Thursday, August 30, 2007

Exercise 2.1 - My Writing Process

Usually, when I first start writing, I just write about whatever comes to mind (dumping). It helps me to clear my mind. When I am ready to start writing, I find a quiet spot (usually sitting on my bed with an air freshener or candle close by) and then just start typing my idea into my computer. Occasionally, I will write with paper and pen or write out an outline, but the paper usually comes together when I am just writing it in my computer and then go back and organize, edit and revise. Using the computer is usually best for me because I can go faster than with pen and paper, but sometimes the computer doesn't want to work for some reason or I just want to write on paper.

My assignments have varied extensively in terms of the audiences for which I write, from children to adults, students to teachers, and/or friends to strangers. I always take the time to consider my audience because I believe that it is one of the most important factors that determine the success or effectiveness of my paper.

When I write, I can usually just sit down and write the first draft in one sitting. However, if I get stuck, I leave it alone for at least an hour to give my mind a chance to think about it and then get back to it.

I am not the best decision maker, so the hardest part of writing for me is deciding on a topic. Sometimes it worries me, but if I talk it out with someone or think about it for a while, I can usually come up with at least a vague direction if not a specific topic. Then, I research my topic by looking at things on the computer, writing about what I already know and talking about it with other people.

My favorite part about the writing process is the revision. It is so much fun to play with my paper to make it better. I think this is also my strongest area besides being such a good organizer. I am a perfectionist and also greatly enjoy using the English language to the best of it's ability.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Step 2 - "Just the facts!" vs. "Well, I think..."

There is a big difference between facts and opinions. In short, facts are solid and unchanging and opinions are subjective and changeable.

Facts are things with which no one can argue. Dictionaries and encyclopedias are full of facts. If you ever wonder what a "bug" is, you can look it up in the dictionary and it will give you the facts about "bugs." However, there are several different kinds of bugs. People can have their own opinions about which kind of "bug" is really a bug.

Opinions are things that we form based on the information we receive. They are things that we can (and frequently do) argue about. I think that a bug is something small that can be squished under ones foot. The key phrase is "I think." You may think that a bug is an annoying sickness that you can catch from someone else. We both have our opinions, but the facts say that we are both right.

I think that is possible to confuse facts and opinions, which is why it is so important to be careful how we analyze our information. Frequently, people like to state their opinions as facts because it makes it sound more authoritative and convincing. However, it is misleading. The facts are "just the facts" and what we add to them are our own opinions.

Sometimes, our beliefs determine what we believe are the facts. Here it is often difficult to separate facts and opinions. So, my opinion has now changed. I believe that the fact is as follows: Some facts and opinions are easily identified, but others are harder to separate and discern.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Step One - Research Rumors & Rulings

Usually, when you are writing a paper, you are supposed to be objective, or so I have heard. I think it is important to have an objective, then you actually have a reason to write a paper and do research, plus, you will have motivation. However, I am not sure that you always have to be objective, because sometimes papers take turns and you have to revise the message or thesis of your paper.

Originality. It is something I strive for in my papers, because it is what makes it mine and my idea. I am not sure that you can use another person's ideas as the theme of your paper because it is not something that you have developed yourself. It is not something that you are trying to find out because usually if it is not original, then someone else has already found an answer. i think it is perfectly possible to ask the same question and come up with a different answer. There are a lot of things that have more than one right answer.

I believe that I am not sure if I agree that the word "I" can be used in a paper. I have heard that it shouldn't be, but my last English class made me toss that idea out and accept the "I" because it is what makes my work more personal. I think that it sounds more professional not to use it, but I am rather undecided whether I like it in my writing or not.

Having heard so many outlandish (to me, anyway) things about writing papers has caused me to develop my own ideas. I am the queen of revision. I revise and revise and cut, paste, reorganize and revise some more. I believe that I am not just writing a paper for my instructor so I can get an "A" (though, I wouldn't mind that) I think that when we write, it helps us to define ourselves because, usually, we have to make a decision about where we stand on an issue, how something makes us feel, or what we think should be done to solve a problem. As I research more about my topic, I start to see things from different perspectives which may change how I see my topic or support what I originally thought. In order to use my new found information and beliefs about my topic, I will be doing quite a bit of revising to my paper and thesis, maybe even shifting gears and taking my paper in a completely different direction. Usually, an instructor does not care one way or the other which way you approach a topic, but it will matter to you, as it should.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Hello, one and all!
Welcome to my English 102 blog spot. I hope you enjoy the numerous writing assignments that will soon fill this space. May they fascinate and entertain you as the semester progresses! (Yes, I know that is a fragment; it is intentional! ;-)

Hope you all have a wonderful semester! I will be researching and writing until I can no more. Here's to an exciting semester! =D