February 7, 2009
I feel that I have learned a lot thus far in our English 101 class. Throughout my academic career, I have been composing numerous types of writing. However in the past, I have always felt afraid to fully express myself when writing. This I know is a very important aspect of composing and have been very critical of myself. When writing short stories, research papers, or essays, I have always expected to strive for perfection. I put effort and thought into each assignment. However, in Anne Lamott’s literature, you assigned the reading on “Shitty First Drafts”. It really helped me as a writer understand that most people don’t get it right their first try.
In high school when our teachers would have us write first drafts, initially I would approach it as preparing my complete story down on paper. Next, I proof read my work and correct the grammar and punctuation. Often, I will have someone read it for composition and clarification of my sentences. Finally, I would prepare my final copy. Ironically, it was pretty much identical to my first draft. Up until this point in my life, I have never looked at a first draft as just something to get your ideas down and get you started. After reading “Shitty First Drafts” and discussing it in class, I have felt so much less pressure knowing that my writings don’t have to be perfect the first time through. This is why I really like how you give us the opportunity to revise our essays as many times as we need to get them to our satisfaction. I know that I’m never content with my writings, because they never seem complete. Often it reaches the point when I get frustrated and think, “Okay, I need to just quit, turn it in, and stop stressing over it.”
All of the literatures we have read so far have been very helpful to me. Some of the readings were not as interesting in comparison to others. However, they all pertain to what we are doing in class. They also really help with writing our essays. For example, Millie Chen’s Winter Day, is a good example of how to write a scent essay.
I think one of the best books you had us purchase would definitely be the Writer’s Reference book by Diana Hacker. I don’t think I’ve ever found a book more helpful than this one. Any question I could possibly have about writing is answered in this book. I love how it shows you actual examples of how to write your paper in MLA and CMS format. Also, I really appreciate how it teaches you to do a works cited page. This is definitely one step of writing I always seem to have trouble with.
As a writer, one thing I really need to work on is organizing my thoughts better. I don’t think my transitions and paragraphs always flow well for my audience. I really want to be able to create writings that interest not only me, but my audience as well. I feel that I do a lot better when I’m describing a personal experience; because I just seem to tell the story. I would like to learn a way that I can get my audience more involved in my writing instead of just laying all the facts right in front of them. I hope by the end of the semester, I will be able to accomplish this goal. Unfortunately, it may take a lot of work for me. I feel that my writing skills have improved because my sentences have better structure. I can always improve more in each assignment since you are doing a great job at helping us learn and discover ourselves through our writing. Thanks Marlen!