I don’t think I’m alone when I say that writing the introductory/reflection papers for my portfolio was some of the most difficult writing I’ve done all year. Harder than in-class essay tests, harder than my senior seminar capstone research project. Those few one-page papers had me staring at my computer screen and suffering from writers block more than any other assignment this semester. Why is that? Why was it so hard to critique myself? I think, partly, the difficulty arose from the fact that I’m a one-and-done kind of writer– that is, I typically outline and outline and outline until my paper is 95% written, make the outlined fragments into full sentences and paragraphs, and then voila! I’m done. I tend not to draft because when I do, I find myself second-guessing and I hate that feeling. The portfolio reflection papers reminded me that second-guessing is, to some extent, a great thing in that it allows for the correction of flaws and strengthening of weaknesses. It sounds a bit strange, but the intro papers also reminded me that sometimes, as a writer, I need to stand up to myself– the instructions for the papers reminded us to point out what we did well. Each assignment from this semester is full of things we did well, but when self-assessing we so often tend to see the negative and question those things. Instead, we should celebrate our successes and resolve to replicate them in future papers.
– Mary Kate