The Writing Process

I have always had a love for writing since I was in middle school and used to write short stories on pieces of computer paper that I stapled together and brought along with me wherever I went. In high school, I always had a dozen unfinished word documents of fiction stories I always had a great introduction for but quickly tired of the characters or the story line. In college, I discovered a love for free verse poetry. I find myself jotting down lines for poems throughout my day to day, and found poems are much easier to complete since they are so much shorter.

As a student, I was a different type of writer. My English classes oftentimes prompted essay writing with a specific question to answer, so there wasn’t nearly as much freedom as my creative writing. I would tend to procrastinate and write these 2-10 page papers in one sitting, with little to no pre-writing whatsoever. I rarely liked the papers that I created, and honestly if I read any of them over today I probably wouldn’t recognize the work as my own. This writing was impersonal, plain, and simply a product of basically writing the same “five-paragraph essay” format over and over again. However, time and time again I received high grades on these papers, only encouraging and rewarding my procrastination and minimal work.

The Flowers & Hayes article prompted me to reflect upon my own writing process. I would like to consider myself a “good writer” based on the feedback of previous English teachers and my own pleasure in writing. I relate more so to the Cognitive Process Model (Flowers and Hayes, 397) , because when I write I find myself starting and ending in very different places depending on the type of writing. In no way do I relate my own process to the linear model, being that I never find myself creating an outline or pre-writing whatsoever.

Although Flowers & Hayes make a point that a writer’s own “introspective analysis of what they did while writing is notoriously inaccurate and likely to be influenced by their notions of what they should have done” (Flowers and Hayes, 398), I will do my best to give an unbiased reflection of my writing. Most importantly, I know I write differently based on the type of writing. In academic writing, I simply write in large quantities under high stress, read it over once for grammatical errors, drop it in the dropbox, and never look back. In creative writing, I take more time. I will still write the piece in full the first time through, but I will revisit it and revise. I will read it aloud, read it to others for critique, and invest myself in it.

Attached is a link to an article about “qualities of a good writer”. I thought it brought up a unique perspective that the quality of writing is not determined by the author, but by the reader. Good writing answers questions, is structured, and collaborative. As a teacher, I think it is important to focus on these ideals because oftentimes the work done in classrooms teaches students that writing is about grammar and the “right” answer to the prompt.

 

http://annhandley.com/9-qualities-of-good-writing/#.Wo26RuinHrd

 

writing

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4 Replies to “The Writing Process”

  1. Reading your story about academic writing is very similar to my own. I would often wait until the very last night to write my essays and still received excellent grades. Not to sound as if I am bragging, but my teacher kept one of my last minute papers as an example for future students. Just like you, this only seemed like encouragement for my bad habits. They stayed with me into college until I realized that I could no longer do that without literally pulling my hair out. I also tend to not create outlines, rather I jump straight in to the writing. It’s very interesting your divide of attention between creative writing and academic. I wonder if there is a way you can make academic writing as interesting or engaging as creative writing…

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  2. Sometimes I fall into procrastinating and have to write full length papers in one sitting. However, sometimes it turns out to be some of my best work. I think its because I am so focused on finishing the paper that my thoughts are more intone and focused as well; I already know what to include in the paper.

    I love writing and used to a lot more when I was younger. Whether it be in my journal, short stories and poetry, I did it all. Its nice to see that its something that we both didn’t grow out of doing.

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  3. You say it well when you say … “I find myself starting and ending in very different places depending on what type of writing I am doing”

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  4. Hi Alyssa,
    Firstly, I love the image of you carrying around your short stories written on stapled computer paper. I always struggled to come up with any ideas when challenged to write fiction pieces, so I think it is really cool that you had so many fiction plot and character ideas, even if you didn’t always complete the piece.

    I agree, being assigned academic 5 paragraph essays over and over did not help me to improve as a writer or discover my writing process. I enjoyed the link about qualities of a good writer!

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