What do you think is the difference between writing in high school and writing in college?
Shitty First Drafts
Remember, the first homework assignment you can do is to answer the three questions at the end of the Anne Lamott article, “Shitty First Drafts.”
Take a couple minutes and look through the short article and find something you can share with the class. This will lead us to our discussion.
We have already learned two important concepts:
- Writing Process
The third concept is the metaphor of the conversation. What we are studying now, has a long history. People have been writing and researching everything you can think of.
For example, the conversation on how to speak well goes back a couple thousand years to Aristotle, Plato, and others that came before.
How does this relate to writing?
Everything you will write about from now on, needs to be based in a conversation. A scholarly one, a scientific one, a popular one. To know what has been said before, you need to read and research. Why does this matter?
Burke’s “Unending Conversation” Metaphor
Kenneth Burke writes:
Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally’s assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress.
You should begin to narrow down the literacy you are interested in writing about. To get us thinking about that literacy, pick a scene related to it from your past experience. It can be in the car with your dad, it can be sitting on your mom’s lap reading a book, etc. Pick one scene and draw it out on a piece of paper. Use the full page, add as much detail as you can remember.
Share your drawing with a neighbor. Tell them about the moment and the literacy. What you just shared with your neighbor, write it down. Keep it short, one to two paragraphs.
In your own words, what is the Conversation?