Truthfully, I entered UWP 01 feeling confident about my writing skills being decent enough to pass through academics, and only enjoyed outside academic writing because I knew they did not have to be perfect. However, that was not the case. UWP 01 reminded me of writing techniques I can still apply to for future writing classes. One example is that I can take notes however way I want; I can make them look cute and add symbols to help me remember information. This class also reminded me that writing something for the first time is never going to be perfect, which should not stop me from trying to improve it again and again. Before entering the class, I thought “good writing” meant writing something that would be unforgettable and enjoyable to read, along with thoughtful sentence structures and format. I thought “good writing” only benefited readers. However, “good writing” also serves some benefit to writers themselves. Now, I would define “good writing” as something that both readers and writers can learn and remember from.
Some of the issues that I came into the class with were figuring out what I wanted to write about and writing a conclusion. For instance, every time we had a new assignment to do, I would have this fear of starting it because I was not sure what to write about. Of course, eventually I did write up something, but I never felt 100% confident in that topic unless I knew that it was something I could naturally talk about and correspond to the prompt. A good example of this would be the first writing assignment “Literacy Narrative”. I felt that there were many small instances that motivated me to be passionate about writing for personal enjoyment, but not for academics. In my literacy narrative assignment, I wrote about writing letters as a kid helped inspired me to be better at writing. While it is true, writing letter itself made me feel good. I see it as therapeutic method and a way to communicate with my friends and family. Therefore, it was challenging to explain and conclude how that one moment, writing letters to a pen pal in kindergarten, encouraged me to be a better writer.
Although, despite feeling unsure about the topic I picked for the “Literacy Narrative” assignment, my peer editing group enjoyed my content. They explained that it was refreshing and nostalgic, but the only thing lacking was my conclusion and asked how this moment could respond back to the prompt. I think that this sort of issue was not something I could openly talk about with my peer editing group since the concluding process is a crucial part on learning about myself as an individual and as a writer. In my rough drafts, I was not sure how to tie the assignment back to my prompt and lead it to the conclusion. So, in my second draft, I tried to elaborate on different types of letters, such as cover letters for resumes or portfolios. However, I found myself feeling distasteful over that segment, because it felt like it had less of a connection to my kindergarten self writing casual letters to a friend. It felt uninteresting and forced. I ended up scrapping up most of that segment for my final draft, and simplifying it to tie it back to the prompt.
In addition, I chose to share this writing assignment in my portfolio because throughout the rough drafts, I was struggling a lot on how to tie it back to the prompt and writing the conclusion. However, in the end, after receiving feedback from Professor Burdock, I found that my conclusion was good, and I only needed to fix some tenses and discuss how my letter writing process changed since then. All in all, comparing this writing assignment to my past writing assignments shows that it is easy for me to share a personal story, but analyzing them made me feel uncomfortable in comparison to writing an analysis for a research paper since I have less relation to them. Simply put, it was difficult to analyze a personal experience because although it is reflective, I did not want to completely change how I see these personal experiences.
For my other writing assignment, on Discourse Community, I had an idea of what community I could write about, but it had to be in a form of an APA-style research paper. Because this research paper format was different from the usual format I was used to, which was MLA, it made me feel extremely doubtful and unsure of my thesis. Although, looking at my peer editing group’s essay, it gave me ideas on my formatting. But then, I decided to include illustrations to my research paper, and that, again, confused me once more. It felt like a giant mess.
No one else in my group were doing illustrations, and I needed to figure out how I wanted to format it. Therefore, I decided to ask Professor Burdock. Professor Burdock looked over my research paper and drawings and stated that I needed to work on my formatting, including personal and family history, and introducing my interviewees. Thus, I spent hours figuring out how to reformat my paper. The process was silly. I kept thinking that I should try to move texts onto my illustrated images, but in the end I realized I could have just cropped and added images into the word document of my research paper. As I reworked my final draft of the research paper, I realized there were things I no longer needed and the things that I lacked and should include. And it meant scrapping away and adding new elements. I found that my interviews were not as useful as my personal experience for my primary research, and had to remove them. I also found that I needed a general introduction of my discourse community in the beginning so that I could bring it up later in my conclusion. Realizing all of this, helped me write a proper conclusion and thesis. If I had more time to work on my paper, and had I known from the beginning that I wanted to include illustrations, I would have added more illustrations to further personalize my research paper.
UWP 01 has reminded me that even though academic writing is drudgery, this shouldn’t be prevent myself from improving, in addition to exploring new ways of composing them. Starting a new prompt’s first draft is never easy. Yet, it’s the most important hurdle in getting through an assignment. Looking back on this class, I feel that I can be less constrained about my writing. My research paper portrays that I can feel less constrained about my writing since I was always used to writing research papers in an academic fashion. For this particular research paper, I am thankful that Professor Burdock encouraged me to do illustrations. It helped me open up my inner emotions. Furthermore, my peers and Professor Burdock led me to feel more confident about my writing choices since I always felt unsure if my topics were relevant to the prompts. My literacy narrative paper is a good example of how I felt unsure of my topic, but ended up being well-written after doing numerous drafts. Lastly, I am thankful to my peer editing groups and Professor Burdock for being another inspiration to writing!