Unit 1 Portrait of a Writer

Portrait of a Writer

That’s you! In this unit, you’ll get the chance to take a look at who you are as a writer, a literate person — what you feel about writing, who and what influenced you for good or ill, how you developed your writing process. And you’ll start to build your own theory of writing, because, even if you hate writing, you’re stuck with it, both in college and in the world of work. So it’s a good idea to start thinking about how you can transfer what you learn about yourself and your process to those other contexts.

For most of the unit, we’ll be reading, posting, and talking about writing.

For the essay at the end of the unit, here’s what you’ll do:

Look back over your posts and think about the class discussions, and write about what you’ve learned. I’m not looking for you to persuade me about anything; I’m looking for you to think through your history as a reader and writer, your attitude toward and beliefs about writing, and the place writing now has and probably will have in the future. Then tell me what insights you’ve gained, and what in the readings and discussion helped you get there.

This is NOT a chronology of your life. This IS a “so what do I think?” piece. What have you found out about yourself as a writer? What’s surprising? What’s annoying? What’s giving you hope or even despair?

This is also NOT an “Introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, concluding paragraph” piece. Tell me what you’re thinking, in whatever length and structure you want to tell it.

One word: when you cite something from a reading, be sure to say where it came from. We’ll talk about in-text citations in class, but when you’re writing it, don’t panic about it–just give the author credit by saying his/her name, and we’ll make it “formal” later.

Have fun with this. Dig deep. Be honest. And get things in on time!


  • Length: Make sure it’s 500 words or so.
  • Audience: you and me.
  • Due dates:
    • Post your first draft by 2/20. Attach it as a Word doc using the Add Media function. No post, no workshop, no notes from me.
    • Post your revised draft and writer’s statement by 2/27. Attach as a Word doc using the Add Media function. Remember: you’ll be doing a last revision at the end of the term, and the grade you get now can change.