How Do I Write?

        Answer this question in English prose and you have completed the assignment.  Because you are experienced writers, however, you probably will require some guidance.  Experienced writers see more alternatives in language than inexperienced writers see, and this produces some creative chaos that they learn to deal with in various ways, including asking their audiences for more information about what they need.  Since your classmates are your most important audience for all the writing you do in English 221 (hence postings to the public folder instead of papers under the office door), you could start by asking others in the class how they interpret the assignment or what they would like to know about how other people write. 

        Most of us write in solitary splendor, or squalor, so the mystery of other people's composing processes really only can be solved by asking them what they're doing.  Indeed, that is the way modern composition research began to reform the rigid, prescriptive rule teaching that had dominated writing instruction until 1963.  (More about the "Braddock year" later in the course.)   This first assignment tries to initiate that process for English 221 students to give them a chance to intensify their curiosity about how writing happens, and to sharpen their focus on the kinds of issues they might explore for the rest of the semester.  For now, just dive in and write for a while.  Then read what others have written, and perhaps edit and add to what you have posted, taking full advantage of your Author permission on the folder which enables you to change or delete anything you have posted.  Mainly, get used to "driving English 221."  It's a nimble, powerful little vehicle, and it can go almost anywhere.

        When you think you have a serviceable answer to the question, post it to the "How Do I Write" discussion forum in the English 221 GoucherLearn course.  If you have second thoughts, remember that you can delete your own postings or edit and save them.  This should work on all the discussion boards. 

        Try to read everybody's "How do I write?" postings before the first class.  It will help you get to know the personalities behind the names and faces, and it will reveal the true scope of the immensely complex and exciting work we can do this semester.