The Final Goodbye

Dear Portfolio Readers,

To be honest, I never looked forward to taking this UWP class. I came back to Davis for sophomore year dreading the idea of writing essays. I even went into the first day of class with major anxiety because of how much writing made me want to vomit.

For the most part, writing has always been my weak point, as I’m sure some of you feel the same. I either have too much to say or not enough, and it’s frustrating and anxiety-inducing. It really showed in my assignment drafts because they were confused and disorganized in all ways imaginable. Words were misspelled, sentences were left unfinished, ideas often rambled on and were not coherent. It was a giant mess to say the least. The first couple of assignments really depicted this disorder and chaos, especially my problem project. It was like someone let words run wild on paper. But logorrhea had always worked best for me in high school, so it was natural for me to spew words onto paper. The only downside of it was that it got difficult to revise because everything was so jumbled. So I was stuck in this stagnant place in the course where my writing was just too jumbled to understand.

Things in this class didn’t really change until DJ came out and said, “It is perfectly okay to have a shitty first draft”.

And then BAM.

Everything changed. His reassurance helped me understand it was okay to embrace the madness because it allowed room for revision and improvement. Because the first draft was so “shitty”, I’ve decided to include the problem project here  to show you what a difference the realization made. It showed me there are different ways to channel my inner word vomit and still have structure, kind of like puking, only this time in a bucket, and not all over the bathroom floor. The way I “organized” my problem project reflects this realization. Knowing that a crappy first draft was acceptable let me feel comfortable with experimenting. So for the project, before I wrote anything down, I gave myself 2 minutes to think of potential ideas I wanted to focus on and then freewrote about each topic for 5 minutes, which is different from anything I’ve done before. It was still word vomit, just directed vomit.

But that’s only half of the writing process. Revision, which accounts for the other half and 99% of my stress, is a whole different ball game and can be more difficult, depending on how impatient I am. Ironically, I find it amusing how crappy my first drafts were, but it gave me room to develop ideas and put all the puzzle pieces together. Unlike a lot of people, I think peer review is actually one of the better parts of writing and a great resource for revision. Because I’m normally enthusiastic and positive when critiquing my peers’ work, I usually get the same kinds responses. It makes revising a positive experience, as opposed to a dreadful series of insecurities from what I remember from high school. So don’t be too nervous about peer review. I remember a peer review comment that read “Love this idea! It rocks my socks off so build on it”. It’s small comments like these that made writing not as scary for me. Knowing that I was surrounded by positive energy this quarter changed my idea of writing and made me feel comfortable with it.

Hopefully, I won’t ever need to write a perspective analysis or literacy narrative, but in the event I absolutely had to, I feel confident I’d be able to do so without major anxiety thanks to this class.

Aside from learning how to rock people’s socks off, this class has taught me so much about myself and my writing. It taught me to be confident and fearless inside and outside of the classroom. But out of everything, the most important takeaway is that writing is not for me. It takes a very specific type of person to enjoy it and do it for a living. After taking this class, I know that person isn’t me. But that doesn’t mean writing isn’t for you. You never know until you try it and I think this class is a great way to find out.

Hope you guys will enjoy this class as much as I have!

Best,

Jas