Dear Portfolio readers,

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I love to write. Since I was in elementary school I’ve been writing stories – fiction. When I signed up for UWP 1, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t know what genre we would be exploring – fiction, nonfiction, expository, or persuasive. But I kept an open mind, keen on the idea of learning and improving my writing.

If you were to ask me what ‘good writing’ was before I took this class, I would have answered based on the form I enjoy – fiction – ignoring what constitutes ‘good writing’ in any other genre. I would have said good sentence structure and interesting content. Sentences that flow and deliver a clear, cohesive theme. However, since taking UWP 1 my perspective has changed. I got to branch out and explore different styles of writing that I wouldn’t have otherwise, like expository and research. And, I was able to incorporate elements of my own writing techniques into my papers which made them all the more enjoyable to write.

The biggest thing I took away from UWP 1, was learning to write a “shitty first draft” and accepting criticism from that point forward. I found this advice extremely helpful, regardless of what I may have been writing. When I wrote my first draft of the Self-study/literacy narrative, I couldn’t have been more displeased with it. I remember reading it in disgust and thinking there was no way I could turn this in for a grade. However, once it was submitted for revision and I had time away from it, I was able to come back and read it with fresh eyes, as well as incorporate advice from my peers. This not only made my second draft exponentially better, but it made the last revision a piece of cake.

As for my research paper, I completely scrapped my first draft and rewrote the entire thing the second time around. But this is not to say that the first draft was a waste of time. I already had many ideas and research under my best from the first draft, but this time I was able to write the next draft in a way that made sense to me, and flowed a lot easier.

So to answer the above question, what is ‘good writing’? , I would say writing that has potential. It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time around, in fact, the worse – the better. It just has to be good enough to provoke a thoughtful response that improves the writing in a way that couldn’t have been done had it been written ‘good’ enough the first time around. The first drafts of both assignments I wrote stimulated an epiphany, one that was able to make my second drafts so much better than a ‘good’ first draft. After writing these two assignments, I’ve proven myself that I can come a long way from a “shitty first draft” regardless of the genre.

Thank you for reading!


Samantha Stratman