One’s own Theory of Writing is fairly unique to each person; whether it’s the pre-writing, writing, or rewriting, our minds are constantly reshaping ideas that produce a particular work like no other. My Theory of Writing is still in the process of development; no two writings share the same process. However, with each assignment, I am able to learn and mature in my writing process.
I chose to express my Theory of Writing in the form of an essay for numerous reasons. Considering the word count, it would’ve been difficult and unusual for me to write it in the form of a diary or letter. A diary is far more personal and relates more to one’s feelings on a deeper level, however, this assignment focuses on the development of one’s work as well as the feelings felt throughout the process without getting too personal. A letter is more formal in its presentation because it is mainly used for professional connections, and I feel that expressing my feelings in a formal language would restrict my reflection process because I would be more focused on my language and tone rather than the information provided in my writing. An essay allows me to explore both sides; I can get personal enough to share my experience throughout my Theory of Writing and create some formal tone throughout my writing because it most likely addresses professional connections.
The term “writing process” was completely new to me at the beginning of the semester. In high school or junior high school, reflecting on your own work didn’t happen often; when it did, it was a quick little summary at the end of class. As with many students, I have never paid attention to the importance of such activities because they weren’t highlighted throughout those years. As a college student, being first introduced to the Theory of Writing was eye-opening and, at first, useless; having no reflection on my work and actually thinking about the mindset that led up to it was a whole new experience for me. One of our first assignment was to read Reflective writing and the Revision Process: What were you thinking, this is the first encounter I had in the epiphany of the importance of a writing process and how your writing can develop with a constant reflection and revision of your Theory of Writing. I understood the contribution and the significance of having to reflect and developing your process, however, I just didn’t know how to create it on my own, considering I have never deeply thought about my own writing process. Even on my first reflection assignment, much of my writing was more general and had no clear way to show any development because I alluded to my high school writing experience as a whole, instead of constant development and maturation, and I had the notion of development but I didn’t know to present or show that I did. In this assignment, I intend on showing a certain path, unique to me, that has a Theory of Writing to a certain degree.
One of the contributors to my Theory of Writing is my environment. Whenever I start a new work/assignment, I have to be at home and have an environment quite enough to think and plan. It is hard for me to start or, sometimes, proceed a work outside of my home because my mind isn’t comfortable around a different surrounding and is constantly paying attention to the new environment rather than the content of my work. At home, I have the liberty to be in a comfortable position and mindset and give all in composing my work. I mainly verbalize or mouth my ideas because I can’t process all of them just by reading them or looking at them. Even when I’m reading, I can’t read without having to either mouth my words or slightly be able to hear what I am reading, otherwise, I can’t process what I’m reading. So, I need an environment that mainly quite that I can project my thoughts and plan out my research information. Besides my environment, the deadline for the assignment also affects how m writing turns out. I always start my work early and divide up how much writing I have to do per day that leads up to the submission. I don’t work the best under pressure because my mind would be focused on the time, not the work, so I would have many errors and conflicting claims. It’s difficult for me to do one assignment straight for hours on end, which some students do. My mind gets tired and it has a tendency to slack off; so starting my work early, and having a lot of time to complete it actually more relaxing, and doesn’t put a strain on my writing process.
Many of the skills I have learned before this class still have carried me through many of my assignments. Some of the things I already have understood before still appear in this class. Such as always going back to the source to prove your points regardless of how many claims you make. In the Source-Based Essay, I paraphrased and summarized many of the evidence in the articles and I was constantly reminded by my Professor to use evidence to back up the claims I make. For example, before putting all the paragraphs together, I wrote the rhetorical analysis of each of my sources because I didn’t know how to structure it at first. In my first written analysis, I stated, “ He ended the article in the possibility of exercise serving more than one purpose, therefore trying to persuade the audience into the possible benefits that physical activity may have”, however, on my final draft, the changes I made into my writing resulted in a quote to back up the claim I made.
He ended the article with a quote stating, ‘Vigorous exercise may produce a whole series of changes in the body that promote well-being, says Steptoe, of which a phenylethylamine boost could be just one aspect’ (Shouse). By ending the article in the possibility of exercise serving more than one purpose, he’s trying to persuade the audience into the possible benefits that physical activity may have and should be considered for other uses.
The difference the quote made between the two drafts is evident. Throughout the Source-Based Essay, I included much more evidence to back up my claims, rather than stating them in plain terms. This lesson always has a way to appear in my work and the Source-Based Essay was just one in many assignments that the need for always going back to the source has shown itself.
Another similarity between writing I have done previously and in this class is that my work has to create flow. Since the Source-Based Essay had many rhetorical elements, it was difficult to format and shape it to flow. But as I was organizing my paragraphs, I grouped elements that connected with each other and this flow went really well in presenting the articles and making an argument. Such as, I grouped the rhetorical elements purpose, medium, and genre together because each idea presented in one of the elements connected with that of others; in my first draft, I only made a rhetorical analysis on each article and having to group them in terms of their elements linked the articles together. Before this class, flowing of the paragraphs was also difficult for me, but I managed to organize it in a way that strengthened my essay. Not only does flow has to be between the paragraphs, but also transitioning from your words to the quotes. Even before this class, understanding that transition from your claim to the evidence strengthens your claims, and creates a better structure, which I used in the Source-Based Essay.
However, there are differences in what I have learned before this class and in this class. For example, the creativity of the essays in this class is up to us. Before this class, most of the writing was organized. Now, I have been given more liberty with how I structure my essay, even if I model it based on another article. Although this freedom has its perks, it is also very stressful. I find it slightly difficult to understand how the essays are to be formatted. Also, the sources in my previous writing were most likely given or based on a smaller number of sources, but in this class, I was exposed to different databases, which I have never used before, and a tremendous amount of sources to use and analyze. For example, in my Inquiry-Based Essay, I chose a very broad and controversial topic, culture’s effect on decision-making, and finding sources for this essay was very arduous and exhausting. I tried different combinations of words, such as culture and decision-making, individualism and collectivism, and culture and brain. With every five searches of different combinations, I refined the key terms to use. I used different databases like Academic OneFile, PsycArticles, and PsycINFO, etc. I skimmed through many articles and pages of searches to find what I needed but most of the articles related to culture in business management or presented ideas completely out of my scope of aim. These situations occurred in other in-class assignments as well, but this particular assignment was really difficult to begin. Despite all these stressors, I feel better about the new way of writing by asking a lot of questions to help me reach a point of clarity.
In class, the students had to choose a topic to work on; this was slightly difficult because, throughout my previous years of writing, I wasn’t given the choice to choose what to write about. So my writing was very structured and in the same format because that was what they expected/wanted, therefore, I didn’t have to think much about certain details. However, now, I have to consider rhetorical terms, structure, agenda, medium, and audience. Although this gives more freedom, it also increases the difficulty in what steps to take. When considering a topic, I always go with something close to me or what raises my curiosity the most to lessen the pressure of a myriad of possible topics. Recently, on the Composition of Two Genre assignment, animal cruelty was a topic I had deep beliefs about, and I wanted to project my message across a certain audience. At first, the topic I intended on doing was the general importance of happiness, but, my Professor found it too broad. Therefore, then I considered different topics by either discussing it with my closest friends or by setting up different alternatives in my mind, which led me to talk about an issue that has always been on my mind, subconsciously. When considering the audience, I always aim toward a group that will receive the message with an open mind, usually the young adults. The rhetorical elements simply follow the message and audience. Therefore, throughout the assignments, I have learned to first consider a basis, a message, and an audience for each writing I have done. However, I do understand the importance of other rhetorical elements, but they aren’t considered to be in my initial thought of formulating a basis for my topic. Afterward, I conduct research on my topic that correlates with my message to find supporting information. I begin writing/producing my assignment. At this point, I have a clear idea of what the finished product might look like, so I, without having to think, I simply start writing what’s on my mind. At the end of every action I took toward my genre of writing, I had to ask myself whether it satisfied the message. It was important to me that the message got across with a specific language tailored to my audience because I found myself getting really creative that kept going farther from the message and who it was for. For example, in my Composition of Two Genres, when I was gathering quotes for my poster I realized I went broad on my message and included quotes regarding animal fur, marine animal extinctions, and poaching. My message was about animal cruelty and its effects on animals and humans, I intended on focusing on cruelty in animal agriculture and some aspects of different types of animal cruelty, and mainly also mention its effects on the human population. However, I was getting too excited about the project that I misplaced my message and started including all types of animal cruelty, which was too much for my genres to handle and diverted away from the human aspect. So I ended up searching for more quotes and staying on my message.
After I finish my first draft, I take numerous steps to ensure I reach the final draft. By taking in the peer review notes and inspiration from others’ works, I incorporate the changes suggested. When taking in suggestions, I divert from writing it down on paper to remember it and, most of the time, use my phone to take down important ideas; in my argumentative essay for my US and Society class, I wrote my first draft and the professor was giving out suggestions and improvements, in my Notes app on my phone, I took down the following ideas,
What is lacking in the feminist movement of US that forough did
Talk about even her poems and how they have caused something
from November 25. Just like these suggestions, I have taken down numerous critiques based on my work in the class as well. For my Theory of Writing essay, my peers inspired me to write my writing process on a more personal level based on the peer review that occurred in class; I included my environment and mental space and it’s effects on the process of which my writing develops. I look through my draft and fix any mistakes or clarify an idea. Usually, afterward, I ask my friend to look over and edit it and comment on my work. This step helps me a lot because having multiple eyes to see the same paper has definitely improved my work. On the Composition of Two Genres, my friend was able to edit the content; when I had various quotes on the poster, she helped to minimize it so that the poster can look presentable and not jammed with information.
My writing process differs depending on many factors. The writing outside and inside the classroom heavily differ in their content, message, language, and purpose. The writing I have done outside of class includes text messages, social media posts, and comments. All of these fall under a category of informal writings because the receiver of the messages are most likely my peers. Most of my informal writing isn’t complete sentences and use abbreviations because, otherwise, it wouldn’t be a conversation or a quick post if it was long. My formal writing ideas and morals don’t intersect with that of my informal writings, so it can be said that I have two clear distinct writing styles. However, based on the audience, my texts and social media posts would have a completely different tone and language. For example, when I text my professor, I wouldn’t use abbreviations or slang, but a formal tone because we have a professional relationship. Also, if I were to post on social media about a current issue that we face, I would have a serious tone and address my peers in a language that they can interpret. Although subconsciously I knew that different tones and language would be used in each genre, the Freshman Composition class helped me understand the reasonings and become conscious of my mind’s abilities. Such as learning about the rhetorical terms and the importance of genres, I came to understand that each genre has its own set of rhetorical terms associated with it, therefore, now, every time I text or create a post, the rhetorical elements are subconsciously embedded in my mind.
To conclude, my Theory of Writing has evolved greatly throughout the semester. I came in contact with aspects of writing I didn’t consider before, and due to this, my writing has ascended to another level of depth. My writing process isn’t complex or unusual, in my opinion, but it is what I have encountered throughout this semester about myself and I intend on improving my process in the future. These types of writing are completely different than the years of writing we do before our college years. Even in this one semester, I have learned more about writing and about myself than the four years I spent in High School; much of what we did was repetitive, so having a new type of assignment to do was the fresh air we’ve been waiting for. Just as this semester, I hope my upcoming years also have a deeper effect on me and my work and allow for creativity.