June 28, 2015

Reflections of This Writer's Process

Reflections of This Writer's Process
I hesitate in sharing this paper I wrote as a final Essay in Engish class back in 2008, but I had fun and thought someone might find it amusing.

    Reflecting upon my writing process is an adventure in and of itself. As I at first, find myself somewhat a negative starter. I tend to stew and brew over the subject in the front of my mind. I moan and groan to my wife, my family, and my friends about how mentally anguishing every paper is. But in the back of my mind the wheels are whirling, the gears are churning and questions begin to move back and forth, up and down, like an old movie projector that takes a little bit of time to get up to speed. Most of the time, I have not even written anything down at this point, but thoughts begin to form into ideas. Ideas become a picture in my mind and when the picture is clear enough I begin to write.
    As I write, I try to feel the words as they appear on my screen, if they feel good, I keep them, if they don’t, I delete them. This process can be time consuming, but it is the only way I know how to write. Planning is a weakness for me. I am A.D.D. and easily distracted. Setting up an outline detracts from my flow and often I feel rushed and insincere in my approach to a subject. Outlines are one technique that would cause my phobic tensions to rise beyond healthy levels when I was in High School. So, instead I rely upon voices that speak in my head. Sometimes those voices are teachers, relatives, parents, and friends. I even hear dead people! I know this may sound weird, but I did say that my writing process was an adventure. These voices, memories, thoughts, and ideas give me my “call to write.” I have always struggled to read books, I have had to grasp concepts, and think ahead of others in order to survive. By imagining my mentors antagonists, and protagonist reactions, attitudes, beliefs, and understandings I increased my knowledge through them. In this way I call upon their advice and opinions to help me to express my thoughts on paper.
    I have always had a tendency to try to get into peoples heads, and try to figure out what they are thinking and feeling. This helps me to find the voice which I choose to use in writing my papers. If I know the person I am writing to I will often bring phrases or words that mean something to them that may not mean anything to anyone else. Depending on the purpose, I may even attempt to use their own voice and tones in my own writing. If I don’t know the person or audience that I am writing to I gather as many clues as possible to find out what their opinions and feelings are on the given subject as well as subjects that may indirectly or directly be related to the subject that we are addressing. Once I have determined what they believe I look at what I believe, and I seek some sort of common ground. This often requires some research. Ah, that dreaded reading thing again. However, I found that while researching requires reading, it is a focused reading, and it tends not to intimidate me quite as much as sitting down and reading a novel. If I have no common ground then I call upon the wisdom and expressions of those voices in my head to help me express myself using a logical, non-judgmental voice. And so, the adventure continues.
    When I am writing a research paper my process is very similar to other papers however, I find that in order for me to have confidence in my argument I have to create a picture of a conclusion in my mind. Once I have a conclusion then I hash out why that conclusion would or would not work, using the voices of protagonists and antagonists to help me push the theory along. Once I have created this solution in my mind, I test it on people who may or may not have an interest in the subject. I seek out their opinions or ideas, there concerns, their feelings, or any obstacles that they may see in the conclusion. These become some of the voices that I listen to throughout the writing process. I add these to my thoughts, and at this point I may even change my opinion on a given subject; however, I try to leave myself open to new ideas through out the process. I try not to rely upon theories, or opinions alone. But I have often found that when researching a subject there are more theories and opinions out there than actual facts. The same statistics are often used to prove both sides of an issue, and whenever I think of statistics I hear my statistics teacher say, “… there are lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics!” So, when I do use statistics I try to use them in context, to the best of my ability. I personally feel a responsibility to make my reader a better person for reading what I have researched. I like to do this by simplifying the complex, giving more people an opportunity to share a deeper understanding of the world around them.
    Well, as I said understanding my writing process is an adventure. I actually did not realize what my “call to write” meant, until I began to reflect upon the processes that I use to write my papers. It may not be conventional, but it works for me, and each class that I have taken I have learned a little more how to free the voices that paint my mind with word pictures that bring me and hopefully others valued entertainment, as well as a deeper understanding of issues that drive us as individuals, as a community, and as members of the human race. 

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