going.  If anything, I’ve learned that everyone’s first draft sucks, it’s ok to despise writing, I love having written, and though you may have submitted your “final” draft, it’s never really done.

This being the last day of the semester, my brain is in a scrambled egg-like state that is characteristic for this time of year, yet I can only look back with pride at what I’ve accomplished.  I’m also still grappling with the fact that once I click “publish” on this post, I’ll officially be a senior.  Where did the time go?!

Anyway, congratulations and thank you to Shelley and my classmates for a great semester in Writing 200.  See you on the flip side… or the capstone, I guess.

Oh, and here’s the link to my e-portfolio.

Lessons Learned

This being my last blog post of the semester, I think it is appropriate that I reflect on the things I learned in this class and how I’m a better writer because of them.  This class taught me that I am not the only person who struggles with the writing process and that it’s okay to actually hate writing; in the same vein, it has made me realize that I love having written.

I also learned the commonality of “shitty first drafts” and how “practically everyone’s first draft sucks.”  For me coming in, I always thought that my first drafts were pretty decent and that they only needed minor tweaking when it came to revising—ohhhh was I wrong.  The reality of the matter is that the more eyes you get reading your paper and the more feedback you receive, the more you start to realize how bad your first draft really was and how much room there is for improvement.

Lastly, I learned to push myself as a writer.  I learned to identify the holes in my writing, where things didn’t quite add up, and how I could holistically make my papers better.  More often than not, the old “try, try again” approach will lead to a quality final product; even if it does require you to write draft after draft after draft…

More than any English/Writing class I’ve ever taken, has this class had challenged and changed my perspective on the art and practice of writing.  With the knowledge I’ve obtained, I look forward to the Writing 400 capstone course as well as my future as a writer.

Why is the Book Always Better than the Movie?

In the spirit of the newly released “Hunger Games” movie, I thought it would be interesting to reflect on the transition from book to movie and why some people argue that the book is always better.  I, myself, am not a reader or fan of the Hunger Games, but have been unavoidably overwhelmed by the influx of excitement via Facebook, Twitter, and television commercials for its recently released film now in theaters.  Though I did not see the film, my perception from what I’ve heard about it is that it was disappointingly bad.  Unfortunately, this seems to be the case for most book-to-film remediations.

Considering the likes of Harry Potter, the Twilight Saga, James and the Giant Peach, The Indian in the Cupboard, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and countless others, such films are constantly criticized for being subpar if not downright bad.  Perhaps this is because the portrayals in the film do not align with people’s own imagined descriptions and depictions from the text.  Maybe the film skips parts that were in the book or oversimplifies a plot/scenario/relationship; whatever the case, more often than not, the hype for such movies is met with utter disappointment and, at times, outrage.

Granted, it is merely impossible to please everyone, and every film has its critics, but it is certainly worth contemplating the reasons for why the book is always said to be better than the movie.  What do you think?

Mind = Blown

What a lecture that was by John U. Bacon!  As an audience member, I found myself relating to his stories, his struggles as a writer, and his passion for watching and participating in athletics.  He seemed like he would be an awesome professor to have and someone I could learn a lot from.

What I thought was most interesting was the tips he gave for the writing process.  Not only did he say repeatedly that everyone’s first draft sucks, he also told us to write our first drafts from start to finish so that we may have something to work off of.  Though I have learned that I do my best writing when I’m in a silent environment, I did like how his suggestion for snapping out of “writer’s block” was to simply start writing…about anything; I’ll have to try that one out.  Read More

Midterm Blues

In the midst of midterms, I have come to realize even more how inescapable writing really is.  Whether it’s simply rewriting your old notes when studying, writing a midterm paper, responding to short answer test questions, or taking a bluebook exam, writing occupies a huge part of the way we are evaluated in our classes.

Another writing-related caveat that I have encountered as I wrap up the internship application process is the importance of a coherent, concise, and well-written resume and cover letter.  Having one or both of these documents is necessary when applying to internships and for the most part, your first (and possibly last) impression on recruiters is given through your writing in said documents.

Even if you get an interview or are seeking more information about a company, you still have to communicate via email and even those interactions are judged.  As I have stated before, “WRITING IS EVERYWHERE!”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hc9k3-fwwYM

I found the video to be mildly relevant to writing as well but I digress.  Good luck with midterms, y’all.

Writing: A Love/Hate for All

After reflecting upon the conversations that my group and I had with the two writers at last night’s “How I Write” event, I came to realize that writing is something that everyone struggles with—no matter how talented you are.

I also came to realize that even the best of writers have sort of wacky ways of revising their papers and that more often than not, it can take more than 5+ drafts for a paper to be considered “done.”  I had never really heard of somebody taping their printed out paper to the wall, writing on it, then attacking the collage of writing with scissors to manually copy and paste excerpts or paragraphs to different places; and I thought my revision methods were obsessive and over the top…

More than anything, the event taught me that writing is a process and that even for the best and most passionate writers, the process, even for them, is a love/hate.  It was good for me to realize that others face the same struggles with their writing that I do.

The Transformation of a Novice Blogger

After having re-read Andrew Sullivan’s “Why I Blog” and reflecting upon my own blog habits over the past few weeks, I have come to realize that both my blog posts and my thoughts about blogging have drastically changed.  For starters, through the incorporation of multimedia (videos, pictures, memes, etc.), my blogs have become more personal and more exciting to both write and read.  As far as my feelings towards blogging, I now enjoy it more because of the creativity and openness it allows. Read More

We Have Not Yet Begun to Write!

In looking over some sample e-Portfolios from years past, I started to think about the writing I’ve done thus far this semester and at the university.  I considered not only how I’ve grown as a writer, but also the amount of work that goes into the process of converting a page full of brainstormed ideas into a written draft and ultimately a “final” copy.

I took into mind the profile formats of each person’s e-Porfolio in terms of the drop-down tabs categorizing each unit.  In doing this, I was amazed at how many links to their work were available and how much writing we still have to do in this class.  I did find it interesting, though, that an assignment that they too had to complete was that of “Why I Write.”

I am definitely looking forward to this project, but I don’t want to fool myself into thinking it’s going to be easy.  Just in the 5-10 minutes I spent viewing some of the portfolios, I got a sense that the hour count on this assignment is going to rack up quickly; but like I said in my “Why I Write” final draft, “with great struggle comes great reward.”

Reading, Writing, and the Commodification of Leisure

In Deborah Brandt’s “The Status of Writing” and “How Writing is Remaking Reading”, she discusses her belief that there is a moral economy of reading and a social economy of writing.  She argues that reading is done so that people may obtain a certain level of social/cultural capital, information and perspectives into things they may not otherwise care/know about; reading, as she states, is not a sustainable process that will pay the bills, however.

BusinessGhost creator, Michael Levin.

On the other hand, she believes that writing should be/is done strictly for financial gain and societal notoriety/fame.  In watching the season premier of one of my favorite shows, Shark Tank, on ABC, there is a perfect example of this as NY Times best-selling author Michael Levin pitches his publishing company, called “BusinessGhost”, to the show’s “sharks” (prospective investors).  The premise of this company is that ordinary people can got to BusinessGhost and describe a story that they’d like to have written for them; this story can be an autobiography, a memoir about their career/professional Read More

Writing about Writing

When composing my “Why I Write” paper, I did not anticipate experiencing the struggles that I have been.  For me, I have never actually sat back and thought about why I write; I just simply wrote because I had to—because that’s what I was instructed to do.

In writing this paper, however, I have realized how far I have come as a writer and how much I’ve learned about myself through writing.  This assignment brought me back to my K-12 days when I used to write out my essays on lined, loose-leaf paper and then beg my mother to type them for me because I had the typing accuracy of a blind octopus and it would take me hours to type what she could in ten minutes.  When she did type up my papers, however, she did not do me the liberty of cleaning up my grammar or punctuation mistakes so I still had to go back and mull over my typed up writing for imperfections and errors.

For me, this essay is becoming very introspective as to why I have become the kind of writer that that I am.  I start out by asking “Why do you write?” as a sort of way to get the reader thinking about their own motives as well as opening a window to how I began to write the essay myself.  I continue with, “Is it because writing serves as an escape for you to express the feelings that you’d otherwise keep bottled up inside?  Is it because you communicate better with others through the written word rather than the spoken?  Is writing something you either read or create solely on a leisurely basis? Can you only understand your thoughts and the world around you by writing about them?”  By using this string of questions as part of my introduction, I hoped to encompass a wide array of reasons as to why I believe that other people write.  I must admit that though the above reasons may fit into most people’s rationale for writing, none of them are actually my reason.

As I continue with my writing of this essay, I am at a point where I have to explain not only why I write for class (because I literally have to), but also why I write in the mini-blogging sphere that is Twitter.  For me, Twitter serves as a way for me to communicate with the masses while also occasionally venting/expressing my emotions.  Regardless of the writing medium, however, I find myself slaving over word choice, grammar usage and spelling in the name of accuracy and the pride found within it—similarly to the likes of Didion in her own piece titled, “Why I Write.”  It is a massive pet peeve of mine when people post something for the viewing of their “followers” or “friends” and have inaccuracies or misspellings in their writing.  It’s called PROOFREADING!

With that aside, I plan to simply take my time in constructing this portion of my paper so that I don’t come off as too offensive or insensitive.  Being so “audience conscious” in my writing, however, leads to extra time spent ironing out the wrinkles.  This leads to another problem I’m having in writing this paper (and all other papers I’ve ever encountered)—I’m a perfectionist, for better or for worse.