Over the course of my quarter in English 16, I wrote five Literacy Explorations, describing my personal experience with writing and language both prior to and within this specific class. The five works came together to form a sort of self-study, discussing my own writing processes, as I attempted to define writing studies in relation to my own experiences. These explorations, and my processes within them, began to take on the recursive qualities of writing that we discussed in class: My explorations shaped my experiences in this class, but my experiences also shaped my literacy explorations. For example, the first Literacy Exploration I wrote, Finding Motivation in Education: My Personal Literacy Narrative, was narrative driven and expanded on my personal relationship with stories and writing, through theatre and journaling. However, as the coursework developed and I explored more about digital work, my projects became increasingly multimodal, exploring ideas and answering prompts using videos and pictures in addition to text, as can be seen in Ineffable Design and The Reason I Write: Memory and Representation in Archival Research.
This recursivity in my thinking process is reflected, in the way I write, which I discovered in My Writing Process: In Context. In analyzing my own writing, I discovered a trend that was in agreement with other scholars, such as Carol Berkenkotter, Linda Flower, and John Hayes: “I noticed that my writing seemed to go through cycles, as I always began with planning, whether global or local, then wrote based on that planning, and then revised that writing, which often lead me to go back to thinking and planning. ”
Looking at all of my literacy explorations, I can see a central theme, as I tended to place more importance on the personal creative, emotional, and social values of writing and less on grammar, organization, or even audience reaction or purpose. For example, in my first literacy narrative, I discussed my discovery of writing as a way to express my emotions and connect with people around me. I went on to suggest this as a way to approach reading and writing in schools: “Very few young kids in modern society have the privilege of also experiencing the more emotional elements of rhetoric, such as delivery and memory. I was very lucky to experience all of these rhetorical elements simultaneously, which I believe fostered my early passion for reading and writing.” In my video project about the difficulties of design, I stressed the innovative, positive side of design, saying “Design is creation. Design is possibility and potential.” My focus on personal writing process found a recursive theme in this idea too: my emotions fuel my writing and my writing, fuels my ideas and emotions. I think self-reflection is vitally important, and I think writing is an invaluable tool for self-reflection.
My tendency to emphasize writing and the writing process as a form of personal self-expression and self-definition, is reflective of my generation of writers, something I learned in my final research project. My research project was a study and survey of how the modern student’s usage of Instagram. I wanted to bring the recursive them of my other literacy explorations into the ideas framing this project: I wanted thinking about writing to inform the way we use social media, instead of just analyzing how using social media informs the way that we write. What I found was also in line with my personal literacy exploration trend: self-reflection is vitally important to using social media effectively.
Want to see if you agree with me? Want to learn and think more about your own writing style? All of my literacy explorations appear on this portfolio for your reading, thinking, and analyzing pleasures! Just click on the drop down menu above.