Reflecting On the Writing Process

I decided to write my essay on Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for two reasons: 1) when I read the book I automatically saw many connections to a common theme within my notes, and 2) it was the only one of the three books I had finished reading at that point (oops!–sorry Dr. Pennington). Regardless, this made the task of writing five pages on one topic seem much easier, since I already had so much that I knew I would be able to eagerly talk about. As the type of person who knows exactly what she wants once she decides on something, there was no going back–Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland it was!

I began my essay by first carefully reading the book and taking notes on possible topics to write my paper about. I filled my paperback copy of Alice with several ink-filled blue Post-Its, all full of anything and everything that jumped out at me as I read. This included symbols, themes, quotes, literary devices, ambiguity, etc. When I read I tend to dissect text for its meaning and important elements as I go (after all, what’s the point of taking the time to read if you get nothing out of it?), which for me meant reading in-depth and at a VERY slow pace. However, I felt really prepared to write my paper when the time came, because I had basically already done the outlining of my paper within my detailed notes.

I completed my outline by typing up my notes in a bullet-pointed document, carefully selecting which ones stayed and which ones went. I organized the information under common topics, reorganizing it accordingly, and decided from what I had what my thesis statement and the topic sentences would be. For me, the hardest part of writing an essay can be the preparation, that is, taking the time to carefully plan, deciding what exactly I want to write about, and reflecting on how I will execute the paper. So after that, the writing became smooth sailing! A couple of hours later and my essay was ready for review by the Writing Center, and later by my classmate who would be doing a peer review.

After four sets of reviews ( 1. Writing Center, 2. peer review, 3. professor review, 4. professor review of revisions), I was finally done! I then began tinkering with the blog to figure out how to use it and what work needed to be done. My first essay is now posted in my presentation portfolio, and I am ready to start the whole process over again for my next paper. Tune in next time when I blog about my summary paper!

 

To see my Close Reading Essay Process Portfolio, click here.

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Becoming a Blogger

Although I used a similar blog in high school for my school’s newspaper, I am finding it a bit difficult to get used to navigating on this new digital platform for my portfolio. I spent last night reading instructions, exploring the website, and customizing the look (only to find that not only is it challenging to get used to, but it is quite time-consuming to set up). I am also still clueless as to how to make my site prettier-looking, since I could only figure out how to do basic cosmetology on it such as changing the background and uploading pictures. However, now that I have figured out what work I need to do on my site, as well as how to post and blog, hopefully it should be simpler from here on out.

So far I learned how to upload media, insert media and links to media in pages, how the site and blog menu navigation is set up, which posts will go under which pages, how to start blog posts, how to customize the appearance of the blog and add widgets, and how to update and preview my website.

My goal for this blog is to make it a reflection of my personality (hence the pink background) and writing. Much like the writing I will be publishing, it should look professional but still possess my creative flair and artistry. I intend to make the website very user- and online reader-friendly by using a variety of text formatting, images, appealing appearance and design, links to connect posts and pages, etc. This is very important to me, because I know that as the world leans more toward technology it is important to keep up with readers’ trends and make my writing available in a relevant manner. I hope that my blog will show potential readers my dedication to my writing, and motivate them to take the few extra clicks to check out my writing.

 

To see my Close Reading Essay Process Portfolio, click here.

 

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First-Year Fears

As a first-year college student and Communications & Media Studies major in a junior-level course designed for English majors, I knew that I needed to make a statement–that statement being: “I may be just a ‘freshman,’ but I can hold my own!” During the second class, looking around at the older students in the class, I made the poor decision of announcing that it was only my 18th birthday…which received a lot of laughter. I will admit that I was a bit intimidated on the first day of class when the topic of discussion was basically about how scary and difficult this class is, according to Professor Pennington’s past students. With that being said, I decided to gamble with my college tuition and try to tackle the class without failing. My passion for writing and desire to be challenged in order to improve overpowered my fear (plus the add/drop course deadline has now passed, so I don’t really have a choice anyway). Despite this essay being my first-ever paper for college and not knowing what the expectations were, I felt confident in my writing abilities as I turned in my hard copy.

I was incredibly excited to write this paper. I have had a lot of experience writing similar literary analysis papers in high school, so churning this one out should be no problem! However, I was nervous to see how my professor would react to my writing. Would he think it was impressive? Would it come back dripping in blood-red ink? Would my writing meet his standards, or would they be impossible to achieve? My roommate and friends would probably say that paper is all I talked about for about a solid week. After finishing my first draft, I went to the Writing Center to have an older student look it over: it passed the first test! When I had my upperclassman partner peer review my essay, she complimented my writing and gave me a few minor edits to work on–I now had a little more confidence that my professor wouldn’t completely destroy me! In nervous-excitement, I handed in my paper the following Monday. When I received it back on Wednesday, I was relieved to find a positive review. However, there was still work to be done on my revision!

To see my Close Reading Essay Process Portfolio, click here.

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