Process Portfolio

Before this class, I do not think I had ever truly considered the countless hours, scribbled notes, and abundant revisions that help to cultivate any piece of writing. Whenever I read books, I would just think about the end result. Now that I recognize that writing sometimes ends up being completely different from the idea that started it, I really want to see the entire process that authors like J.K. Rowling or Rick Riordan went through to create their novels, almost like a behind-the-scenes look for readers.

Lucky for you, you get a behind-the-scenes tour of my writing process! Through the extensive writing I have done in this class, I finally have a feel for what my writing process looks like. Before this class, it was really just whatever got me to the end of the paper. This technique worked well enough to earn a decent grade, but over the course of the semester I realized writing is more about the insight and observation you have to give rather than the grade the professor has to give you.

From essay to essay, you can see me starting to get a feel for what my writing process is. Though the first two essays do not have any sort of outline, I finally discovered by Essay 3 that I need an outline to organize my ideas and connect them in a coherent way.

To help give you a sense of what to expect from each page of the process portfolio, here is a tentative framework of how I approached each paper:

  • Outline my initial thoughts and ideas

  • Write a rough (sometimes really rough) draft using the outline

  • Present the rough draft to a peer in order to receive feedback

  • Revise the draft based on the feedback

  • Submit a draft to my professor for grading

  • Receive feedback from my professor

  • Revise the essay based on the feedback

  • If I felt like it and had the time, turn in the essay once more to receive more feedback from my professor

  • Revise more based on that feedback

As you can see, I revised and revised and revised. I have never really loved revising, because sometimes my brain gets incredibly confused after looking at a jumble of words on the screen that probably made sense when I wrote them but no longer hold meaning. I think I have gotten better at revising because, as the adage goes, practice makes perfect Or, more appropriately practice makes progress.

Through revisions, I have also learned that sometimes you hit a point when developing the essay further is detrimental. Either life gets in the way or you just have no new inspiration. But I also think that is a part of writing; sometimes, projects just don’t work out the way you want them to.

I won’t pretend that this class has transformed me into a person that no longer worries about the grade. Up until this point, writing was about the result and not the development, and one semester does not erase twelve or thirteen years of learning. But I like to think I have started to recognize writing is more fun when I focus on what interests me about the text rather than the grade I receive.

To see if I can put my money where my mouth is, below are the links to each individual process of the six essays I wrote over this semester. Hopefully, you can learn something from me, as I learned from writing these essays.

Close Reading

Historical Contextualization

Critical Contextualization

Psychoanalytic Critique

Marxist/New Historicist Critique

Gender Critique/Deconstruction