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Unit 2 Assignment: Writing Processes and Practices
Background
The authors we’ve read in Unit 2 clearly believe that good writing takes hard work and multiple drafts and that many of us are hampered from being better writers by the “rules” and misconceptions we have been taught about writing. One example is a notion that a “good” writer has to write only one draft and someone who writes multiple drafts is a “bad” writer (which is definitely untrue.)
Use what you have read, written about, and discussed in Unit 2 to consider the story you have to tell about yourself as a writer and reader. How do you see yourself as a writer? Is that self-perception helping you be the best writer you can be? The purpose of this assignment is for you to apply what you’re learning to help you better understand why and how you write (who you are as a writer and where this comes from), how this understanding might be changing, and how you might write differently.
Assignment
Write a 6-8 page paper that demonstrates your increasing understanding of your own writing processes and practices, who you are as a writer, where this comes from, and how this might be changing (including why studying this could be useful and applicable) that achieves the assessment criteria, especially the four Unit 2 outcomes:
Displays an acquisition of a vocabulary for talking about writing processes.
Demonstrates an increasing understanding of yourself as a writer.
Actively considers writing processes and practices and how to adapt them as necessary to make them most effective.
Demonstrates an understanding of writing and research as processes requiring planning, incubation, revision, and collaboration.
Planning/Drafting
You should spend a substantial amount of time reflecting on yourself as a writer using the concepts and ideas that you learned in the Unit 2 and Unit 1 readings. Even if parts of your draft don’t end up in the final paper, the act of writing about all of the “structure” categories will be useful.
Structure
Draft/freewrite thoughtful responses to all of the following subcategories for your paper:
Literacy Background
Brief narrative of your literacy history, early experiences, and literacy sponsorship.
Consider what you’ve written and haven’t written in the past.
What’s your reading and writing history in terms of what model of textual interaction was presented to you at home (who did you see read, write, were there books or magazines around the house, etc.)
Talk to the people who raised you: what are their memories of your first experiences with books and reading and writing? What are their memories of your early school experiences, struggles, or successes with acquiring and developing reading and writing skills?
Thinking about Class Readings
Add another layer of understanding to your Literacy Background by considering your current literacy history. Deborah Brandt’s article will be useful in such a discussion.
Establish the territory of how new readings, discussions and ideas are getting you to re-consider, think about, investigate yourself as a writer and reader.
Consider what you currently write and don’t write.
Review and reflect upon the responses you wrote for the Unit 2 readings.
What do you learn about yourself and your writing processes here?
What do you have to gain by reading both research about writing processes and writers’ reflections on their own processes? By doing this, what things are you learning that are useful to you?
Contemplate what Perl has to say about the writing process and how we study it. How can you apply these strategies to consider your own process.
What does Ann Lamott’s article say about what is going on in our heads when we write? Who are the people/voices you are negotiating with when you write?
Think about the writing rules that block you, and those that aid you. How does Mike Rose help you describe what you do with these rules?
How might understanding the concept of “blocking” (Rose) and knowing how to actively deal with it be useful to you in your life? How do you deal with writer’s block when it happens?
Cognitive vs. Affective Domains
Think of any kinds of writing that you enjoy, and any kinds of writing that you dread.
Think about environments in which you read and write, and how different environments might lead to different experiences with the same texts.
Consider how much of your perception of yourself as a reader and writer, and your sense of your relationship with reading and writing is influenced by your intellectual ability versus your emotional/affective experiences.
Writing Rituals, Habits, Practices and Processes
Review your process for the Unit 1 Paper and contemplate/discuss your writing activities as different (and perhaps changing) regarding several different situations in which you write, including academic writing (and perhaps different academic writing situations, such as standardized tests versus out-of-classroom assignments). Use real life examples and experiences (perhaps your Unit 1 Paper) to thoroughly contemplate what works for you in your writing process, as well as where you would like to get more out of it. How might your writing process vary depending on the situation?
Consider how you prepare, or don’t prepare, to write a paper. What are the results, and how do decide what to do, or not do. If you procrastinate, then why?
Do you have an effective reader involved in your writing process? Someone who helps you review your work? Who is this person and what is it like working with them? What benefits do you imagine professional writers have that help them write that you would also like to have?
Consider terms used to describe parts of the writing process, and discuss at least three that are important and very familiar to you, and at least three that are new ideas that seem valuable.
Reading and Writing, Identity and Authority
Consider: How does writing ability affect/influence/inform someone’s identity (and authority?) Think in terms of different writing situations and presentations of oneself in society and/or occupations
Consider your own instructional writing experiences as rhetorical situations. When have your academic writing tasks included or lacked genuine purposes and audiences for you as a writer. How does this affect the engagement with meaningful writing instruction?
Conclusion—Reflection and Contemplation
Re-read what you’ve written. What are you learning? What is most significant? How are you changing as a reader and writer?
Conclude your paper by really showing something new that you have learned about yourself. What has all of this self-reflection and analysis shown?
Think of this paper as a study of you as a writer. In your conclusion present the results of your study. Make sure you are not just restating your introduction.
Planning
Look at all the notes that you did during the brainstorming/structure process, and all of the feedback you received and reflections you wrote during the peer review process, and consider: what’s interesting here? What’s catching your interest the most? What is new or surprising to you? Settle on a few of these surprises or “aha!” moments as the core of what you will write for this assignment. For each of these core elements of your essay, brainstorm examples, details, and explanations that would help your reader understand what you are trying to explain about yourself.
Final Drafting
Write a 6-8 page paper in which you describe your view of yourself as a writer, using examples and explanations to strengthen your description. As appropriate, refer to the authors of texts in the class readings to help explain your experiences, processes, and feelings. Conclude the paper by considering how or whether the things you are learning might change your conception of yourself as a writer or your writing behaviors. Additionally, you should think (and perhaps consult the instructor) about potential audiences for this paper:
Are you writing to the instructor, to demonstrate what you’ve learned in this chapter?
Are you writing for yourself, to help solidify what you’ve learned?
Would you like to adapt your essay to write for someone else—maybe your parents, to demonstrate who you are as a writer and what influences you can identify? Maybe to a teacher who had an impact, positive or negative, on you as a writer?
Of course, choosing an audience and focusing the purpose will have an impact on your paper—its form, content, tone, language, level of formality, and so on.
Revising
Review your draft in light of the assessment criteria. Which points are you hitting most strongly? Which points are more weakly being addressed, or aren’t being addressed at all? What can you add or modify to better address these points?
What Makes it Good?
A successful paper will show a thoughtful analysis and significant understanding and demonstration of the four unit outcomes. The purpose of this assignment is for you to step back and consider yourself as a writer, applying what you learned in this chapter to help you better understand why and how you write—and how you might write differently, or perhaps even understand yourself differently as a writer.
Format
All submitted drafts, including the final draft, should follow the following format guidelines:
6-8 pages, double-spaced (page count does not include the Works Cited page)
1” left and right margins (not 1.25”!)
MLA style for in-text citations (as explained in The Everyday Writer or Perdue OWL)
MLA style for a list of works cited (as explained in The Everyday Writer or Perdue OWL)
*REMEMBER: This assignment sheet is not a rubric but rather a set of guidelines and suggestions to help you generate ideas for your paper. You do not need to answer every question/prompt on this sheet. Feel free to be creative in your approach to this paper.

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