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Open Collection of Student Writing (OCSW)

The Process of My Writing

A portrait essay about yourself “should illustrate key points about how you use, or have used, writing and language as resources in your life” (Project 1: Self Study of My Writing Life Deliverables: Here’s What You’ll Submit, pg. 1).

This self-portrait essay of how we use writing in our everyday lives confused me and had me scratching at my head. The examples I’ve read like “Kissing Ass on Accident” and “Once a Week” did not cease my scratching, in fact it made it even worse. I’m positive I was overthinking it too much because that’s what happens whenever I don’t fully understand a concept the first time. I’ve noticed that if I don’t understand it I won’t set up a date to just focus on a writing assignment, and if I don’t set up a date then I will not have any interest in it what so ever. If I don’t have any interest then the essay will just have meaningless words on a paper.

Based on what I could find from my past assignments I could tell which ones I was interested in and which ones I didn’t care for. The way I could tell I was interested in it was the way I wrote the introduction and the conclusion for my Joan of Arc essay (Last Name, Figure 4) and thinking back on my past essays it was the best one that I’ve written that can remember (in my opinion of course).

My other paper that I had written was about Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat (Last Name, Figure 1) who was the founder of the Society of the Sacred Heart, a catholic religious congregation of women devoted to the education of girls. I had to choose a saint name that could represent me and at the time I had no idea of who to choose so I just looked up one who had relations or was involved in education. Then I had to write a paper about who the saint is and why I chose it. I was not interest in the subject at all. It was probably because I was so uncertain of the saint I chose for my confirmation. If I put the two pieces of work side by side I could tell which one I worked  hard on and had interest in and the one where I didn’t care. If I don’t understand or if I’m stumped then I’m not prepared, much like this self-portrait assignment. It wasn’t until I read the “Project 1 Example 3” when it kind of clicked. I think it clicked because this example was something I could relate to more than “Once a Week” and “Kissing Ass on Accident”. After having an epiphany I realized I could elaborate more on my Unit 1 Homework 8 assignment (Last Name, Figure 3) that I wrote and decided to go from there.

As I’ve said before if I don’t understand the writing assignment or I’m just stuck on ideas then I won’t be prepared to write or start brainstorming for the essay and being prepared for a writing assignment means a great deal with ho I write successfully to where it’s at least  enough for a good C+ or a B. I won’t lie, I have terrible grammar. Based on what I can remember all of my pieces of writing had problems with grammar and maybe the thesis.

Anyways, back to why preparing to write is important to my writing process. After the lecture “How to Read a Text Book” (Last Name, Figure 2) in Essentials of College Study class and going back to my Unit 1 Homework 8, method 2: Self-Observation (Last Name, Figure 3), I realized that I prepare for my writing as you would prepare to read a text book. According to the lecture under “Goal Number 1: Spend Less Time” (Last Name, Figure 2) it takes preparation and in that preparation is time, materials and strategy, but I only use two of those methods. In the lecture time means “how much”, “how long”, and “due date”. When reading a text book “how much” means how much you have to read. “How long” means how long is it going to take you to read the material and “due date” is what you have due after you read the materials like a summary, or a review before a class discussion or a quiz. How I prepare my writing is similar, I use the “how much” as how much do I need to write for a particular writing assignment. In this case for the self-portrait essay I have to write a 750 – 1000 word portrait and I have to submit a 250 – 300 word essay that reflects on my process for completing the self-study. For the “how long” I’m using it as, how long is it going to take me to write the portrait essay, and honestly I don’t know for sure but I do know the “due date” or due dates I should say. Next is the materials for the “How to ReadPicture of desk near window with backpack, folder, papers, computer and headphones on it. a Text Book” materials, it gave examples such as highlighters, study guides, and notes to help you prepare to “spend less time” reading a textbook. “I notice that before I start to write I like to prepare myself by setting up a work station first” (Last Name, Figure 3). I have only two places where I set up my work station. My first choice is the library. At the library I get a lot more accomplished, I don’t take as many breaks as I do when I’m at home. The library to me also gives off a vibe of no entertainment go study feel to me. I think it also helps when see others do work as well is. The only time I work at home is when I’m too late to go to the library because if I don’t arrive at the library at a certain time it gets too crowded and then I won’t be able to find an open secluded spot to work at. So if I miss my opportune moment just stick to the dining room table that sits next to these big windows. If I work anywhere else then I know I’ll get distracted and then I won’t finish my homework. My parents also tell Picture of desk with computer, paper with writing on it, pens, headphone and folderme that I work better with people around because then I don’t have a tendency to look at my phone very often. At my work station that I set up I like to “have everything close by like my surface and phone charger, my notebooks, my phone, earbuds, a pencil and pen”. I also like to have something to drink, preferably tea or coffee and I like to have something to munch on while I’m writing. I like listening to classical music while I’m brainstorming and writing, but when I’m just typing up my paper I switch to songs from the 50’s to the 80’s or Disney songs. I figured out that if I have music on or if I have something to drink and eat I don’t get easily bored. I always make sure I have all my materials before is tart so that I don’t get up and out of my seat every time I forget something or if I want a snack (Unit 1 Homework 8, Method 2: Self-Observation) (Last Name, Figure 3).

Now, onto my actual process of writing. “When I’m brainstorming or planning to start my writing I start with pen and paper. I’ll start with figuring out what I want to write in the body, then I write the introduction. If I’m not stumped on an essay I try to come up with the summary but if not then I just wait till I’m done filling out the blanks till the end”. If I pause to think of what else I could write or how I should continue onto the next paragraph of my body I either stretch, take a sip of my tea or take a bite out of my snack. Once I’m done writing and all I have to do is revise it, “I take an hour break” then come back to revise my work with some refreshed pair of eyes. After revision I start typing while listening the oldies or Disney music.

This process is how I usually do my writing assignments, but for this self-portrait essay I did I completely different. I didn’t use an outline to plan my writing. This time I was free writing (?). I don’t know what you would call it but I didn’t use a plan. Which is unusual because normally I have to have some sort of structure to help me write. I might have done my writing this way before but as for examples I can’t remember. This was a different experience for me while writing especially an assignment this long without any planning. During this self-portrait I’ve noticed somethings that I haven’t before and I guess that’s due to the self-observation method and maybe some reflecting. This whole assignment I basically wrote about how I use writing in my life while writing this, my self-portrait. This assignment is definitely different from my other work.

Image of student project

Last Name, Figure 1


Written Notes about "How to Read a Textbook"

Last Name, Figure 2

Image of Self-Observation Paragraph

Last Name, Figure 3

Image of first page of essay with notes in margins

Last Name, Figure 4, Pg 1


Image of second page of essay

Last Name, Figure 4, Pg. 2


Image of essay, third page

Last Name, Figure 4, Pg. 3

Image of third page of essay

Last Name, Figure 4, Pg. 3

Image of Fourth page of essay

Last Name, Figure 4, Pg. 4


Image of Essay's works cited page

Last Name, Figure 4, Pg. 6


This assignment wasn’t like any of the others that I have done in the past. This essay was challenging, not because of procrastination or just no time to do it. I had no idea on how to start it. The examples from class, “Kissing Ass on Accident” and “Once a Week” were not relatable to me at all. By then the deadline for the first rough draft was coming up fast. So I did what I usually do when I have to write a paper. I set a date and focused on the topic. Nothing came up. I’ve talked with others about this assignment and they didn’t understand what was being asked of me either. Especially since I could only two reliable artifacts from all the writing assignments I did. Others and myself couldn’t understand how one could write a paper on how someone uses writing I their everyday lives using posts on Facebook such as movie trailers because that’s all I post and emails between coworkers when all I ever write is to ask for someone to cover my shift. It wasn’t until the day after the first rough draft due date that I finally knew what I was going to write about and this process was not like any of the other assignments I had to do. There was no planning involved just straight free hand. There is nothing particularly new that I didn’t know before about myself I think this assignment just made me more aware.

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