Reflection Letter

Throughout my time in this class, I have reflected on each and every one of my pieces. I think that this class really changed my perspective on writing, as well as my entire writing process. I used to meticulously plan each essay with a boring framework and predictable points. My essays followed a slow and tedious formula. They weren’t enjoyable to write and they weren’t very enjoyable to read. I believe that alone should say enough about how this class has affected me, with or without the course outcomes. Nevertheless, seeing as these course outcomes come standard across all freshman english classes, I genuinely believe that this class has helped me not only improve as a writer, but also enabled a setting for me to encounter the five course outcomes.

The first of the outcomes seems easy enough. Looking back at my work in the class, I have surely experienced with writing in many different modes. Through the plethora of assignments due in the class, I have come face to face with many different terrifying mediums. I began in my comfort zone writing a literacy narrative about reading. This seemed simple enough, but in writing a learned a lot about myself. “As I discovered in my piece, I used reading as a coping mechanism to deal with stressful or upsetting situation. I never realized before the correlation between reading and my diagnosis.” I have never identified as an artist and was challenged by requests of “Sunday Sketches” and comics. I also never identified as very technologically savvy; however, in this class, I found myself enchanted with “Wordpress.” While definitely a little daunting at first, I soon figured out  how to produce blog posts and pages. Through it all, I faced each new challenge with a little bit of fear and uncertainty, but found myself proud of each and every piece that I created.

The second outcome was way harder. I think the piece that reflects the most towards my ability to “summarize, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate the ideas of others” would be my Comparing Stitches and Spinning essay, where I used Hillary Chute’s “Women, Comics, and Risks of Representation,” as a “lens to read David Small’s Stitches and Tillie Walden’s Spinning.” Using this essay I found key points made by Chute to highlight similarities and differences in the work of Small and Walden. I struggled with this essay because for me it’s hard to draw lines between three pieces of writing, but after writing and re-writing the same essay multiple times before turning in my final product, I felt way more comfortable with my abilities.

The third course outcomes was not really anything new to me. I had always seen writing as a process, but through this class my process really changed. When I was little, I got sent to writing counselors who taught me ways to pull my scattered thoughts together. While this was really helpful at the time, when your taught to write for test scores, it became an obstacle in this class. Being a bit of a sesquipedalian, in my old work, I felt very uncomfortable writing in casual tones and even more uncomfortable turning my work into a bunch of drawing and some words. That’s all a comic was to me at the time. I never really understood what it really took to write a comic, even a short one like mine. As I worked in new mediums, I found myself having a whole new process, I threw my formulas out the door and just began to draw for the sketches, hoping somehow I would figure it out by the end. I wrote my literacy narrative by speaking it out loud and letting my computer type it for me.

Literacy Narrative Phase 1: Phase 1 was writing my original literacy narrative.
Literacy Narrative Phase 2: This phase involved separating my narrative into drawable images and written text.
Literacy Narrative Phase 3: Phase 3 focused on creating panels and diving them into pages.
Literacy Narrative Phase 4: Phase 4 was a simple rough draft of the final comic using panels and pages formed in Phase 3.
Literacy Narrative Phase 5: Phase 5 gave me my final product, a completed comic version of my literacy narrative.

The next big struggle for me was obtaining the required visual thinking strategies. The literacy narrative was probably the largest process of writing that I have ever encountered. Somehow, my not very imaginative story turned into a comic. This process was really stressful for me, because not only was I artistically disabled, but it was a whole new concept for me. I took my literacy narrative and divided into many sections, somehow creating some sort of divide between pages. At first my panels all blended together in my mind, but as I focused on the task at hand, I became more certain of my ideas and plan. Everytime, I encountered a new challenge or test I thought about what I would have done before then tried to do the opposite. I knew my old work would not cut it in this class, so I figured out a new process of writing down anything I thought of then editing it down from there.

The last course outcome was a learning curve. Online spaces have never been a very comfortable setting for me. My childhood and story has always been very private and sharing my story and my writing was a little terrifying. I didn’t want to start off the class on the wrong foot, so I went with and decided I would write as if no one but Professor Morgen would read it. I have no clue if anyone but him has read any of my writing this year, but using this mindset I created work I was proud of and because of it, I didn’t mind as much having everything being able to access it. I think that I have engaged responsibly on my website and have been careful to give credit where credit is due on all of my pieces.

This class helped me across the board not only as a writer, but a student. The note-taking sketch we did earlier in the semester did the impossible and that lesson is still the information that I understood most this semester in Microeconomics. Overall, I’m really proud of my progress and work in this class this semester. I think I’ve found a really good new way of tackling writing. I also learned a lot about myself as a student and, while cheesy as it sounds, I have grown as a person by learning to be more accepting of my own ideas. I have strayed away from whatever’s easiest to whatever I think is most interesting and it has definitely changed my writing for the better.

The work in my portfolio is archived work done for Professor Morgen’s English 101 class at Emory University Fall 2018.