Who has the audacity to overlook the prompt, to shoot from the hip and run into an essay, head on, with no outline? Surely no Education major with a concentration in English would have the boldness to commit these crimes against the writing process. That is why I am suspicious of myself, not my current self, but my former self, before this course. I thought to myself “how could you be doing this poorly in a college English class after receiving straight A’s in high school English”? That’s when reflection came in, and it hit me hard. It “hit hard” not because I thought I was a bad writer, but rather I was unrefined. Unrefined, because of carelessness and thinking I knew it all. The suspicious pants at the beginning of the course meant little to me, and I had no other reason to use them except because it was the easiest epigraph to understand. Now I know fully what they mean to me and what they symbolize: the pants were suspicious of my writing. I know it may sound ridiculous, but these suspicious pants found in a silly old meme show me how I never cared to use my untapped potential as a writer.
I am suspicious of how I got this far shooting in a direction before aiming. How was I ever supposed to make a basket without looking at the process of getting the ball to the basket? That is why, when I entered this course, the ball was swatted directly back into my face. Outlines, outlines and more outlines. I realized that I was missing this key piece that would make up my blogs. I loved the act of freely writing with no real direction and felt like I could never put the same energy into my writing while using an outline. I discovered the usefulness of outlines while doing our group blog. At times I felt that our group lost focus and would stray away from our thesis. Looking back at our group’s blog post entitled “The Power of Names in Establishing Characters,” our thesis statement was “Everett makes a statement about the power of names; names themselves can reveal an incredible amount about an individual’s characteristics and personal values.” To this day I believe our thesis statement summed up our argument well; however, we deviated from that thesis often. Our group frequently found ourselves going off on tangents that often did not lead back to our main idea; that is until slowing down and creating an organized plan came in. We collaboratively created an outline that showed the contents of each paragraph as well as the objective of each paragraph. This outline did nothing to hinder our writing, and in no way stifled creativity as I thought it may. Our group went on to write paragraphs that not only connected to the thesis, but also provided valuable information and developed an interesting talking point.
The first blog I wrote in the class revealed the most. This first assignment was a blunder to put it lightly, mainly because I completely overlooked the prompt. I remember my actions during this moment well. I skimmed over the prompt, skipped over entire sentences, and assumed I knew it all. I oversimplified the assignment and did not check for understanding, because reading the prompt took more effort than I wanted to give in that moment. In “Reflective Writing,” it is stated that teachers or “tutors set tasks that are tailored to the needs and practices of the particular discipline you are studying” (8). This quote related well to my situation, as the assignment was “tailored” to my needs and was designed for me to learn. However, I opted out of learning that particular lesson because I chose not to read the directions carefully. I now know that reading and comprehending the prompt is crucial to writing the assignment, and is necessary before creation of the outline.
My writing has greatly improved since the submission of my first blog post that was entitled “Suspicious Godly Pants.” Considering the prompt for the blog was to “select one of the course epigraphs (see above), and based on what you have read, done, and experienced during the first class periods, what does your selected epigraph get you to thinkING about?” the title of my blog seems awfully silly. I dumped all kinds of wild thoughts into that first blog post, expecting a good grade to accompany it. This post had silly humor such as, “These pants, had Zeus actually worn them” and “let’s pretend that the Greek gods wore modern day khaki pants and that these in particular are owned by the most powerful god of them all,” but that is about all it contained. The topic may have been interesting to some, however the significance of the work was nowhere to be found. I left out the answer to the crucial question of “who cares?”. Not only did this essay not follow the prompt, it also never told the reader why they should care at all about Zeus’s hypothetical pants. I could go on and on about the missing aspects of this blog and all the things that need to be added; however, that information was necessary to better my writing after reflecting on it.
The pants were suspicious of me, and rightfully so, because before the class I rarely reflected on my past writings. Once I wrote an assignment and submitted it, the assignment might as well have been put in a paper shredder, as I felt no need to reread it. “Reflection” was not in my vocabulary. If I received a good grade, I’d write something similar for the next assignment; and if I got a bad grade, I’d complain about it for awhile and move on without trying to understand what I did poorly. This class may not have made me perfect at reflecting, but I know that I have taken a step in the right direction. I feel as though I now take the professor’s commentary with more than a grain of salt and genuinely care to improve my writing. I care more to improve my writing, not for grades, but rather to enhance my skills and feel like more of an intellectual. Grades in college will be important to me until the day I graduate, but I can say that I take great pride in my writing now.
Finally, I wrote a blog entitled “A Reflection on the Subjectivity of Writing.” I wrote this blog to discuss how beauty is in the eye of the beholder and a piece of writing can be great to one person and horrible to another. Subjectivity, to me, is based on a person’s biases that they develop throughout their lives. Subjectivity in “The Bedford” is considered the “perceptions and thoughts arising and based in an individual’s mind” (430). I still find my original idea in the blog to be true, but I have revised my idea since the beginning of the semester. What I have revised about my idea is that a work of literature can be good, but likely isn’t great if it has not gone through revision. Revision, and proper usage of the English language, is necessary to make a great blog. I once thought that if I had good substance and interesting ideas that my writing would be great; however, I now understand that great writing requires outlines, pacing, preparation, and most importantly, reflections.
The pants were suspicious of my work, but no longer. I have progressed as a writer, and I continue to improve with every blog that I write. Reflecting on the works that I have created have allowed me to not make the same mistakes again, and in turn my writing has benefited greatly. The only thing left to do is to keep writing, keep reflecting, and keep improving.