to Bob Broad's Teaching Page
How to document your writing processes
Professor Bob Broad, Department of English, Illinois State University
Finally, writing is epigenetic,
with the complex evolutionary development of thought steadily and
graphically visible and available throughout as a record of the
journey, from jottings and notes to full discursive formulations.
From Janet Emig, "Writing as a Mode of
Learning." CCC 28.2 (May 1977): 122-28.
It is as important and rewarding to me as a teacher of writing to see writers
collaborating, reflecting, risking, and learning during the writing process as it is to
see powerful and successful texts emerge at the end of the writing process. For this
reason I weigh your documented writing processes equally with your final writing
products when I evaluate your major written
project(s). For any writing project the
process of which I have said I will evaluate, I therefore recommend you take some or all of the following
steps when composing your portfolio for the course.
- Include the first substantial draft, the final draft, and
perhaps one in-between draft, each
draft clearly dated and numbered ("First draft,"
"Final Draft," etc.);
- Include all peer response you received and indicate how you did or didn't use it;
- Include all professor's response you received and indicate how you did or didn't use it.
If you received the professor's response in a writing conference or by way of recorded
audio comments from the professor, you should provide a sheet on which you have made
fairly detailed notes of what was said in the conference
or audio response.
- Provide a brief (100- to 200-word) "process memo" in which you sketch your writing process,
noting what you did and did not do along the way.
- For documents presented electronically, use the "New comment" feature (under the "Review"
tab) in MS Word to identify significant revisions you made and the thinking
that went into those changes.
- Include anything else that
you believe will help me see how you have revised
and developed your project.
I have always thought that writers were
talented individuals. I still think this is true, but I am
starting to understand that writing takes work. It does not
just miraculously occur for authors. They write a piece, and
rewrite, and revise, and rewrite some more. This is an arduous
process. There are never first drafts that are perfect.
I know that many writers say that this is how they accomplish their
works. I have read and heard famous authors discuss this, yet
somehow it never truly sank into my thick skull, until I started
writing for this class. . . A piece
of writing evolves and forms into something of more value and
substance, compared to an original first draft. . .
All of my writing for this class has turned out better
after my revisions. I used to believe that revisions were just
busy work and I would revise just to make the professor happy.
My views have changed to reflect the very opposite of my earlier
belief, where I now believe that the revision process is for myself
and I want to make my writing better through this process.
Student enrolled in "Advanced Exposition"
(Eng. 246) during fall 2009
Return to Bob Broad's