Although this comment represents an affirmative reply, to understand it, follow the directions below. Do each one, even if you just create one sentence.
- Write out the following sentence below on the lines. John is ugly and nasty.
- Write down your telephone number.
- Write in to your apartment complex in order to complain about an ongoing problem that the company hasn’t fixed yet. Put today’s date at the top of the letter. For now, practice here. You only need one sentence or a few words.
Today’s Date: _______________________________
- Write off your vacuum cleaner. Go buy another one.
1) When you wrote the first sentence John is ugly and nasty, did you deviate in any way? If you forgot the period at the end of the sentence, then you did not write exactly word for word what you saw on the page.
2) Did you write your telephone number? If you didn’t, you did not follow the directions and put action to the words.
3) Did you write out your complaint to your apartment complex? If you did not, then you just procrastinated.
4) Did you go out and buy a vacuum cleaner? If you did not, then good for you. If you did, then good for you. The result of either action would be fine for this discussion.
The purpose of this exercise was to show you your attitude. Think about the following:
- In some cases, you found one activity probably stupid by saying aloud something such as the following: I’m not giving her my phone number. I don’t want anyone to know my number.
- You found another activity probably as urgent: She was thinking just what I was thinking. Yes, I do need to get that toilet fixed.
- You found another activity as probably confusing: I don’t even know who John is.
- Last, you found another activity as probably crazy of me to ask: I don’t have any money to buy a vacuum cleaner. I have a good vacuum cleaner and I don’t need another one.
You will undoubtedly experience many of these feelings when you approach the task of writing about a subject you have never encountered. You will feel that the subject is confusing, crazy, urgent, and probably stupid all at once. These are all of your attitudes; and you have a right to them. However, what makes a paper receive the comment “Well Written & Researched” from a professor is dependent upon the attitude of the writer developing the paper and what the finished product reveals about the writer’s attitude.
A professor knows 1) when you like the subject, 2) when you are confused by it, 3) when your attitude seeps through the page as your professor reads, 4) when you have only studied the subject for one or two days, 5) when you think that the subject is worth studying, 6) when you think that the subject is stupid and that nothing can be written about it, and 7) when you do the assignment out of mere obligation to a requirement versus do the assignment because the subject has sparked some interest.
A professor experiences what you experience as he or she reads your paper. The professor feels a multitude of emotions too. A professor doesn’t like to read a paper that demonstrates a student’s distaste of the subject or the task of writing. It doesn’t matter if you like the subject, if you hate it, if you think that it is all-around great! The only thing that matters is your genuine consideration of the subject and what you produce as a result.
With this in mind, examine the subject, in its varieties, multiplicities, changes, deviations, and effectiveness. Evaluate the subject in the same way that you would evaluate a person. Examine the subject to test its fitness, to understand its complexity, to mull over its connection to other subjects, to figure out its nature, and to pick apart at its belief systems. There is more to the task of writing than the mere feeling “I have to write this paper.”
Likewise, there is more to the task of revising than just checking for grammar. Analyze your own statements. As you revise your papers, ask yourself questions: Why do you use “have to” as if the task of writing and/or revising is burdensome? If you can answer this question, then ask more: Why am I in school? What is my purpose? Why do I need this class? All of these questions and more will help you to develop a subject. Place a title on it and you have the beginnings of a paper.
When your professor writes “Well Written & Researched,” it is more of a testament to your attitude about the subject matter versus a testament to your ability to write, research, and synthesize material. These are all of the things you are supposed to do. You can’t get extra credit for doing what you are supposed to do. Your attitude toward the task of writing and your professor’s attitude toward your paper, after reading it, will match if you have approached the task with the feeling of wanting to know more and more about your subject.
If you like your subject, it will show up in the final product. If you don’t like your subject, this will also show up in the final product. The comment “Well Written & Researched” is a testament to your ability not only to allow sufficient time to researching and writing, but also more importantly your ability to take a subject, even if you don’t like it, and present it well, with much passion, fervor, and potential.
The comment also refers to the presence of unbalanced views within the essay. For example, as you develop a revision plan, search for those areas of the essay that reflect personal bias. In addition, search for those areas where you use the bias of an author to form the greater part of your analysis. You must balance views. If you want to keep the author’s quote that reflects personal bias on the topic, then balance this view with another author’s quote.
If you have a personal bias, and you include an author with a personal bias, then you will develop a product that is one-sided. Your paper will appear actually unfinished, because you haven’t explored the topic fully. In this case, your paper will not reflect a fully written, well-researched piece of work. Keep all of these ideas in mind as you revise your papers and ensure that they fully meet the requirements of your professor and the essay prompt.
Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.