Pajama Pants, Fuzzy Blankets, and A Will to Write ~ Alyssa Gundel
Alright, when I get home, I am going to sit down and start this draft. I have only been procrastinating for a week, but now I really have to start. Oooo, should I stop and get snacks or should I get lunch? No, just eat something at the house. But what should I eat? I’ll just stop at McDonald’s. Are my favorite PJ pants clean? I wonder if my dog is asleep on my blanket. I hope not, he makes it smell and he’s a total bed hog.
That’s a normal talk for me, contemplating if I should start my CVCC work after I get home from my three classes at Jefferson Forest, including writing my papers. By the time I get home, I realize that I’ve been procrastinating far too long, but my pajama pants are indeed clean, my lunch is somewhat cold and that my dog is sound asleep on my sister’s bed, which avoids the smell issue. Normally my mind is an endless train of thoughts, but with writing it’s worse. I start with thinking of a good thesis statement and ideas to back up my overall image in my writing. That being said, my outline looks like a spider web of thoughts and confusion. But somewhere along the way, I manage to scramble together enough ideas to create a (hopefully) “A” worthy paper.
When I first begin my papers, I have a slight panic attack. Introductions are always the hardest for me and I am constantly asking myself first grade level questions. “Am I using a hook?” “Do I have my three points?” “Does the thesis use a Because, So format?” After I determine if I have the pieces to fit the puzzle, I start the introduction anyways. Kate Burgess, a student at Plymouth State University studying Interdisciplinary studies, has another approach to her paper. She jumps either into the body paragraphs, or conclusion first, but she is a “scatterbrain” like me (Burgess). When I write, I always try to write in order from introduction, body paragraphs, counterclaim, and conclusion. However, it is important to question yourself along the way by holding on to pieces of information that can be used in the counterclaim of the paper. In the body paragraphs, I pretty much spill everything I know about that specific idea. No rhyme, reason, or format. Just spill. After I spill my brains, I rearrange the order of my sentences, add transitions, and made sure to have a connecting paragraph transition. For the counterclaim, I have a similar idea to Burgess. I try and see things from the other point of view by playing the devil’s advocate. I always ask myself “But, why?” to elaborate and view the opposing viewpoint. After the concession and refutation, the conclusion comes along and I begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, or sort-of. Normally by this point I am thinking about how microwaves work and if there really is other life in space, so I shut my laptop and take a 15-minute music break. When I finally get the willpower to start writing again, which is usually longer than the 15-minute break I planned on taking, I talk to my 5-year-old questioning self and make sure I am summarizing and using my three-part roadmap in my conclusion. And Voila, the paper is complete.
While I wish that I could just turn that in right then, sadly that’s not the case. That was only draft one out of three or four. Plus, peer reviews and a trip (or five) to the Writing Center. Nevertheless, the hardest part for me is over with, because I at least have a format to use when revising my ideas and thoughts. But the best thing to do when I finally complete a first draft of my paper is grab a snack, shut my computer, and cuddle with my dog, even if he makes my blanket smell.