Writng, Revising and the Art of Hair-Pulling

Recently, most of my time is spent on writing fiction, though perhaps not as happily as I’d hoped. My current assignment for English 223 is to draft a 10-15 page short story about… well, anything. So far, it seems I’ve discovered that I know how to write, edit, revise, re-write, and pull out my hair in frustration. I’ve always been much more comfortable writing nonfiction and poetry than short fiction, and this assignment has highlighted some of the fears I’ve always had about fiction writing:

1. The story is boring/unrealistic – Oh my, the worst thing a story can be called. Why would anyone want to read my writing… when it’s very amateurish, especially for a student who just started writing fiction.

2. There are too many irrelevant things in the story – I don’t even. Why does the color of her hair matter? Does his height really add anything to the story?

3. The writing style is too melodramatic – Guns and shootings and drug cartels. I think I don’t know the first thing about them.

4. What is this story even about?? – Oh dear, is it okay that the story is just… a story? Should it be making a point? Or an argument?

I really am so much more comfortable with nonfiction.

Old Blogs Can Learn New Tricks…

…as I’ve found, quite happily.

After realizing I needed a new foundation for my ever-changing and topic-meshing blog, fuming about my inability to do anything new with the layout, and staring at new themes on WordPress for days on end, I may have finally found my happy medium (no pun intended).

Despite it’s simplicity, I’m very happy to say that it actually helps me clear my thoughts and organize my writing/poetry/art in a better format. I’ve also found that in my previously futile attempts to try and converge my major (Econ) and minor (Writing) in this time capsule blog, all I needed was a fresh start. I’m hoping that I can submit this as the final ePortfolio for the Capstone course, Writing 400.

If anyone wants to take a look at my blog, and let me know what they think I can do better, I’d be thrilled. You may find it here, if you’re curious. There still isn’t much on it yet, but I’m working toward gathering a good amount of sample writings from all of my significant classes in order to show my progress as a writer.

But on the topic of progressing as a writer, I’ve rediscovered my niche in poetry. I’ve found that I’m quite a fan of Zuihitsu poems, as well as narrative poetry, which was something that I’d attempted before taking English 223, but now have started polishing. I think that I may begin to start engaging more in the WordPress.com blogging community and look at the different ways (through media) that others may present their writings.

All in all, despite a messy week of cursing my ePortfolio, I’m content with the result of a W.I.P. that will probably never be finished, as long as I keep writing. PS- Writing pure fiction is hard!

One does not simply change thy writing habits.

Yes, I basically fell off the face of the community that is known to writers and readers a like. This semester so far is filled with changes that I did not expect. A lot of homework, over-committed at my job, getting an A on an Econ exam (I’ll admit, that a pleasant surprise), and attempting to enter the Hopwood Awards for the Creative Nonfiction category. Overall, a month of busy and hectic commitments at the push out commitments.

However, I found out yesterday just how much I missed freewriting of my own… well, free will. I compulsively took a Zuihitsu poem and cut and glued it into a page of the journal I’d been keeping for a year now. The journal itself is almost completely empty, a couple entries here and there from the past year, and that’s about it.  It was only after I’d finished this haphazard art project that I realized I needed to write. And so I spent last night writing pages in my journal of everything that came to mind.

With graduation, and the capstone course fast approaching, I decided to make two goals for myself: 1) Recompose my WordPress platform, 2) Submit writing to the Hopwood Awards. Granted I’m very doubtful that I’ll win anything from Hopwood, but I feel that since it’s my senior I ought to do something that contributes to the academic culture here. Well, attempt to anyway.

Story of my life.

With all this in combination with classes and a job, I hardly hope to get any sleep for the next couple months.

& Also, is anyone else having trouble viewing their WordPress blog on Macbook Pro? /life problems of a confused Mac user

Woohoo! Senior year!

I can’t believe it’s almost the end of my years at U of M! It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged on our class cohort blog, but I’m excited to see what everyone else has been up to. Because this year is so filled with job applications and career fairs, I fear that a lot of my own personal writing time will be compromised. However, I am taking Creating Writing 223 this semester, and I’m really psyched about it. So far, the class has been very informative and it’s forced me to step out of my comfort zone (creative nonfiction) and into creative writing.

I have a few poems that I’ve written for the class, and I may end up sharing one of the ones I end up workshopping, if it doesn’t turn out to be terrible, haha. I certainly hope that this year will be a memorable one, not just in writing, but in revisiting ALL of my work that I’ve done in the course of my college career. To be honest, I’m quite terrified of reviewing my own ePortfolio, and seeing all the changes I must make.

This is how my studying will be!

As finished as I’ll ever be.

So, I decided to take initiative and post my e-portfolio on the MIW blog, just in case I forget in the next week of hectic due dates and exams.

I’m pretty sure that everyone knows I’m making a portfolio with a “time capsule” theme by now, and I feel that by the end of this week, I’m as finished as I’ll ever be with my e-portfolio.

It was interesting to learn to use WordPress as a platform, and I’m actually quite happy with the outcome of my blog/website. This might be something that I’ll continuously update as I go along each semester, especially the “blog” section.

Here’s to an awesome semester!

-Diana

Click: http://qorkie.wordpress.com/

Not sure if this is the last blog post we’re required to write…

…but I’m assuming it is, because there have been no changes to our syllabus. And in that case, I’d like to say “PHEW!”

The blog posts this year were thought-provoking to say the least. Some I wrote begrudgingly, while others I ranted for what seemed like forever about topics in writing. And as we approach the end of the year, I’m realizing that blogging regularly wasn’t nearly as terrible and challenging as I first thought it would be.

What started out as this:

Eventually became this:

 

Now I’m trying to update the blog in my e-portfolio regularly, but exams and assignments have only made me remember to post twice. It was not for lack of trying though. I think after creating e-portfolios and blogging every other week, I’ve become less hesitant to put thoughts to paper (or the keystroke, in this case).

So, thanks Sweetland Writing Blog, dor making mer do something that I wasn’t the most comfortable or familiar with in the beginning. I think blogging and making my e-portfolio has helped me become a more versatile writer in more than one sense.

And I thought writing was hard…

I was just proven wrong. Drawing a blueprint storyboard for a comic is much harder. I see why comic artists take 3 months just to produced a new, fully-colored chapter in their stories now. Anyway, as I’m possibly banging my head against my keyboard (excuse me, tablet), I’ve taken some time to consider working on my e-portfolio. Granted, it’s much more compete than it was a couple months ago, but I’m at a mental mind block. I wanted it to be a sort of time capsule for myself, but at the same time, is it almost copping out by saying my audience is myself? After all, anyone with a blog can say that about their posts.

I spoke to Professor Barron, my adviser the other day, and admitted my rather half-assed assumption of me being the only “important” audience who would ever see my e-portfolio. Then, he mentioned something that made me re-consider whether my attempt WAS really half-assed, or whether it was only half-finished. The portfolio, he said, could just be a glimpse my various sides of creativity in writing and art. Instead of thinking if it ONLY as a time capsule, I could keep the theme of variety and versatility in mind, and possibly in Writing 400, I can re-invent it as something presentable to employers. However, as of right now, it stays as almost a form of brainstorming/development for a more polished work that can be presented to others.

Here is a screen shot of my E-Porfolio welcome page, in case anyone’s interested. Yes, I have a strange title, don’t judge~ 8D

 

It just got real.

Too much reflection, not enough facts

The article that our blog group read for this week is “Defining Reflection: Another Look at John Dewey and Reflective Thinking”. This article certainly had it’s merits, but being a person who needs grounded thinking, I found myself lost in the ambiguity of the definition of reflection.

The author, Rodgers, mentioned that “”reflection has suffered from a loss of mesaning. In becoming everything to everybody, it has lost it’s ability to be seen.” I had the impression that the article was based heavily upon personal experience/reflection and psychology as opposed to concrete evidence.

Can you tell that I’m a very grounded writer yet? However, that does not mean I disliked the style of writing. It was more that I found it difficult not to criticize some of the more reflective elements that the author use in her own writing in what seemed to be an analytical essay.

When Rodgers’ mentioned reflection as a tool of learning, I though that it was a keen point she made about experiences and mis-educative experiences. One other point she made while addressing the scientific method of writing has also made an impression on my way of thinking about reflective writing. “Experimentation” was the word she used. That is something I would’ve never though about reflective writing. I liked how she creatively placed reflective writing in context with the scientific method.

Overall, I found the article to be enlightening on Rodgers’ POV of reflection, but only a couple things really stuck with me at the end of the essay.

John Dewey

Inkspirations

The more I read about writing and write about the process of writing, the more I think my major was wrongly placed in Economics. It’s easy to say that I’ll have promising career in a viable field of study, but it’s not easy to say that  my strength is in Econ and that I enjoy it to a large degree. I wasn’t sold on English as my major, and I’m still not now (perhaps it’s too late to change, even?), but regardless, I’ve rediscovered my love for writing purely for writing’s sake recently.

I think I want to try “morning writing”, as Melody called it. I think that maybe if I start writing more and more, I’ll find inspiration to continue writing even into my alternate career path as an Economist.

As far as writing my second draft poem goes, I’m still struggling to piece together what parts I want to include in my creative composition. I think I’m trying to determine what information is important to disclose, and what isn’t. I find it often more difficult to do that in a creative piece, but I think I’m getting better at it.

Pay Attention!

…Is the phrase that I would use to summarize what I took away from the evening of the “How I Write” event. And I guess to explain what means, I’d have to explain how I normally write.

When I write, whether it’s for an assignment in class or for my own purposes, I’ve never really “paid attention” to what I was writing. Now, that’s not to say I was writing gibberish or completely BSing my way through writing assignments, but rather that I never paid attention to the words and how they related back to my own developing writing skill.

When Melody was speaking about her drafting process, I was both awed and shocked at the time which dedicated to revisiting and revising her papers. I personally find it hard to revise multiple times, as after the first revision, I often like to think of my paper as “complete”. Sometimes I even had to push myself to revise it once. AndI’ll be the first to admit, I don’t like changing too much on the first drafts of my papers.

When Melody described the way that she paced herself when writing and editing, it made me think of  both creative and nonfiction writing as perfecting an art, and it didn’t have to be a negative thing where “we spot all the things we’re doing wrong”. I think that I’m beginning to see how revising as a way of reflecting and paying attention to what, how and why you write.

What I used to think revisions meant...

Also, hen Perry spoke about his creative outlets, he seemed very in tune with his own purposes and reasons for writing and creating screenplays. Despite the fact that he has some road blocks such as editing and revising something to fit a certain requirement, he takes time to listen to his own voice in his works. I doubt that he would’ve been as successful of a writer if he only wrote and never re-purposed it again.

Overall, I’ve become a little more confident about the re-purposing assignment for Draft 2, and I hope that I can remember all of these great things that were said as I rewrite about why I write.

And now, a picture for your enjoyment: