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.