After reading the article “The Composing Processes of Unskilled College Writers” by Sondra Perl I have been forced to understand how writers write. The writing process is a situation that is approached from various angles. In the writing process techniques and sequences from person to person are often diverse, but it is one of the ways one may be expressed. The goal of Perl study was to “see how unskilled writers write, can their writing process be analyzed in a systematic, replicable manner, and what does an increased understanding of their process suggest about nature of composing in general and the manner in which writing is taught in schools.” (191) With Perl performing this observation and collecting several amounts of data I decided to perform an observation on my writing by paying close attention to how I write. With analyzing I realized that my writing process have a very sequential pattern. I also have noticed that many acts of critical planning and editing are carried out through many of my writings and it has had a negative effect on the majority of my writing masterpieces. Subsequent to carefully critiquing my writing I have realized that all individuals have a different way they write. Methodology
In order to approach this assignment I had to choose between two assignments in my English 1101 class. It was between my midterm and my literacy narrative but I chose to perform the autoethnography of myself writing my “Literacy Narrative.” This assignment was a good one to use because it showed up in my autoethnography how I constantly struggled with keeping the paper more of an argument and less of a story. To start the composing process I cut off all the lights in my dorm room and turned on my desk lamp. I felt that this was the only way for the paper to have my full attention. I sat up comfortable in my computer chair and grabbed my laptop off of the dresser to pull up Microsoft Word. As Microsoft Word slowly loaded an idea came to my mind that I should go to facebook and twitter to log in my accounts just to have them minimized as a backup plan if writer’s block was to creep up on me. As I began to brainstorm it did not surprise me when a text message notification sounded from phone causing me to swiftly stop what I was doing and check it. After, texting the person back I began processing all of my ideas aloud so that the webcam can absorb all the action. All I could remember playing in the back of my head is what the professor always told the class “Have a strong thesis and paragraph cohesion.” As I wrote I realized that if I did not stop so frequent to take calls, text, and snack breaks I could have gotten a lot more things accomplished in a timelier pace. After, ninety minutes to gathering beneficial data the patterns of my writing was not hard to see. I coded my findings and was very surprised when I saw that most of time was spent planning and editing rather than revising. Findings
In critical observation I found many different techniques and patterns that have a huge impact on my writing both harmful and helpful. Constantly writing I would pause to gather my thoughts and it wasn’t surprising that following the pause it was time for some heavy editing. I also studied a beneficial mechanism that occurs when I write that I feel has an effect on a lot too and it is the shaking of my hands. I think my hand shake when I write because I am very self conscious with my writing, also I noticed that my hand shaking is one reason why I am so hard on making sure I plan and edit so much. I broke down the process up into percentages to help me see which way I was going with the data a little bit better. In the process of converting data to percent I realize I take 34.2% of the time to write my paper planning. Another reason I spend so much time planning is because I have difficulties coming up with something that I feel will put my paper at a stand point where I want it so I just type up several ideas until I decide on the one I feel best with. Similar to Tony in the Perl article “Tony spent a great deal of his composing time editing.” (202) I found that 40.3% which is most of my time is taking up by editing. I also noticed another reason that I edit a lot because I reread what I have written and I feel the things that I have stated do not make since or sounds on the elementary school English level I rearrange the things and place synonyms in for the small words that can have a bigger meaning. Another thing I saw was that I spend 20.4% making unnecessary comments and 5.1% revising. This is quite backwards because it seems as if I would spend more time revising but this is not the case and it is one of my severe downfalls of writing. Even though I spent 5.1 % of the time reviewing it was not major it was basic skimming looking for simple errors such as repeated words but not watching for sentence fragment or punctuation sequences. After this observation I see that most of my attention needs to pointed and solely grasped to the section I pay the least attention to which is revising due to the fact that there were several small errors that could have been prevented if I spent more time and energy on making sure the percent in this error was higher. As I gathered up all the information I made a code which is in the table below that allows vivid description of how my paper was transcribed. The Code
Writing Process| Symbol| Meaning|
Planning| [PL]| Organizing thoughts and ideas.|
Writing| [W]| Constant writing no interruptions.|
Commenting| [C]| Sighing making comments or judgment about the paper.| Talking and writing at once| [TW]| Talking while writing.| Editing| [E]| Adding, deleting, and indicating concerns of errors| [R]
Pauses| Reviewing the paper correcting mistakes.
| Writer stops for breaks or has writers block.|
C--C-PL-C-PL-C-PL-TW-E-C-TW-PL-C-TW-E-PL-C-E-C-E-TW-C-PL-TW-C-E-TW-PL--PL-TW------TW-E-PL-E-TW-PL-C--E-C-TW-C-W--W-W-W-W-C-TW-W-C-PL-E-R-W-R-E-E-W-W-W-----W-W-W-W-W-C-W-W-W-W-E-E-E-W-R-TW-TW-TW-W-TW-TW-W-E-W-C-E-TW-E-TW Writing Code:
`In this self-observation process I have learned many things I did not know about my writing. I have witnessed things that could possibly help me and things that have been definitely holding me back over the years from paper to paper due to the apparent patterns of it. For example the time I spend planning and editing. Performing this observation helped me to know what changes should be made for the future in my process of writing. The writing process is different for everyone but you will not obtain a very clear understanding of it until you observe it firsthand with oneself.
Perl,Sondra. “The Composing Process of Unskilled College Writers.” Writing About Writing Ed. Downs, Doug, and Elizabeth Wardle. Boston:Bedford/St.Martin’s,2011. 191-215. Print