This quarter, I learned many valuable lessons about writing. First, I learned the importance of the multi-paragraph structure over the five-paragraph standard that I was taught before this class. The multi-paragraph essay provides more depth, analysis, and clarity than the five-paragraph essay because the writer has to have a paragraph each with its own main idea that helps support the thesis rather than having a couple large paragraphs that seem all over the place with different points that lack in-depth analysis due to paragraph constraints. In addition, I learned the importance of having my peers review my essays. It is extremely helpful to have an outside point of view when writing. This way, my peers can help me catch mistakes that I may have missed if I reviewed my essay on my own and teach me different nuances of writing that they have under their belts from past experiences. As helpful as peer review is though, I also learned that it is important to remember that the peer reviews are only suggestions, not commands on how to improve my paper. As the writer, I can pick and choose which suggestions I feel would help advance my essay in the direction that I want it to go. The lessons that I learned in UWP 1Y will be very useful when I have to write essays and research papers for my classes in the future. Thanks to UWP 1Y, I feel more prepared than ever to tackle the 10-page papers that I will be expected to write for my future classes at UC Davis.
I feel that the beginning stages of my writing process are still analogous to my initial writing process at the beginning of the quarter. To begin, I first need to brainstorm my ideas. I gather my ideas and formulate a plan in my head as I envision what I want my essay to look like, how I want it to sound, and how I want others to feel as they read the paper. Then with all of that in mind, I start free-writing my first draft. Anything that comes to mind, I will write down in order to keep my ideas flowing through my head. Once I am done writing the first draft, I will take a break and then come back and start revising the paper into my second draft. I would review each sentence, keeping ideas that I liked and discarding those that did not seem to work. After finishing my second draft, I usually ask someone else to read my paper and tell me what they think about it (what they liked, did not like, and possible areas of improvement). I would listen to what my peer would have to say and then think about which pieces of advice I wanted to incorporate into my essay in order to enhance the quality of my writing. I would then begin my revising process when I finished applying the suggestions that I liked from my reviewer. During my revision process, I would go through each paragraph to make sure that each had its own main idea and that the flow between paragraphs transitioned smoothly. Finally, I check my grammar and spelling, and submit my final draft.
How I Feel About Writing
Writing is like an outlet to another world. Every word you write can take you farther and farther away to worlds of imagination and wonder. Writing allows me to express myself in a way that by far exceeds the limitations that come with other forms of communication. At the beginning of the quarter, I was apprehensive about writer's block and the intimidation that comes with staring at a blank screen during the first stages of the writing process.
However, from everything that I learned this quarter, the blank screen seems less scary. I now know that I just need to start writing away to get myself in the flow of things. Putting pen to paper is the most effective way to get out of writer's block. If I just keep writing, eventually, something will stand out from all of my ideas and sow me a path for my writing to take for that assignment. Once you get past that first wall of writer's block, writing can be really fun!