Bewildered by Blogging

Throughout this course, I have been very attentive to writing my 3 blog entries per paper. I have found that blogging has helped me to gather my thoughts and realize things about my writing that I wouldn’t have before.

However, I am left wondering: who is actually reading my blog aside from the professor that assigned it to me in the first place? Will my website be published for the world to read? And if so, will anyone really read it, or will it simply get lost among zillions of other insignificant student blogs in the vast world of cyberspace–perhaps a special place on Google page number 100,000,000?

I am also a bit befuddled by the use of the e-portfolio. Is a digital portfolio the new style in presenting one’s work in today’s world? I am not exactly sure who I would present my portfolio to or how to go about that… Does the link address go on my resume for an employer to see? Would an employer really take the time to read my college essays and base their hiring decision about me based upon it?

Or, more likely, is the digital portfolio a conspiracy created by environmental activists boycotting the production of paper in order to save trees?

These are the great questions I ask myself now in this sleep-deprived, stress-ridden state of mind.

 

P.S. My printing budget is currently at $0.04 thanks to this class. That is equivalent to one page… We are only halfway through the semester. How do English majors afford this?

To see my Feminist and Gender Essay Process Portfolio, click here.

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Lit 305 College Essay Survival Guide

I have come to realize that there are certain conditions needed for one to write a paper in college:

1) The writer must have reduced levels of stress. This will allow ideas to flow and your brain to work properly when trying to construct an essay that makes sense, is well-written, and supports your claim concisely.

2) The writer needs sleep. When you realize you are spending more time thinking about sleep or staring blankly at the screen than you are writing, perhaps this is the moment you realize you should have gotten more sleep last night. Too bad college doesn’t care about your need to sleep! Don’t expect any sympathy–college simply doesn’t care.

3) The writer must have ample time to write. One must block out enough time to complete their essay, without the pressure of getting a paper done within an exact period of time in your schedule between other things. Trust me, a paper doesn’t care if you have places to go or other homework to do. It will probably take more time than you think no matter what.

4) The writer must be prepared to write at any given moment when inspiration (and/or motivation) strikes. For example, after finishing my other preparations to write my paper I realized it was 10 at night–too late to start a complex paper that required any brain power, right? I then went upstairs to watch one of my favorite movies–Clueless, in case you were wondering what types of literary masterpieces I am into–and spend my Saturday night the “right way.” By time the movie ended, I spent time with friends, and took a shower it was midnight. Just as I bent down to peel the covers and go to bed I stopped, wide-eyed in my tracks. It hit me! Next thing I knew, without thinking, I was opening up my laptop and sitting at my desk typing. Apparently it was time to begin writing my essay! And that is the story of how last night (it is currently Sunday night when I am writing this blog and I feel desperately tired) I wrote the first half of my essay from 12am-3am.

5) Find ways to cure the writer’s hangover. When you stay up late at night writing a paper, don’t expect to feel fine the next day. In fact, you may be less productive than you hope for. You may need to get out and do other things for a bit if you find yourself stuck when trying to finish that half-written paper from 3am. It’s not a pretty sight. But hey, at least it’s done, right?

To see my Feminist and Gender Essay Process Portfolio, click here.

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The Proposal

My first step for writing the proposal was to create an outline. This was necessary in order to then be able to find sources that matched my argument and write the corresponding abstracts, as well as write the overview. I spent a night sitting at my computer typing up my thoughts, but I was so exhausted from an insanely busy week that nothing of quality was appearing on my laptop. I ended up scrapping my outlines a couple of times, which was pretty abnormal for my typical writing style. Usually when I write my papers I am inspired from the start to confidently write about a certain topic and never change my mind, so this was a new and puzzling experience for me. I decided to put off the assignment another day, because I was wasting time and coming up with nothing useful.

I had originally planned to write an essay about The Awakening–I gathered evidence from the text that perhaps Edna was a lesbian, or that Robert Lebrun epitomized the male stereotype and that his irresistible masculinity (in some mysterious, somehow concoctedly related way) caused Edna’s suicide. However, I then realized that writing a feminist essay on The Awakening–an obviously feminist piece of literature–may not be the best idea, whereas it may not have been original enough.

The next day–after some well-needed sleep–I was suddenly cured of my writer’s block and came up with a new idea to write about Through the Looking Glass instead. This seemed more innovative, and when I first read the book I did not get much meaning from it, so I was open to analyzing it further. When reading it from a feminist perspective, I was able to see a lot of feminist theory by looking at the text in a completely new way.  A feminist perspective would make sense, too, because Alice’s exploration of female identity in the sequel would complement her understanding of her maturing identity in the first novel. I thought this would be an interesting take, especially since I wrote my first essay on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in a close reading approach. Plus, I prefer to write about a novel that probably no one else in the class will select to keep it interesting. While I did enjoy Stop Kiss, I felt as though a lot of the thoughts I had about the novel I already shared in class. I guess that’s why you don’t show your cards too early!

I struggled to understand what the proposal was supposed to look like at first, so getting it done took me a while. After I got the outline finished and cleaned up with a definitive thesis and topic sentences, I then began to aimlessly determine how to write the abstracts, overview, and timeline. I went to the library in a rush to find quotes from feminist theory books on reserve to supplement my outline. From there I was able to quickly do the abstracts and overview, and finally turn in the proposal by sharing it on Google Drive to my professor! It was a long time coming, but I eventually got it done despite my crazy schedule ( I got a sudden request for an interview with the campus TV station in the middle of my writing, among other things).

After receiving peer review comments back from my class partner and professor, I bolstered my thesis to make a more accurate claim that better fit my outline and made a statement about the novel. After I finish writing a few abstracts from the Turn and Awakening criticisms for my Abstrracts blog, I can start writing my essay!

Overall, I am very excited to write this essay! I am feeling good about the class still, despite being with older students. It is exciting to be doing something I am passionate about, and getting good feedback from my professor and peers. I am amazed at what I am learning about myself, literature, and writing. Because of this class I have been inspired and am hoping to further pursue writing more in the future, beginning with getting a double emphasis in English.

 

To see my Feminist and Gender Essay Process Portfolio, click here.

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