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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.


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 


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