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Tamburello

1

Leanna Tamburello

ENC 1101

2/25/13

Who Am I As A Writer?

INTRODUCTION

Although some people have
a knack for writing and all of the skills it takes to be
the writer you want to be, many people have a huge problem in certain areas of writing.
Those areas could be frustration, distractions, writers block and many others. The people
who experience an are
a from those categories are not stupid or incapable of it. According
to Sondra Perl, an experienced and scholarly writer, writers who experience any type of
block are “unsk
illed or basic writers (Perl 1979
).” Perl conducted a study, she researched
five uns
killed college writers and had each of them write an essay or story.
While they
were writing, Perl had them basically think aloud so she could write down
everything

they said and how their thought processes were during their writing.
Her research was to
ask three major questions. The questions were,

1)

How do unskilled writers write? 2) C
an
their writing processes be analyzed in a systema
tic, replicable manner? and 3) W
hat does
an increased understanding of their processes suggest
about the nature of comp
osing in
general and the manner in which writing is taught in schools? (Perl
1979
) Perl used a
particular code while evaluating her participants. This code included things such as
repeating, questioning, writing aloud. For example, if someone
were

writing
aloud, she
would jot down “TW” on her evaluation page, which she called a transcript.




To improve overall
formatting, make MLA
and move heading to the
left side, include ‘Laura
Martinez’ 2
nd

line.

Editing comments

are

on page 3,5,
7and 11.

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MY EXPERIMENT

Just as Perl did, I conducted

a similar study, on myself.
I
had an assignment in my
ENC 1101 class. It was to be written in 750 words. For this writing
assignment, I chose to
do this ‘think aloud’ experiment to see what kid of writer I was. Before I did absolutely
anything, I turned on my phone, went to my recorded app, and began recording. I then
said every thought I had aloud so that I could listen to t
he recording later and write my
own transcript with my own coding system. I wrote for one hour and six minutes.


Before I did this experimen
t, I did not think I was in any way an unskilled writer.
On my recording, one of the things I first said to myself
aloud was, “I have been a writer
since I was in kindergarten, how could someone say I am unskilled?! If anything I am as
skilled as it gets!” I had so much frustration from the very beginning. Right when I heard
myself say that, I came to a huge realizatio
n! It was not that I am an unskilled writer per
say,
but I simply have writers block. Another very ‘skilled’ writer, Mike Rose, also
conducted a study similar to Perl’s. Rose states, “…too many writers who can’t think of
what to say next are likely to clai
m, jokingly or seriously, that they have ‘writers block.’
[But] what Rose is talking about is a rarer, more serious problem (Rose

1980
.)”

Before conducting this study I didn’t think writers block was an actual thing, but
after reading multiple articles an
d researching several studies, Perl’s and Rose’s being
two of them, I coded my transcript and realized that writers block actually happens. It
does not always have to be a moment that you simply cannot think of what to write. It
can come in multiple forms.

In my transcript, it came in the forms of being fr
ustrated,
questioning myself, or the prompt, and distractions.

To be precise, I had 7 codes. Here is
an

example my exact transcript coding:

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As you can see, all of the categories, and more, are listed in my transcript coding section.
They are all highlighted. The reason for that is because instead of doing like Perl did, by
writing two letters for each code next to every sentence or bullet poin
t describing what
each meant, I took advantage of todays technology and highlighted on my word
document, where I wrote out my transcript, every single sentence according to its code.
(As you can visually see in the Appendix section of this paper.)

RESULTS


My results came out extremely different than I had expected. I read the prompt six
times through the entire paper! In my opinion, that is a very large

amount because I
would have assumed I only read it once or twice at the very beginning, but according my
results, I periodically glanced back at it. I also realized I had very, very little excitement
about anything in my paper, there were only 7 instances

where I was happy, and they
were for reasons like these (taken directly from my transcript):





oohhh I can use this quote for this paragraph
sweet



This is on page 208 nice

Take away all of the
highlighting within the
paper itself. It looks
tacky and makes it
overwhelming.

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Woooo I am done! Byebye!






A majority of my paper was filled with what I would
call writers block. I would classify
the following as writers block: negative commenting, talk of word count, and
distractions. I say that because in my apparently “unskilled” writing opinion, if someone
has other things on their mind, such as the stress o
f how many words or p
ages need to be
written exactly or

personal problems and thoughts that have nothing to do with the
assignment, they wont have their attention fully focused on assignment itself. I found
myself talking about word count 11 times sporadic
ally throughout my transcript, from the
very beginning to the very end. Also, they were not always the nicest comments about it.
Comments such as:



how the hell am I gonna write 750 words



Wooo only 600 words left.

Not.



oh my god

148 words




Negative
commenting and distractions seemed to go hand in hand with my writing
process. Almost every time I would get frustrated or say something negative, I would do
something to distract my thoughts. Some of those things included checking Facebook, or
Instagram,

or texting,

or talking to my family.
I had negative feedback 27 times in my
transcript and distractions occurred 26. A majority of the distractions were immediately
after the negative comment.
As a result of this, I realized that my main problem in writing

is that every time I get annoyed

or frustrated, which seemed to be very often, I decide to
say:
Forget it, im taking a break
. Then, once I take a break, I completely lose sight of the
assignment:

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uhm…pretty little liars starts in five minutes oh my god a
nd im going to miss
it cause this stupid paper.

check tv guide
.



I cant find the quote I want this is pissing me off.

I have to drive home a
whole hour back to Orlando tonight oh my god.

One of the strongest parts of my transcript, that I hope to improve on, is how I related so
many of my thoughts to the topics I learned in my ENC class. Relating assignments and
real life to what you learned in school is amazing and can be very useful, als
o it means
you are getting something out of your education, which is always a good thing! Some
examples from my transcript are:



OMG I feel like that spongebob episode
. (
Although

this is highlighted in red,
which means it was a negative comment, it relates

to my ENC class because in
class we watched an episode of SpongeBob before being assigned this project,
in
the episode it showed SpongeBob’s writing process and how he procrastinated.)



hold on I need to find my notes. I don’t even know which notes they ar
e. What
day was that on?



I don’t
even know what Im gonna write for Murray. I wonder who
im most like…definitely not freakin murray cause I waited last minute.

(This pertains to my class because we read an article by scholarly writer
,

Carol Berkenkotter
,

about an experiment she did on a man named Murray

(Berkenkotter 1983
)
, I related myself to this man
while writing my paper.)



DISCUSSION

Instead of a “discussion
section make it my
analysis and look
DEEPER into the study
and rhetorically analyze
who I am as a writer an
what I learned.

Mak
e

new
Analysis
paragraph,
delete some of
parts in
discussion

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I learned so much about my writing process and style by doing this assignment.
Instead of being over confident and th
inking I was amazing

and could be a five star writer
like J.K Rowling (the author of The Harry Potter series), I learned the things I can
improve, and I learned the styles I use that actually have always helped me and I think
can help others also.
One thin
g I found that I did successfully and would not change
about my writing
style

is the fact that I ask a lot of questions pertaining to the prompt

or
paper:




does my citation go in the quote?



I was going to say Murray had to record “this” assignment but I gu
ess my
audience wouldn’t know what “this” assignment is, only Ms Martinez
would right?

Asking questions forces the writer to pay attention. When one asks a question they are
forced to answer it. As silly as that sounds, many people do not think about how m
uch
that helps if you are stuck on something while writing a paper. Every

time I asked a
question, I found myself researching it, or looking in
the textbook for it, that means I at
least applied myself to the situation and tried. Which is exactly the point of many
assignments. I also learned what not to do, I learned to not let my frustration lead me to
go off topic and that if I need to take a br
eak every so often,
then
fine, but
to
not

do it

every sentence.
I believe this can help many people as much as it helped me. It is so
useful for my future assignments because now I know precisely what I do or do not do
and can further evaluate future assig
nments to see my improvement.
To go back to Perl’s
three major questions

discussed in the introduction
, I think I can now answer them about
myself. As an unskilled writer, I write in sections where I have

moments of frustration,

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excitement and boredom
. Sec
ondly, m
y writing can be systematically analyzed and coded
in many different sections. Lastly, the manner in which writing is taught in schools has
both helped and hurt my writing process in multiple ways.
All in all, this assignment
showed me that I have
not yet reached the level of a skilled writer, but I definitely have
the potential if I keep practicing.

APPENDIX

Transcript
-
Leanna Tamburello

CODE



Yellow Highlight: Reading Prompt



Red Highlight: negative comments/frustration



Green Highlight: Questioning myself/the prompt/ or asking any questions



Pink Highlight: Talking out loud about paper



Grey: Distractions



Blue: Talk of word count



Black: Excitement

due to assignm
ent

BEGIN

*Reading

prompt*

okay…uhm…so my phone is going to die. F**K..omg my phone.

And I lost the page for Tonys article so this is starting out great.
facebook.

Okay page,
where is the page.

All right. 196

*
Reading Prompt*

Im going to compare Tony, Murray,
and someone
from Roses

*
typing

*

uhm…
pretty little liars starts in five minutes omg
and im going to miss it.check tv guide
.
So first I wanna describe Tony

*
reading
prompt
*

describe Tony and write how I fit into his process and then ill do that for each
Here I need to put
the Appendix on its
own page to
improve formatting.

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person I pick??
?

750 words

OMG I feel like that spongebob episode
.
I don’t even know if
this needs to be double spaced or what?

*silence *

nope single spaced.

Okay so…Tonys
writing was,

hold on I need to find my notes. I don’t even know which notes they are.
What day was

that on?

* ughhhhhhhh *

Dammnit that isn’t even this chapter

where the
efff are my notes.


Alright now im going to start.


I cant think of anything
.
* Mumbling*

I have to find tonys writing styles, they are in my
notes.

* reading book*

blah blah blah …

* reading*
Well where are my notes about
tony, and what page is Murray on.


Brother walks in room…. “This sucks Kevin” huh? I cant hear you?

Brother: tell your teacher I said hi

She is not going to hear this

Well do you have to write everything

Anything
distracting


*ten minute quiet conversation with my brother….cant hear it*

Get out I have to write this I have nothing on my paper but my name

All right im going to start with Murray b/c I have my notes on him right here.

So
ushhhhhhh

how the hell am I gon
na write 750 words
.
* start typing*

“Many
writers…. I didn’t even realize I have to right this in essay format, I need my thesis,

omg
my computer is not even plugged in
.
* reading prompt*


two minute silence
*
uhmmmmm

* mumbling*

what elseeeee
.
*
Typing
*

I
dont
even know how many words I have because the prompt is on here
.
Im gonna check my
instgram because someone liked my picture.

I have only been recording like like15
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minutes omg
.
reading prompt


texting…

*reading over what I have written *
shit I
have
to get my binder

*left room for little while*

so I found my tony notes. Im not going to write Roses yet idk who to pick. Ill do tonys
first.

What is my phone doing
. Tonys writing process…

*
writing about tony*

*Mumbling*
awww shit
.

*checking instagram*

*Re
reading what I have written
*
*writing*

I feel like Tony I have to reread everything to even know what I wrote. I
feel like I am being recursive right now, like writing a list.

*
Typing
*

Tony plans
writes edits plans writes edits…

OMG this is not going to
be enough.

I only have 100
words
. Ridiculous
. *
Typing
*

Tonys rule confusion…autocorrects…
oohhh I can use
this quote for this paragraph sweet.

How does my freaking phone keep unplugging
. I
need to fix all of these words that are f*cked up.

I guess I have to

edit as I go like Ruth.

*
Mumbling/Typing
*
This is on page 208 nice
. Do I need to write this entire
quote

omg,

it will make up for some word count.

“Hi”…(someone walked in room)
*Text message*

does my citation go in the quote
??? I don’t think so. Idk. Ill
look it up
.
*Facebook*

omg

148 words

I feel like I have wrote a fucking novel
. Forget it, im taking
a break. I need to stop texting shit is distraction.

Omg what if my voice recording just
deletes and I have to do it all over again
. How do you spell ‘appos
ed’ App or Opp idk I
think opp.

Wooo only 600 words left.

Not.

I guess I can put quotes and and the codes in
Perls article and shit.
changing first sentence

of essay.


“dog comes in room” Brunoooooo awww youre so cute.

*
Typing*
*talking to mom

*
Reread what I just wrote.
Wow I can not spell. I really have to beef up my first
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paragraph…im gonna go back to my fist paragraph
..*
typing
*

I don’t even know
what Im gonna write for Murray. I wonder who im most like…definitely not freakin
murray cause I wa
ited last minute.

Im definitely going to fail my bio test…Hypotonic is
less solute more wat….why am I thinking about my science I need to finish. Omg my
phone keeps on unplugging
.
*
Typing
*

* Silence*

*
More Typing
*

I feel like I
shouldn’t be making differe
nces when I am trying to compare should I?

whatever.

Do I
have to say all this stuff out loud that I am typing? Like every word
? Im not gonna talk
and type ill say my thoughts though.

This sucks it is hard.

I was going to say Murray had
to record “this” as
signment but I guess my audience wouldn’t know what “this”
assignment is, only Ms Martinez would right?

I feel like I am just making bullet points
and being recursive
. 264 words?

Nice!

28 minutes ive been writing that’s it!?

“Bruno
come here”

Idk how I can

make this longer
..*
talking to dog*

maybe I can find some
quotes.

What page though?

I don’t even know why I underlined this sentence.

Where the
eff is…oh I found it! (laugh)

*
silence
*

Where is the parts about his 8 drafts?

Omg this is so annoying.

*
Facebo
ok
*

maybe
Ms
Matinez will see I was trying to look for all this shit and could not find any freaking
quotes ughhh omg.!

I wonder if we turn this in like tonight?

*
check canvas
*.

I cant find
the quote I want this is pissing me off.

I have to drive home a
whole hour back to Orlando
tonight omg

I hope this is not the final draft
. I am so tired.

What is the prompt again?

*Reading Prompt*

I don’t even know what egocentric means, oh do I think about my
audience. I guess I will go back and edit a little bit of t
his one paragraph
.
*Looking up
definition for egocentric.*

Stupid puppy you are typing on my paper. Sit down! *
talkig
to brother
* I cant believe I have to write everything I said in this recording it is 52
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minutes that is going to take forever.

*
Typing
*

y
ay I have

518 words!

Okay so I think
I am done, well no I have to write my conclusion.

*
Typing
*

I have been writing so long I have never changed
my style so I guess I could say im happy with it cause ive never
failed right?

Wooo

I just killed like 100
words for my
coclusion

yay.

Woooo I am
done! Byebye!



Works Cited



Berkenkotter, Carol and Murray, Donald. “Decisions and Revisions: The Planning
Strategies of a Publishing Writer.” College Composition and Communication.
Vol. 34, No. 2 (1983): 156
-
172. Print.



Perl, Sondra. “The Composing Process of Unskilled College Writ
ers.” Research
in the Teaching of English 13.4(December 1979) 317
-
36. Print.



Rose, Mike. “Rigid Rules, Inflexible Plans, and the Stifling of Language.”
College Composition and Communication. Vol. 31, No. 4. (1980): 389
-
401. Print.





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