example 2

A Writing Process of My Own: Finding Structure in the Abstract

“For your final portfolio piece, you will be writing an argumentative essay describing why you deserve your grade.” Upon hearing these words at the beginning of the semester, my mind froze. I felt an ice-cold hand clench itself around my heart. How was I supposed to approach such an intimidating task? Five months later, it is now mid-December and I am sitting calmly, reassured that I have the ability to take on this task. The ice-cold hand has unclenched itself from my heart. This change is not mystical in any way. It was a slow change, one that has been in progress. Through English 110, I have developed a writing process that combines two opposite ends of the structured writing spectrum, freestyle writing and scientific writing. Freestyle writing is void of structure. It implies that writing not be forced; the wrier must let the pen work before the brain and open to the element of surprise. Scientific writing demands a structure. The writer must clearly outline the purpose of the piece and define every term. This writing structure consists of only the essential ideas and requires that the connections between those ideas be seamless. More specifically, in my writing process, I have learned to use freestyle writing to kick-start my writing and then develop it into a final, rigorously structured analytic piece.

To take a look at what this process consists of and how it developed, we should take a look when it developed. The beginning of this writing process is rooted in Blog Post 4. This was the first of the bigger pieces of writings and it was also more open-ended. After reading the works of multiple writers, we were to either formulate our own future prediction or analyze the topic of future predictions. I was stumped. With no direction to go, my mind wandered to the free styling exercises we did at the beginning of the semester. I particularly recalled the words of  Murray,

“If I am prepared then the writing will flow. If I am not prepared I’d better return to that reflective state where I may play with language… letting my pen, the blind man’s cane, tell me where I’m going…It’s ease with intention.”

in Writing and Teaching for Surprise (Murray,4). I took that quiet literally. And so I began to jot down anything and everything that came to mind when I considered the words ‘future predictions.’ The result is my Blog Post 4. The explorations of my free write are evident in this post through the vast range of topics I touch upon. Beginning with the brief need for future predictions, to hinting upon the works of previous writers such as Linden and Kaku, to jumping to the analysis, Blog Post 4 has it all. Some aspects such as the three factors of the analysis, health, sociology and environment are more developed then other aspects. Yet, that is the result of free style writing. It allowed me to explore with no reign and I ended up writing about those topics that I knew most about. I did not expect to relate these topics to future predictions but through free styling I discovered a connection.   

The idea was out there. It was tangible. The next step came when I decided to develop this blog post for my midterm piece. A longer piece, with a lot more riding on it, the midterm required structure. And so I worked on it. I clearly defined and outlined the term ‘future predictions.’ I developed more on the future writers Linden and Kaku, individually presenting their ideas. From there, I described the flaws in their works, providing examples. Finally, I presented my own ideas. I made a claim that Linden and Kaku were not at fault for the inaccurate predictions. Instead, the ideology of future predictions was faulted because it did not take into account the constantly evolving human species, the environment they interact with, and the society, which they have created. This midterm piece was the transformation from the more loosely defined Blog Post 4 into a piece with more structure. Every aspect from the subject, to the writers, to the arguments was clearly fleshed out. 

Nevertheless, the process was not yet over. With my midterm piece I was able to clearly discuss topics and raise interesting points. Yet, the piece did not fit together just yet. There were simply too many fragmented ideas. This brought me to my final revision piece. Using the suggestions I got from my Midterm Piece, I worked to restructure my entire work. My biggest feat in this reconstruction is

“The human species, the environment and the society are changing in both, the ways in which they interact as well as individually. Future Studies has failed to take into account these three dynamic factors and that in turn has rendered this field incapable of achieving its purpose.”

This became the thesis for my piece and linked all of my ideas together. It provided the structure that an analytic and argumentative piece such as the midterm piece required. Most importantly, it eliminated the confusion that riddled my original midterm piece. 

The differences between Blog Post 4 and My Final Midterm Piece are evident. Yet, it was this writing process that helped me attain such changes. Without the help of free writing, of following Murray’s logic, I would not have been able to take on such a challenging piece. It would have been too abstract, too big to conceive free writing helped me gather the ideas, which one I began came in abundance. And then, through great restructuring, those ideas became tangible, became clearly and methodically defined in my final piece. 

As the semester wore on, this writing process became the backbone of all my writing. It actually became a mutually beneficial relationship.  As my writing became stronger because of the process, the process became stronger because of my writing. The process became more efficient, more effective. This is clear in the evolution of my Unit 3 piece. Murray claimed, “Writers value the gun that does not hit the target at which it is aimed” (Murray, 1).  This seems like an odd statement, but it clearly defines my sentiment towards my Unit 3 piece. My beginnings from Unit 3 are in Blog Post 5. Once again, it consists of many brief ideas, touching base on the topic, my audience, and the format that I wanted to take. Yet, my Blog Post 5 was very ambitious. I stated,

“I would like to focus on the breakthroughs in assimilating the technological, virtual world with the physical world… I would research what aspects of computers are being prepared for such assimilation, how the system works and whether it is feasible for it to become widespread enough to change the average interactions between a person and a computer.”

What I was indicating was an entire review of current technology research. A big project for sure. My final piece for Unit 3, however, only focuses on sixth sense technology. It fully defines what the technology is, what purposes is will serve and what makes it a good invention. 

The change between my stages of work in this piece was greater. Yet, the process was more concise then of my work in my midterm piece. I was able to establish this by further honing my writing process. I trusted freestyle completely. I began with sixth sense as an example and kept going. Before I knew it, I had enough material to create a piece on its own. I knew exactly what I was writing about and I was able to easily introduce the problem and the solution I was addressing through

“As we continue to progress as a species which has created a society, it only makes sense that we bridge the continuous widening gap between our physical and digital worlds. SixthSense, the newest gimmick that caught the technological world off-guard and put it on fire aims to do exactly that.”

This gave me a structure to follow through on, the final analysis I made about the aspects that made Sixth Sense a good invention backed up my argument. The rigorous structure aspect of my writing process is especially evident in the ways that the description of Sixth Sense was set up. After some background information, the piece talks about its physical component, then its technological components and finally the purposes it will serve. It systematically talks about all the different aspects of the invention, and thus provides an overall idea of what it is. Above all, I am proud that I was able to avoid the confusion that riddled my initial Midterm Piece. The final, very structured piece which came from the otherwise fragments of sentences is the definition of what my writing process aims to accomplish. 

This writing process, from free style to structure, is a prime example for the type of writing that Murray was attempting to encourage. Yet, I altered it to my purposes. I believe that this is potentially the most valuable writing skill I could have learned my first semester in college and I will continue to work on it beyond this class. My Unit 3 piece in particular was a window into what future writing pieces may look like for me. As a computer science major, all of my writing pieces from here on out are going to be very analytic, structured and even scientific. The topics are going to be vast but the pieces are going to require strict definition. Hence, this writing process is important to me because it has prepared me for any future writing assignments, through college and even out in to the field, that I will encounter. I will be able to get all of my ideas out, and follow them, until it is time to organize them into the structure they need. This process has made me see writing as not only one overarching task, but also a gradual creation. A change in perception that I needed, one I am grateful for. 

Midterm Piece


Blog Post 4


Blog Post 5


Unit 3


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