Writing as a recursive process is a practice that takes time to master and become fluent in. As a student for the past two semesters I have been learning the process of revision. It has been difficult, but useful, changing how I approach the revision process to my writing. Nancy Sommers who wrote Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers Claims the student writers only revise small local errors in their writing, instead of revising around their changing ideas like the experienced adult writers do. Although I do believe that many students lack this knowledge about revision students can be taught to approach the recursive process as the way an expert writer does without being one.
My first writing assignment that was assigned to me I approached the revision process to much the same way the Sommers would expect me to have. Sommers explains a student’s revision as “ students solve the immediate problems, but blind themselves to problems on the textual level”. This is exactly how I approached my first writing assignment I got in my first semester of college. The assignment was on a prompt about higher education and the main idea of higher education I tried to get through to the reader in the intro was “better understanding of the world we live in to give them the best preparation for whatever could be faced on the next step.”. This idea slightly altered by the time I finished the paper though, which can be seen in my closing when I say “The reason people get an education though is to gain skills and knowledge to be able to apply it to something like a career.”. Looking at the assigment I noticed the only revision I made on the assignment was a grammar error that was pointed out in a peer review of the assignment. I did not look at the change of ideas I had in the first draft of the assignment not making revisions based around that. I did not look at what parts of my writing made sense to the ideas I was trying to get to the reader. I approached the writing process this way in the beginning of the year because that was how I was taught to revise a paper in high school. It was not until becoming under proper guidance in my courses in college that I realized there was more to revision then just the local errors that I was focusing on.
Later in my first semester I wrote my second assignment, which was a paper on Discourse and the relation of dominant and nondominant Discourse. Between my first and second draft of the paper made many changes to my paper. Not just local changes but global changes to better convey my ideas and the flow of thought through the paper. In the first draft I had a supporting idea of conflict between dominant and nondominant Discourse. In the first draft I had trouble incorporating this idea to the rest of my essay. In the second Draft I added a source to help me explain this idea by saying “ I would like to think Delpit would agree with Keating while watching this scene basing off what she writes in her paper. In one of her examples to disprove Gee’s thoughts on conflicting discourses”. Bring delpit into the conversation was a revision that was meant to help and support an idea I had in my first draft. The revisions although not perfect I tried to make to accommodate and support my ideas. Sommers says that experienced writers ask “what does my essay as a whole need to form, balance, rhythm, or communication.”. My revision of this essay while not perfect I was looking and asking the same questions that Sommers describes. In the same way I believe other students when given the proper knowledge about the revision process can approach it as an expert writer they may just not execute it as well.
The execution of approaching the revision process as an expert writer would can get better over time with more practice and guidance. Once the methods of revising like an expert are learned practicing them and getting feedback on them is what helps a student become better at it. Throughout the rest of the first semester and all of the second semester it became easier for me to recognise global errors in mine and others works. Since I was able to see ways that express my ideas making them clear and coherent to the reader. Although I am a student I do not revise like the student sommers explains in here paper. Proper guidance from a writing expert has allowed me to understand a better approach to the revision process. As a result I have become a better writer and now have the proper foundation to build and practice on when revising my writing.