Writing and rewriting this “Bloodchild” essay has been a very new concept to me. First, this essay was the only piece of official college writing that I completed, so that was a challenge in and of itself. Then, the fact that we could rewrite it made my brain explode.
My past writing experience has been the “complete the bullets and you will succeed” type of experience. So when Dr. McCoy gave us no information other than the fact that we had to use Octavia Butlers “Bloodchild”, I was scared. Not knowing what I need to do to get a good grade is very nerve racking. For the most part, I think that trusting my ability as a writer was the scariest part; especially because I have never done anything like it before. Being accustomed to the bullet point mentality has set me back in the writing process because it has not given me a chance to really think for myself and make the connections on my own. With the writing that we did in high school, we always talked about potential topics in class and everything was very in your face and obvious. Even if the teacher didn’t hand you a piece of paper that had bullet points on it. They basically gave you all the ideas anyway.
The ability to rewrite papers has also been a new concept to me. For me, papers have always been something that you got done, handed in, got back a grade and never looked at it again. For this reason, the rewrite is also hard for me. The version of the paper that I handed in was one that I thought was great, so I saw no need for improvement.
When Dr. McCoy and I met to discuss the rewrite, I forgot about the comments that she gave me. My forgetfulness of the comments was not so much because of laziness but because I have never had this opportunity before. In the past, the comments that my teachers had left for me, I never took to heart because I had never seen the point. I didn’t have a chance to improve what I wrote. Additionally, their comments were about the specific content within my essay, rather than the structure of my essay. One comment that will always stick out to me is one that my eleventh grade Literature teacher left on my paper. She wrote something along the lines of “this is not what we talked about in class”. I remember thinking “aren’t we supposed to think outside the box? Isn’t that what you want?” Because of these experiences, professor McCoy’s comments consisting of pointers about ways that I could reformat my essay instead caught me by surprise.
I see the rewrite as both a blessing and a curse. It’s positive because it gives me a chance to fix what I might have done wrong or catch the mistakes that I did not see and has made me realize that my previous comment about how there was “no room for improvement” is not true. However, with rewriting the paper, I’m allowed to look at it again and figure out how to fix those mistakes. That extra effort that I’m putting in to the paper is just something I’m not used to.
This whole process is just a new experience. But as Dr. McCoy said, that’s what college is all about.