Madison Husa English 151
Take a step back and look into the journey of how you write. Have you ever thought about a routine that you may have every time you sit down to write a paper, or an assignment for that matter? From my own experience I never thought much about the different techniques I use or the places I like to be or even what is around me at the time of my writing. What I do know is that procrastination gets the best of me. I would like to take you into the journey of what it takes for me to sit down and complete a paper.
As I sit down on my bed in my dorm room, I look around. I see the color pink everywhere, posters on the wall, and the door wide open. For many people being in the dorms can be a huge distraction or for those not in dorms and just anywhere where it can be noisy it can cause a problem. Often people use the library as a great source for peace and quiet as they work on a paper, an assignment, reading the million pages they were just assigned in a class, or studying for an exam. I on the other hand seem to lose even more focus if I am stuck somewhere with hardly any noise. While I sit in my room and start to write my mind starts going everywhere. I always go directly to the internet and get on Facebook. It is such a bad habit, but before I start anything I have that urge to at least check and hope I am not missing out on anything as I am working. After that I will sit and stare at the blank word document in hopes that something will just appear on the paper. Knowing that a paper will not just write itself I start to analyze what I am supposed to be writing about. Often I will start writing then I start to lose my train of thought, stop, and then try to go back and pick up where I left off. As I am working I will hear someone in the hall or I get a text and once again I decide to put the paper on hold knowing that since I have to turn it in by a specific date it will have to get done. Madison Husa English 151 See the problem? Procrastination is getting the best of me. I used to think in high school that I was one of the few people who had this problem, but once entering college I have met a lot of people who are in the same boat. After I fill that time, I go back to the paper and write another paragraph or so and then go back to finding something else that interrupts my time until at last I have to get my paper finished.
When I look at the process it takes me to just complete one paper I do not even understand how I manage to do it with all the distractions. This is a main reason I would consider myself a one- draft writer. By the time I get even one draft done I do not even have time to get to a second draft. While I go back through the paper to revise I tend to focus on the grammatical mistakes rather than content of the material. After reading pieces from different authors it has started to make me look at writing with a different perspective. In Shitty First Drafts by Anne Lamott she talks about how it is perfectly normal to have a shitty first draft and after you write that you are able to then move forward and produce a better second draft and then a third draft. I found this very helpful because I tend to have an idea in my mind that my first piece of work has to be perfect and that if it is not than something has to be wrong. Anne talks about how it is perfectly normal for even the best of writers to produce a first draft that they are going to consider ͞shitty͟.
A paragraph from her article really stuck with me and it said, ͞Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting somethingͶ anythingͶdown on paper. A friend of mine says that the first draft is the down draftͶyou just get it down. The second draft is the up draftͶyou fix it up. You try to say what you have to say Madison Husa English 151 more accurately. And the third draft is the dental draft, where you check every tooth, to see if it͛s loose or cramped or decayed, or even, God help us, healthy.͟ (Lamott, pg. 303)
Another article that impacted how I looked differently at writing is from Allegra Goodman͛s Calming the Inner Critic and Getting to Work, in this article a big part that I liked was when she talks about loving your material, and write for yourself not for others. To stop worrying about who is going to look at it and critic it. (Goodman, pg. 309) This was huge for me because I have the tendency when I write to be more focused on what others will say then actually loving the work I produce. I look at the rubric and think to myself if I do not include or get everything perfect then it is not okay. As she says though you have to be able to write for yourself and to love the work you produce. That is the most important part.
Overall I feel that I am beginning to learn to not put off writing my paper as much as I do. I know that it is okay if my first draft doesn͛t turn out the way I want it too, but that working and revising what I have written will help get my final product. If I learn to love my work then it will help me to produce a piece I am proud of. I may never be able to sit in an area that is quiet or with no distractions, but I know that I can produce quality work. Madison Husa English 151 Works Cited Goodman, Allegra. ͞Calming the Inner Critic and Getting to Work.͟ New York Times, 12 Mar.
2001. Web. 30 Nov. 2009.
Lamott, Anne. ͞Shitty First Drafts.͟ Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. New York: Anchor, 1994. 21-27. Print.
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