Welcome to my Process Portfolio where you can see multiple drafts of each of my essays and the steps I took to improve them! Before I could complete my process portfolio, or the essays themselves, I had to develop an actual process! This was something I had not really though too much about in my years prior to completing essays for this course. Before I would sit myself down in the library with the rubric and crank out an essay, visit the writing center when I could not bare to look at my writing anymore, and finally revise what’s left and turn it in. But, of course, I was hit with quite the sock when I was assigned our first Close Reading essay for this class and there was no rubric, page count, or direction provided for me.
After my first two essays I had a process that worked for me that starting to form. Although I wish that I had kept track of my drafts a little better (through my process portfolio you might see that some drafts overlap because I didn’t save a copy or two), here is a list of my typical revision:
1. Take extensive notes on the particular critical analysis strategy we are learning about that Wednesday, referring back to the powerpoint
2. Use ideas from my peers’ sharing in class to mold my own idea of what I would like to analyze in my essay. I find that picking something I am really interested improves the quality of my work.
3. Write an Introduction paragraph about my claim, then find the quotations in the text I would like to close read. (These steps can be interchangeable).
4. Type out my essay as best I can with questions of how I can improve it in mind, then submit it to be peer reviewed. I then usually met with my professor to ask any questions I might have about the direction I was going with my writing and how it could be strengthened. I found this was the most helpful part of my revision process.
5. After peer reviewing and getting my essay looked at by a classmate, I would take all criticism into consideration and I would get right to work revising my essay while my ideas were all fresh in my head. Finally I would submit my essay for final grading!
Of course, some essays were more challenging than others, but the most important part of my revision I learned was taking advantage of my resources including: in class discussion, peer work sharing, process assignments, as well as my professor’s commentary. This course made revision much easier than if I was forced to work on draft after draft on my own. I am not a perfectionist, so I was comfortable fine tuning my ideas, but it wasn’t always easy to stay engaged on a piece of writing after many hours of revision.
After this semester, I have a much better understanding of the work it takes to get a quality essay that proceeds to claim exactly what I want to say in a strong way. The only downside with all the revision is that I feel that even my final drafts I am not completely satisfied with…which according to Dr. Scheler is an ok thing to feel