When you talk to each other about a piece of writing, you reveal what you understand about the choices writers make. When you reflect on your writing, either as you work on revision planning, or as you look back on a finished draft, you reveal what you understand about the choices writers make.
However you may think of yourself, the moment you begin to compose your thoughts into a cohesive text — online, on a screen, on paper, in crayon on a napkin — you are a writer. You are using a technology people invented — symbolic recorded language — for an uncertain purpose that has been evolving and expanding for thousands of years. And that continues to evolve. Whatever your aspirations may be with regard to writing, when you encounter a technology, you have one of two choices: to improve your use of it, or not. Given that you’ll probably have to write in some form or another for the rest of your life, there really isn’t much choice. Who wants to do something poorly their entire life?
So now you signed on for this class and your teacher has been suggesting that the best way he can grade your growth as a writer is by reading your feedback, your reflections, and your revision plans. Maybe not what you expected.
I’ve told you what I’m looking for, and I think I’ve told you why.
The catch, the sticking point, is that for you to have a variety of things to give feedback about and to reflect on, you have to practice being willing writers. You have to give yourselves opportunities to make choices about the writing you do about the things that matter to you.
Imagine how intelligently you would be able to reflect on all the different kinds of choices you made as a writer if you wrote daily on your blog, read blogs by classmates, responded, joined all manner of written conversations all the time, and then at the end of the month reflected on the ways you tried to have an impact on your readers. Imagine the different ways you might talk about your choices if I asked you to do a revision plan for one proposed post during the following month. Contrast how you might imagine this kind of practice to doing an assignment I create every two or three week and reflecting on it when you’re done. Imagine the different ways you could reflect on your writing all the time, the different things that you could try, the different feedback you would give and receive.
If you’re not my student and you got this far, I hope there was something of value in this for you. If there wasn’t, I tried to warn you in the title. Sorry.
If you are my student, please respond and comment.