The process of my writing now compared to a few months ago has changed dramatically, but in a great way. I have learned to write with purpose and to create better organization. There are now a few new important concepts to consider when I begin to write a rough draft.
An important, and maybe most important concept is to have a clear and strong claim. A claim being a position we take in our essay, what we believe to be true, and the thing that we make clearer throughout our essays. This claim is what leads you through your essay and without a strong one it can be hard to find evidence or representative examples. This claim can help you join a conversation. Joining the conversation. This also has been a very important technique so far in my essays. Where do we come in? And how do our claims seek importance? Without joining a conversation we are simply just stating our opinion. But by using this technique of joining the conversation and using representative examples we can effectively sway a reader into believing our opinion. At least that’s what we hope for.
This conversation that we bring up may or may not be controversial, it defiantly helps when our claims are. When we read our own essays it can be hard to see what were missing or what isn’t making sense to our readers because- well were the ones writing it so we understand what we meant. But this idea of reading against the grain can come in handy in a time like this. Reading against the grain is critically analyzing a paper, essay, or anything for that matter. While reading you look for gaps, or find any objections your reader might make. This is best to do a day or two after your write your rough draft, giving your mind a fresh read through. I don’t know about you but reading it days later help it become much easier to spot out the mistakes or weirdly worded sentences, etc. For me, I put a lot of commas in my paper making every sentence much more complicated than it needs to be. So this is a good time for me to re-read it and read against my own writing to see how my reader could pick out issues.
Your claim isn’t a set in stone idea; in fact it’s an evolving idea throughout your essay. You can end the first paragraph with your initial claim, but during your essay while sharing your thoughts and questions you can bring up new claims throughout your essay to push your readers thinking as well. It’s a way of leading your reader along, stringing them behind you- like Hansel and Gretel with breadcrumbs to find their way back! I like that. It’s a technique of leading them where you want them to go. Luring them to your claim by sharing your evolving thoughts on your claim. For example to make this clearer, I began my last essay by saying essentially that we (the police) paint over street art because it is illegal but also because it makes us uncomfortable with its big ideas. Then I define comfortable and street art so that all of us as readers are on the same page. Then by the middle I state artists views on their art, like Allison’s, “Art should provoke more questions than answers and, most of all, should make us think about what we rarely want to think about” (10). And by the end I get to the conclusion or claim that art is supposed to make us think and engage, so why is it being covered up? I also talk about how these big ideas can become overwhelming and we tend to put them in the back of our heads. I also let the readers off the hook by saying, “We all want to be a superhero and solve them, but it’s not reasonable. All we can do is recognize that there are bigger issues than petty arguments, clothes that fit us right, and the crust on our bread.” My claim defiantly evolved from beginning to end, but it’s that leading technique that gets you to the biggest idea of all.
Reading my first essay now I have seen many ways I could change my last claim and make it a better argument. And that’s what gets me so excited about writing this Essay #2 because I can redeem myself once again and make my last claim even more complicated and add new angles.