Monthly Archives: November 2010

Writing Lessons

This has been a very busy semester. I am glad it is winding down, but I can’t help reflect on all that I have learned. Mostly I learned that writing is still hard. It is work, but it is good work. The more you write, revise, structure and rewrite, the more competent you become at your “craft.”

This semester, especially in my Issues and Research class, I have found direction in my writing career. If nothing else, it has been one confirmation after another.  Here are my thoughts from my final reflective memo:

“In times of profound change, the learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” – Al Rogers (American founder of Global SchoolNet)

I want to be a learner.  This semester has only solidified what I already knew was my professional destiny.  I spent some valuable time with Career Services Vice President Karen Marks this semester. She looked at my writing resume and graphic portfolio. I wanted to know how to begin collecting information for a Curriculum Vitea. I walked out of her office with far more a sample CV. I came away with an assurance that whether I teach or work in administration I would always be a learner. In that continual renewal of knowledge, others will learn and therefore – I teach.

In PRWR 6000 this semester I gained confidence through the writing assignments, confirmation for a capstone project, and a plan to focus on my weaknesses. We were assigned an interview, a rhetorical analysis, an applied writing project and a book proposal. In each assignment, valuable skills were acquired and strengthened.

In the interview project, I chose to interview a writer I admired for her book and her life. Dr. Tori Murden McClure had a mixed-genre memoir that inspired me during a summer reading class. I connected with her and did a phone interview. I prepared significant questions , but discovered that interviewing is a conversation. Allowing the interviewees guide the discussion produced an excellent interview. I thought I blew the interview until I listened to the tape. I had a gem of a piece of advice for writers on how to structure a project and use mentor writers. I was proud of that interview and plan to work on it further for possible publication in a writer’s journal or literary magazine.

The rhetorical assignment caused me to dig deeper into rhetoric. Rhetoric surprised me. Rhetorical analysis challenged me as a writer. I spent time reading deeply in a topic I never suspected would interest me. A mentor professor told me recently that she was not surprised that I enjoyed it and that I was good at looking for rhetorical fallacy.  Dr. Richards told me I was politically astute and had natural ability for rhetorical analysis. This assignment was unpredictably enjoyable and took away the fear of future projects in graduate school dealing with the topic in rhetoric.

I knew that search engine optimization worked, but I never tracked an article and measured the results. The applied writing assignment allowed me to do this and record the results. I am still finding results from this article coming on Google alerts. My applied project related to my book proposal topic on the Bentley Rare Book Gallery. This assignment meshed with my role at Georgia Writers Association and validated the work I do as an administrator in the English department. In addition, this assignment was seed material for my book proposal and my capstone. In addition, I am implementing this process of writing to promote Georgia Writers

The most exciting writing project was the book proposal. The research for this proposal was tedious but interesting. It helped me see how this book proposal was a real book that may be sold to sold to an agent or a publisher. I gained confidence by reading about writing book proposals and going through the learning process.

Whether I teach on a campus or work in administration, I want to always be learning how to do it better – to stay current with the latest trends in my field.  This class helped me to learn and want to learn more. It gave me confidence that I was going in the right direction and in the right degree program. It showed me where I was grammatically deficient and needed to improve. It showed me the way to go. I want to be a learner.