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I was, at the time I started this blog, part of a class at Kalamazoo College on food and travel writing. So if you like food, or travel, or participating in interesting discussions having to do with both or either of those things, you are in the right place. Also, you should check out my classmates' blogs because they're awesome.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Process Writing

Each piece for this class pretty much started with my personal reactions to whatever had been assigned, whether it was a reading response or one of the three big writing assignments we did. I know that I learn better when I can relate things from class to things that have happened in my life or to other things that I may know more about than the subject being discussed in class or in the readings. Then after I finished an assignment I would wait for feedback and then react to or change things based on the feedback I got.
I got frustrated when I thought I was being clear, but people didn’t understand what I was talking about. I also got frustrated with my apparent inability to control my tangents. I don’t talk very much out loud, but it would seem that I more than make up for it in writing. That’s sometimes a bad thing, because too many random tangents can take away from the point I’m trying to make, I just won’t see it because in my mind everything makes sense.
Breakthroughs definitely came when I figured out a new way to say something that I hadn’t before. For example there was a line in the first draft of my restaurant review that said something vague about smoky and spicy smells that restaurants serving Middle-and South-Eastern cuisine usually do, but then I figured out I could be more specific and people might better understand what I meant.
With each draft and workshop I tried to incorporate both the professor’s written feedback on the hard copy and the verbal feedback from my classmates. In some cases I was more successful than in others; the last big written assignment was especially difficult because it was rather open-ended and I tend to stumble a bit when things aren’t directly outlined for me in the instructions for an assignment. I realize I’m in college and that’s probably something I should work on because a lot of paper prompts are rather open-ended, but that’s just the way I work. I like everything to be laid out specifically so I know exactly what the professor wants by means of a response.
Writing for this course, as I’ve already said, has made me realize that I tend to talk about myself. A whole lot. Absolutely everything is about me, things I’ve done, my family, my friends. Frankly, I think it’s a little bit embarrassing. I try not to talk about myself out loud all that much because I think doing so makes me sound like a self-centered twerp, but apparently I have no such worries in writing. No matter what, the first thing I think of when asked to respond to a reading or an assignment is something that has to do with myself. To me that says I need to focus less on the actual personal experience and more about how the experience relates to the assignment and then analyze what that might mean. Less personal anecdotes and more analyzing the motivation behind the personal anecdote and why the assignment made me think of it.
No one wants to hear someone talk about themselves incessantly, including me, so I think it’s time I toned down the storyteller part of me and exercised more of the analytical thinking side. I might want to write fiction as a job, but that doesn’t mean I can incorporate stories in all my assignments for classes.  

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