A Rather Meta Post

This essay reminded me of modern art, which is a reference I don’t always make positively. Haas and Flower argue that meaning is constructed from texts by reader. With modern art, the meaning is largely constructed by the viewer as well; that’s what makes something beautiful. The picture of a picture below could just be splotches of paint on paper or this piece could be about the process and breaking the rules of painting and questioning the role of the artist. More radically, it could be both. Maybe it’s neither.

Kazuo Shiraga- Painting With His Feet

Back to writing, my problem with Modern Art as with my problem with Reading as Construct is that it implies if someone thinks a work is bad, it is merely because they don’t appreciate it. It is on the reader, not the writer to convey meaning. For example, Kara, one of the test subjects mentioned by Haas and Flowers, thought a piece of work was confusing; does that mean she is a bad reader or does that mean that the piece of work was actually confusing? I do admit that in Kara’s case, it was her inexperience, not a lack of clarity in the work that caused her to think the piece was confusing. Still, I feeling like meaning in a piece of writing is created by both the reader and the writer. The writer must lay down a solid foundation, even if its a complicated an many layered one for the reader to build on first. Rhetorical readers seem to make the best buildings, able to incorporate their experience, context and other factors into their constructs, rather than merely summarizing for information. This kind of skill or action is one I normally associate with writing. When I write, I try to put in as little summary as possible and focus on interpretation and context. I’ve never thought to apply it to reading before now. This makes the line between the two a little thinner in my mind.

An important feature of a piece of work, which Haas and Flower mostly ignored, perhaps on purpose, is the intentionality of the writer in a piece. This is not necessarily the thesis but rather the goals of the piece. What impression is the writer trying to give the reader? What does the writer want the reader to think about them and their subject matter? What does the writer do to try to make the reader see as they see? What do the writer’s intentions discernible from this piece say about the writer. For example, when I was reading this piece I noticed that they use off phrases like “complex rhetorical model”, and  “discourse acts”, academic-style terms not fully defined.  These word choices means they are not writing for readers like Kara. They are mostly likely writing for other teachers. Writing in this formal style, referencing research in various fields and capitalizing on words like “rhetorical”, gives me the impression that they want the reader to think they’re authorities. It is their intention to put forth a piece that convinces you that their way of thinking is right -teaching rhetorical reading is critical for making better thinkers, readers and writers and thus should be implemented. There is nothing wrong about with their efforts; all writers need to establish some kind of authority to make them worth reading and have some kind of argument, preferably a goal, too.  Thinking about the writer’s intentions as more than just the information they wish to convey is important, especially when dealing with sources that are not university academics but bloggers, especially political pundits and those who have an agenda. Through reading, it is possible to  see a person through his or her writing.

Writing New Media



As I started brainstorming for my writing new media essay and looked over the list of comparisons we came up with in class, one word jumped out at me (that wasn’t even on the list): freedom. Writing in new media is to freedom as writing in traditional forms is to confinement.

How is new media writing related to freedom?

  • Freedom of choice (the possibilities are endless)
  • Freedom of expression/creativity (multiple modes of expression, more freedom to be creative by incorporating different design elements)
  • Freedom of presentation (chronological, circular, etc.)
  • Freedom of exposure (post online, post on social networking sites, link to other pages, email, share)

How is traditional writing related to confinement?

  • Forced choice (type into a word document, use APA format)
  • Restricted to text only (where is the creativity in this?)
  • Static presentation (into, body, conclusion, thesis, supporting arguments, concrete examples)
  • Limited options for exposure (post to ctools, print out and hand in to teacher, file in a folder, save as doc)

Traditional writing doesn’t do justice to Freedom of Speech, but new media writing does.

What do you think of this as a guiding theme for my essay? Should I narrow it down to one specific thing or is it okay to have the sub-sections of the main idea “freedom”?



“Paper Must Be This Long (Or Short)”


Why do professors make page limits?  It’s very annoying and distracts me from focusing on the content of my papers. Instead of trying to get my thoughts out, I worry about the length of my papers. The papers that need to be x pages long always turn out too short or too long. Right now I’m working on a paper for my communications ethics issues in journalism class and am struggling to make it fit the minimum page requirement. I started working on the paper about a week ago and it isn’t due till next Monday. I thought I was doing oh so well and would have the paper finished way ahead of time, but here I am trying to add in more (unnecessary) info and restate every other sentence just to stretch it out from 6 to 7 pages. I understand that certain information must be included, but if I can say what I need to say in 6 pages, why should I force myself to write a whole other page? I have more important things to do than spend a whole week trying to make my paper fit the page requirements when I’ve already spent so long on it. Do you agree with me? What do you think about page limits/requirements?

The Best Bad Ideas Come Late at Night

So, I’m an insane person. It’s currently 5:07 AM on the Saturday of Halloweekend.  I did not go out. I stayed in and watched Mean Girls with my roommate, drank coffee, and baked a few loaves of pumpkin bread.  Clearly, I have a phenomenal social life. And it’s only going to get better once November 1st comes around.  Why, you ask?

"Actually, I couldn't care less. Thanks for being so presumptuous, though."

Because in November, as part of NaNoWriMo (or less awesomely, National Novel Writing Month), I will be attempting (keyword) to write my first novel.  This decision seems ill advised, as it would appear I’m behind in all aspects of my life, academic or otherwise right now. The goal of NaNoWriMo is literally to write a rough draft of an entire novel over the thirty days of November.  I kind of signed up expecting myself to crap out around day three or so, and to be honest, that’s still a very possible ending to this story.  I didn’t even have an idea for a novel until about two hours ago. But now that I’ve got one, I’m pumped and won’t allow myself to sleep until I have at least three pages of story and ideas written in (digital) ink.  I’ve got an idea I’m excited about in my mind, and if I’ve learned one thing about writing in the last few months, is that when I’m inspired, I have to write IMMEDIATELY after conceiving an idea.  That’s kind of how this blog post came about.  I was writing and brainstorming for the novel when I thought that this might work for my blog entry this week. And now, here I am, writing a blog post about how I thought to write a blog post about how I thought to write a novel.

I apologize for absolutely everything about this. (Source: http://cdn.nolanfans.com/images/posters/inception/p7xfull.jpg)

Ideally, a NaNoWriMo participant aims to write 175 pages (50,000 words) before the month is over.  I’ve never written any piece of fiction longer than sixteen pages, so I’m a little worried about how this could end up.  Realistically, I don’t see myself meeting the goal set by whoever makes standards for NaNoWriMo, but I figure if I can contribute about three pages a day or so, I’ll end up with a good start that I can keep working on. After all,  I am still a student, who has to do other things like homework and laundry to do. The realist in me says this could be totally detrimental to my school work, which is a valid concern, but the optimist in me likes to think writing regularly like this will actually help me preserve momentum in other projects.  We’ll see which wins out.

Abandon seems like an appropriate word for this. I definitely see myself abandoning sleep, food, social activity, and sanity in the coming 30 days.

Online News Community/Public Forum


When I first started brainstorming for the re-mediation assignment, I had way too many ideas. I guess this is better than having no ideas at all, but still it was hard to figure out what direction to go with this project. I wanted to create an interactive article for the Glamour website, an actual blog, a new website or a public forum. Eventually I decided to create an online news community/public forum to combine all of my original ideas into one. I think this will be the best way for me to re-mediate my original argument about blogs and new media being a net gain for society. As of right now I’m thinking of using Wix to execute this project because I recently used it to create another website and think it will allow me to include all of the necessary elements in my online news community/public forum. The only problem I ran into with Wix was its tendency to freeze. This made the whole website creation process slow and somewhat annoying. I definitely do not want to run into these same problems again! I would love it if you guys had any suggestions on better platforms to use for my online news community/public forum. Here are some examples of online forums I may use as inspiration: The Women’s Nest, In The Powder Room, PepsiCo Women’s Inspiration Network, and GoGirl Finance.

I’d like your feedback on my proposal:

I plan to develop an online news community/public forum (essentially an interactive website) for Glamour readers.  This will be a public forum that allows real women to communicate with one another and share the news. My ideal audience is all Glamour readers regardless of their current level of political involvement.  I want my audience to join “the conversation called blogging” and be completely engaged in this online community. I plan to bridge the gap between hard news and soft news by providing an outlet for discussion of issues, ranging from rantings about political candidates to advice about where to buy the most comfortable high heels. This online news community/public forum will be a part of the Glamour website and build upon their Glamocracy blog section which contains political articles written in personal/opinion-based tones. My reason for choosing to create an online news community/public forum is that it will represent the argument addressed in my essay about new media being a net gain for society. This public forum will allow readers to participate in the creation of news. I think it is a great extension of my previous essay and has real world applicability and functionality. My plan for the story board assignment is to pretend like I’m pitching this project to Glamour executives, again something that I would potentially be doing in my future career. I want to connect this project to my print article by including a scan-able bar code in the print version that directs readers to the online news community. This way, all versions of my essay will come together as a whole.  I’d like to model the “I am that Girl” website because it is easy to navigate, has visually appeal, and contains well-organized relevant information in the form of images, videos and text. As you may notice, the site has been revamped since my initial blog post, but I think I actually like it better now which is why I plan to use it for inspiration when re-mediating my argument. 

What do you think?

Sitting in a Library with Demi Lovato, Wondering Where It All Went Wrong

Here I sit, writing this blog entry from the Grad Library, listening to Demi Lovato’s “Skyscraper” for the umpteenmillionith time. Oh yes, I’m at that level of hopeless.  I think I’m starting to lose my mind…I just paid $3.75 for a bottle of juice. That’s ridiculous. But the bottle says it’s natural, and will help me think better. Lucky for the Naked juice company, I’m a desperate sucker, and it seems to be working.  I predict more over priced juice smoothie beverages to come in the near future.

Naked Juice bottle.
I wish I knew how to quit you. Source: my phone.

Honestly, this paper is bummin’ me out.  I can’t seem to get it right.  When I start, I hate what I’ve written, and I do the worst thing you can do – delete everything on the page. I have little fragments that look like they’re starting to come together, but I’m underwhelmed with my progress, and overburdened by the task at hand (which is totally my fault…writing on zombies? seriously?).  It’s funny, I had the exact same problem with the first iteration of this paper; it was the most difficult writing assignment I had done in college up until now.  I was hoping to know how to navigate my way around it better a second time, but here I am, struggling just as much as I remember. I’m satisfied with my idea, the audience I have in mind, and the sources I’ve got to back up what I want to say. So why can’t I seem to write this damn thing? Why is writing about something interesting always so much harder than it should be?

Fall break is less than a week a way. I’m not a religious person, but hallelujahs are in order. Those two blessed, completely free days are just the thing I’m going to need to get this paper to the level it needs to be, and where I want it to be.  Some extra, uninterrupted time to sit down and write is going to be a vacation. Had I had more time for the paper I’m adapting from for this assignment, I think I’d have felt way better about how it turned out. I feel like I failed this paper the first time I wrote it, even though it got an A.  Somehow, that actually made me feel worse about not having the paper up to my standard.  Here I’d written something I felt completely ashamed of, and somehow managed to get rewarded for it.  And I’m pretty sure this wasn’t a case of the creator being overly critical of his or her own work…the paper was bad. Bad enough to warrant italics and bolding (look at all the emphasis in these last few sentences – I must be tired).

I really don’t want to end up feeling the same way about this paper (though I severely doubt I’d get an A for such a deplorable piece).  I don’t want to feel like I’ve failed myself again, and then have to pick up the remnants of a project that crashed and burned to build something new again. I don’t think I can handle the disappointment in myself again. I know it sounds narcissistic, but I really couldn’t care less right now. I know I don’t want to mess this up again, and the fact that I feel like I am is upsetting me. I hung a poster in my room for just this type of situation this year, and I’ll end on its wisdom, for both the sake of inspiring myself and as a gift to you, fellow writing minor 2011 cohorts. If you spend as disgusting an amount of time on the Interwebz as I do, you’ll propbably recognize the meme as Courage Wolf.

Bite off more than you can chew, then chew it.
Apparently, the quote is from a woman named Ella Williams. I'm disappointed that she was in fact, not a wolf. Source: http://www.memedr.com/images/43-courage-wolf-bite-off-more-than-you-can-chew-then-chew-it.jpg

Happy writing.



Always Writing.

Source: http://dreamcolleges.com/image/GET-SCHOOLED-girl-writing-thinking-e1294776033118.jpg

It seems like I spend a big part of my life writing–for school, for internships, for work, for pleasure. I am always writing. My roommates study for biology exams and complete homework sets for math as I construct the perfect paper. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by writing. With so many assignments on my mind, it’s hard to figure out where to start. I’m the type of girl who starts about 7 different assignments at once and, although I never procrastinate, has the burden of finishing them all at the same time–and making sure they are perfect. I noticed this becomes harder when all of those assignments are writing assignments.

To give you a better idea of how much writing I do on a weekly basis, here are the writing assignments/tasks on my mind this week: Communications 451 prospectus & term paper, English 229 online profile/portfolio, English 229 blog post, Communications 381 literature review & research paper, Writing 200 blog post, Writing 200 draft #2 of re-purposing an argument essay, Writing 200 portfolio, StyleLine Designer Spotlight article, Her Campus style article. Wow. That’s 11 different writing assignments. Seeing this list makes me realize just how much writing I do. Now don’t get me wrong, I love to write. But when I have this many different things to write, some of the fun turns into pressure and stress as I try to successfully complete each assignment and figure out what paper I should work on first.

It’s tempting to dive right in to the fun fashion articles for StyleLine magazine and Her Campus, but then I remind myself that I am a full-time (18 credit) student at the University of Michigan and my school writing assignments should probably take precedence. Although there are no “internship syllabi”, there are deadlines. And this is why it’s important for me to consider due dates for all of my writing assignments, not just the academic ones.

I decided to make myself a writing schedule to help keep me sane:

  1. Eng 229 online profile/portfolio (Due Thurs), started
  2. Writ 200 draft #2 of re-purposing an argument essay (Due Thurs), started*
  3. Eng 229 blog post (Due Thurs)
  4. StyleLine designer spotlight article (Due Fri), did the interview*
  5. Her Campus style article (Due Fri), need to write the final draft when I get the rough draft back
  6. Comm 381 lit review (Due Oct 21)
  7. Comm 451 term paper (Due Dec 5)
  8. Comm 381 research paper (Due Dec 9)

Writ 200 portfolio (Due ??)

Writ 200 blog post (Due today: COMPLETE)

Comm 451 prospectus (Due Mon: COMPLETE)

Maybe now I will be able to write without feeling the need to pull out my hair or scream each time I remind myself how many different writing assignments I have. Some people would probably laugh at the idea of even thinking about a writing assignment that isn’t due until the beginning of December, but for me it’s absolutely necessary to start planning ahead.

Do you feel like you are always writing too?

It’s All About the Design

While browsing the web to find 5 of my favorite websites, I noticed a theme among the ones I chose. They are all very pleasing to the eye (and all about fashion, confidence, dating, and/or magazines). What can I say? I am drawn to these topics. One website I especially like is i am that girl. I chose it because of its fun, informal appeal, interactivity and use of photos. Each time you scroll over a new section, either a word or a picture, something happens. The words flash, the pictures light up, and there is a clicking sound in the background. There is also a cool transition each time you click on a new tab. I think all of these functions add to the appeal of the website by allowing the audience to interact with the website. This website emphasizes its visual focus by including a cute logo and effectively grouping together photos in a collage format.  I like how i am that girl is set up like a bulletin board. It’s a cute layout and design choice that draws in the reader and matches nicely with the site’s positive message.

Source: http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-ash2/50556_25938310970_8138_n.jpg

Here are the 4 other sites I chose along with why I chose them:

Her Campus: Frequently changes, consistency in color, easy to navigate, tabs neatly organize topics into different sections

Shop Bop: simple, clean lines

Cosmo: good use of white space, consistency in all caps, big heading

Ed2010: easy to navigate, presents the material in a neat way by clearly labeling different sections, the use of blue and orange text against the simple white background is pleasing to the eye

Dismantling the Power Paradigm of the Academy’s Patriarchy

First, I just want to say that I really enjoyed this article – it was well researched, thought out, and most importantly, interesting.

Of particular interest to me was when he talks about how women may actually have been the genesis of the novel.  It’s such an interesting point to make. He rationalizes this claim by explaining that men were traditionally the ones to receive educations in rhetoric at schools and universities, while women, if they went to school at all, were taught subjects conducive to running an effective home or business.  So, when women start coming to the academy, they bring a completely new perspective to language and particularly writing – they’ve not been trained in traditional rhetoric, and thus it doesn’t hold as much importance for them, which is why the novel starts to rise as a legitimate form of writing; it allows for more freedom of form. You can still kind of see the echoes of this today, in that many popular or well known authors of novels are females: JK Rowling, Jodi Picoult, Barbara Kingsolver, Audrey Niffenegger, Suzanne Collins, and (*cringe*) Stephenie Meyer. Obviously, if Ong’s argument is true, then women have given to humanity a great artform.

Twlight, a "book" by "writer" Stephenie Meyer. (Source: twilightsaga.wikia.com)

So then, it’s curious to me as to why academic institutions still favor a fairly patriarchal view on writing; non-academic writing still seems to be thought of as somehow “less” in an university setting.  In my peer tutoring seminar, we’re learning about different approaches to writing as well as how to tutor writing. We recently read an essay that applied Feminist critical theory to the idea of writing, which aims to equalize the role of tutor and the student; the practice attempts to dismantle the power hierarchy present in the traditional student/teacher paradigm, which the academy perpetuates by often times forcing students to learn “good” writing by making them conform to the abstract standard of an “ideal text” as imagined by academia. Since this “ideal text” is often a traditionally academic paper, filled with classical rhetoric, and since rhetoric is a subject that was created by men, for use by men, this ideal text is inherently patriarchal; it makes the writer conform to invisible, “acceptable” standards envisioned by men and only men years and years ago.

Ong’s text got me thinking about writing a lot more about what writing is, and more specifically, what “good” writing is.  Is it this generally agreed upon standard, or can it be something more?  Why is it so difficult to break away from the academic form instilled in writers from the time they’re taught to write? Why can’t fiction be just as effective a mode for delivering an argument? Why did I just make fun of Stephenie Meyer, if in fact, she may have written a very good piece of writing, and I’m just not seeing it fromt he correct perspective (this pains me to write, fellow writing minors; I just need you all to know that)? I’m not sure I have any answers to any of these questions, but the article definitely got me thinking about them.


What is Writing?

Source: My Photo, Edited via Picnik

Writing as Death.

“One of the most startling paradoxes inherent in writing is its close association with death.” Excuse me, what? Well I completely disagree with this statement (as is clear in my “Why I Write” essay).  I have never once associated writing with death. If anything, writing is like birth: a chance to reinvent yourself to the world. I do see how writing is able to be resurrected by readers, but why does it have to die in the first place?

Writing as a Technology.

I never really saw writing as a technology, but that’s probably because there are so many other technological things that are more obvious in the sense that we grew up in an era of digital revolutions. When I think technology, I think computers, ipods, cell phones, tvs–but I do not think writing. As I think more about it, I guess some form of writing had to go into each of these technologies.

Writing as Pictures, Pictures as Writing.

It’s interesting how something as complex as writing began as simple scratchings on a stone. I still think writing and pictures go hand-in-hand. Just think back to the books you read when you first learned how to read. Chances are, they were full of  mostly pictures accompanied by a few words.

Writing as Magic.

I think writing has some magical components, but I don’t associate it with magic in the oracle sense mentioned in the reading. That is taking things too far…And who are these “Glamor Grammar” girls? All I thought of when I read this part was the Glamour (as in fashion) girls!

Writing through Scribes.

When I read this part, I instantly thought of my sister who currently works as a medical scribe. I never knew this concept of having someone else record your thoughts and words for you dated so far back.

Writing as Solitude, Writing as Social.

I agree with Ong that writing is a solitary task. When I write it’s essentially just me, my paper, and the thoughts in my head. But writing is just as social as it is solitaire. I immediately think of the writing workshops we do and how much of a conversation takes place between the reader, writer, and text. There is nothing alone about sharing your writing with the world.

 Writing with a Voice.

When you write, you have to consider how you would say the written words out loud. What tone do you want? What message do you want to get across to your readers? These are the types of questions worth asking.  Although writing may seem passive and silent; simply words on a page, writing is just as alive and active as the spoken word.

Writing as Rhetoric.

Personally, I don’t enjoy the word rhetoric. I hadn’t even really heard it used until this year. I think the word rhetoric complicates an otherwise simple concept of “how to write effectively.” If you want people to write effectively, you should communicate to them in a language they understand.