I used to be shocked whenever I heard about how some author took five years to write a book. Five years? Who knew that the process of writing could be so extensive? After taking GWRIT, however, I realized all the different aspects that you need to consider when writing.
Whenever I began to write, I was always looking towards the finish line that I could finally cross. To me, once I had clicked the print button, it was all over and done with. The most important part of writing, however, is the race, the process of putting it all together. From this class, I learned that the process includes the use of outside sources and primary and secondary research. Another thing I never considered was who my audience will be and how I can appeal to them. (Brent Staples took the same life experience and constructed two completely different drafts on it based on the two completely different audiences that would be reading each one.) Receiving feedback from my professor and my peers allowed me to see my writing from new perspectives and how it sounded to the outside world.
The theme for my GWRIT class was revision, which by the near end of this semester had crafted a further and more complex definition into my head. Before, I understood revision as simply proofreading a paper and checking for grammatical errors. In some cases, maybe a little cutting and pasting of sentences was involved. Now, however, I see revision as a means to question the already existing. As a result of this, the writer is able to shed light on a new dimension of that discourse. From experience with my last paper, I found that this could take more time than expected.
The third paper assignment asked us to write about a specific advertisement, company, or campaign and reveal the hidden truths behind it. I began to research the clothing company American Apparel, and the more I read, the more intrigued I became. The message and intention behind its advertising was different than the rest of the gaggle of name brands today. As an argumentative piece, I strived to persuade my audience to take my side on the issue; however, I was having difficulty persuading myself first. The entire time I was writing my first draft, I was questioning my position on the topic. Despite this inner conflict, I surged forward. The result was an essay that sounded like it had been written indecisively, which was exactly the case. In my second attempt, I asked myself a simple question: did I feel offended when I looked at an American Apparel ad? The answer was no, and so I took a risk and wrote only for myself. The new result: the emergence of a voice, my voice.
This course has taught me that if you can’t persuade yourself, how can you possibly write an argumentative piece persuading someone else? More importantly, however, I discovered that you should write for yourself. Yes, considering your audience is vital, but that comes second. In the end, it doesn’t matter whether anyone else is satisfied with your work except for you. I think I’ve come a long way from my fourth grade narratives about talking hamsters to following the path of self-discovery in my writing, but my journey is not over yet.