Tag Archives: Blog Project Prompts

Project 5: Multimodal Research Essay Reflection

Many studies about the relationship between learning and reflection indicate that long-term learning takes place during reflection about the work rather than simply in doing the work itself. Thus, following each of your projects, you’ll submit a reflection that discusses how your drafts evolved through the composition process, the strengths and weaknesses of your final draft, and what you learned that will help you in future projects.

On Monday, 27 April, you will submit your reflection for Project 5: Multimodal Research Essay. Your reflection should be submitted as a Google Doc in your "Research Essay" folder on Google Drive. You must submit a reflection to avoid receiving an incomplete on the project.

As you complete your reflection for this project, it should respond to the following questions:

  1. How would you describe the rhetorical situation for this project (purpose, audience, context, author), and how did the rhetorical context influence your decisions about the content and design of your multimodal research essay?
  2. Which of the readings from our textbooks or other readings for the class proved to be most useful in your work on this project? How did you apply the information you learned from these readings in your design, drafting, or revision process for your multimodal research essay?
  3. Discuss how your multimodal research essay evolved from one draft to the next in response to in-class workshops, conferences, peer review, or conversations about the readings.
  4. How did your understanding of the role technology plays in human intellectual, emotional, social, or economic development change as you worked through this project?
  5. A corollary question to consider is, What did you learn about how linguistic, spatial, and visual modes work together in academic writing? How does the function of linguistic content change or evolve in multimodal contexts?
  6. Finally, how would you rate the overall performance and contributions of each of peer review group member, including yourself, on this project (fair, good, excellent, needs improvement, etc.)? And why?

Rather than thinking about this prompt as a series of questions that you answer in order, approach your reflections as an essay intended to explain the choices you made over the course of the project, how your intentions evolved, and what you learned from engaging with this project, along with the readings and class discussions.

I addition to responding to these questions, your reflection should give me some insight into your research and composition process. I want to hear about anything that helps me to understand the work you put into this process, your writing process for the linguistic content, your selection and revision process for the multimodal content, the "angle" you took on the project, etc. I like to hear about strengths of your project and also weaknesses, as well as what you would change if you had more time.

Featured Image Credit: Back in reality by MorBCN on Flickr.

Blog #12: Multimodal Composition

In Writer Designer, the authors maintain that, "To produce a successful text, writers must be able to consciously use different modes both alone and in combination with each other to communicate their ideas to others" (3). Drawing upon work by the New London Group, they describe five modes of communication: linguistic ("The linguistic mode refers to the use of language, which usually means written or spoken words." (5)), visual ("The visual mode refers to the use of images and other characteristics that readers see." (6)), aural ("The aural mode focuses on sound." (8)), spatial ("The spatial mode is about physical arrangement." (10), and gestural ("The gestural mode refers to the way movement, such as body language, can make meaning." (12)).

Arguably, as academic writing shifts from the page to the screen, it is becoming more multimodal. Although at present the linguistic mode--in the form of alphabetic text on the printed page--still remains dominant in academic articles and books, artifacts such as Bound by Law, the excellent text Understanding Comics, and the born digital journal Kairos--to name just a few examples--demonstrate that multimodal scholarship is gaining an audience within and beyond the academy. In this class, in addition to reading examples of multimodal scholarship, you have been producing multimodal forms of academic genres such as the annotated bibliography and the research essay.

Once again this week, the blog provides a forum in which you can explore ideas for the research essay. How will you use or integrate multimodal composition in your research essay? Will you be including images, graphs, diagrams, or perhaps even video or audio files as supporting evidence, in a manner similar to the way you might include a direct quote from a book or article? What do you expect such multimodal evidence will add to your argument? Are you relying on images, charts, graphs, diagrams, or video/audio files as sources of information? How has the inclusion of multimodal sources influenced your research? How will you be using layout and type/font design in order to help organize and present your argument in the research essay?

Posting: Everyone

Commenting: Anyone who needs the extra credit towards the Blog Project.

Taking a break: No one

This week, use your work in progress as the foundation for your blog post. Consider carefully how your research essay will integrate multimodal composition and design. Then discuss how you will combine the linguistic mode with the aural, spatial, visual, or gestural mode to enhance the rhetorical appeal of your argument. As always, before you post, please carefully read and follow the guidelines and posting information for this blog.

Featured Image Credit: "Vallingby 269.jpg" by Design for Health on Flickr.

Blog #11: Interacting With Technology

Over the course of the semester, we have read a number of articles about how technology is affecting our individual and social lives. Jeffrey Rosen discusses how social media and surveillance technology are pushing us to reconsider how we interpret the First and Fourth Amendment, and conceive of our fundamental constitutional rights to free speech and privacy. Carolyn Miller and Dawn Shepherd provide an early examination of internet blogging and its relationship to other forms of journaling and self expression such as diaries, and captain's logs. James Boyle, Jennifer Jenkins, and Keith Aoki look at copyright, fair use, and changing landscape of documentary film-making. And in the work we've read most recently, Howard Rheingold offers advice about how to cultivate "mindfulness" in the information age.

Since this class began in January, in addition to reading, thinking about, and discussing these assigned texts, you have been conducting your own independent research. Some of you are looking at advances in medical technology; others are investigating ethics and journalism; still others are interested in startup culture, the causes of the financial crisis, organized crime, new media and celebrity culture, or video gamers and gender politics. Through your research you have developed your own areas of expertise.

This week the blog becomes an open forum in which you can publish some of your work-in-progress from your research essays. Test out your thesis. Give us an abstract. Ask for feedback about a question that you're still investigating. What have you learned from your research into your subject? What has your research helped you to understand about the assigned readings? What are the questions or issues you want to make sure we consider before the semester is over?

Posting: Everyone

Commenting: Anyone who needs the extra credit towards the Blog Project.

Taking a break: No one

This week, use your research as the foundation for your blog post. You can provide an abstract or brief summary of the argument you're constructing in your research essay. Introduce and summarize a resource that you've found to be particularly valuable. Or you can identify the "big questions" that remain unanswered, even after months of research. As always, before you post, please carefully read and follow the guidelines and posting information for this blog.

Image Credit: "Speaker's corner" by Ade Oshineye on Flickr.

Blog Post #10: Who Owns Your Education Data?

In a webinar she gave for #ETMOOC, a connectivist massively open online course, Audrey Watters proclaimed that the statement, "I have read and agree to the Terms of Service," is the biggest lie on the internet. How many times do we "click through" this question when downloading and installing or updating the latest web app? How many times do we actually take the time to stop and read the terms of service?

In April of 2013, the New York Times ran a story titled, “Teacher Knows if You’ve Done the E-Reading.” In the article David Streitfeld describes digital texts that track “when students are skipping pages, failing to highlight significant passages, not bothering to take notes — or simply not opening the book at all.” The data collected isn’t just made available to the teacher in the course, however. As Streitfeld later points out, “Eventually, the data will flow back to the publishers, to help prepare new editions.”

The development of new teaching technologies that allow schools and teachers to track student data presents significant opportunities to improve teaching and learning at every level. It also, as Watters pointed out in her webinar, raises concerns about what happens to student and instructor data and intellectual property once the course is over.

The “defaults” in place under federal law give students control over the intellectual property you create and your educational data. When we use systems like Desire2Learn , however, your rights may be governed by terms of service we, as individuals never even see, and might not understand even if we had the opportunity and time to read them. In the best of circumstances, where we freely decide to “click the box” in order to download iTunes or use Google Apps, the terms of service are a contract of adhesion, in which one party–not us–has all the power to decide its terms and conditions. In an educational setting, where use of the technology is a condition of participation in the class, the situation is even more coercive.

One crowdsourced project TOS;DR (stands for "Terms of Service, didn't read) is trying to make the terms of service for commonly used web applications easier to understand. This information could be useful as we attempt to make what Rheingold might call more "mindful" choices about the tools we use to engage with digital culture. Should schools have an obligation to ensure that the terms of service for education technologies such as D2L/Brightspace respect students privacy and intellectual property rights? Should schools have an obligation to involve students in the negotiations regarding those terms of service? Should schools be obligated to provide TOS;DR-style explanations of the terms of service for required educational technologies? Should we enact laws to set limits on what terms of service educational technology providers can require? Should such laws perhaps extend even to providers of all web apps, social media, and "cloud computing" services?

Posting: Group 3

Commenting: Group 1

Taking a Break: Group 2

Category: "Who Owns Your Education Data?"

Read through some of the linked resources in this post, and take some time to do some research of your own on the web. Then, in your Blog #10 post, take a position that attempts to answer the questions presented in this prompt. Remember, rather than simply answering a series of questions in order, use the questions as a starting point for constructing a brief essay organized around your own thesis about attention, technology, and how the internet is affecting our thinking and learning. Please carefully read and follow the guidelines and posting information for this blog.

Image Credit: "Sayings of DonkeyHotey #9: 'When do citizens get to write the terms of service?'" by DonkeyHotey on Flickr.

Blog Post #9: Evaluating Quality of Information

Over the course of the semester, we have learned to use internet search engines alongside more traditional tools like the library catalog to locate relevant information. Arguably, one of the most important contributions Google has made to date is its "Google Books" project that has digitized millions of books and rendered them full-text searchable. As Howard Rheingold points out in the first Chapter of NetSmart, however, critics of the web and how we use it, critics such as Nicholas Carr, argue that the internet is "making us stupid," degrading the quality of our memories and our ability to recall, retain, and use information.

Rheingold himself, though, takes a less pessimistic stance. He argues that it's not the internet itself, but rather the way we tend to use the technology that is contributing to the intellectual decline Carr has observed:

Again, I reject the simple deterministic answer that the machine's affordances inevitably control the way we use the mechanism. Shallow inquiry--the unformed way in which many people use search engines to find answers--is the deeper problem, and one that can be remedied culturally. Just as the ancient arts of rhetoric taught citizens how to construct and weigh arguments, a mindful rhetoric of digital search would concentrate attention on the process of inquiry--the kinds of questions people turn into initial search queries, and the kinds of further questions that can deepen their search (53).

According to Rheingold, "finding what you really need to know and knowing how to sort the good from the bad info are complementary (and essential) skills in today's infosphere." So Rheingold emphasizes the responsibility we all have as readers to sift through the information we encounter on the web in order to sort reliable from unreliable, high quality from low quality sources. This is one part of what Rheingold has called "mindfulness." Another important aspect of mindfulness is being aware of what you are contributing to the information tsunami; this aspect of mindfulness focuses on our responsibility as authors to ensure that the content we are generating is ethical and credible.

"Weapons of Mass Distraction" by birgerking on Flickr.

What do you think about Rheingold's argument? Is it possible to train ourselves to be more mindful by "paying attention to attention"? Is it possible to sort bad information from good, and what knowledge from this class might help in that process? What do you think of the argument that you have a responsibility as an internet user to help ensure or maintain the quality of information that circulates on the web? What are some of the strategies you use to filter information, prevent distraction, and manage your attention?

Posting: Group 2

Commenting: Group 3

Taking a Break: Group 1

Category: "Evaluating Quality of Information"

Re-read Chapter 1 of NetSmart, and take some time to do some research of your own on the web. Then, in your Blog #9 post, take a position that attempts to answer the questions presented in this prompt. Remember, rather than simply answering a series of questions in order, use the questions as a starting point for constructing a brief essay organized around your own thesis about attention, technology, and how the internet is affecting our thinking and learning. Please carefully read and follow the guidelines and posting information for this blog.

Image Credit: "Amidst Distractions" by Simply CVR on Flickr.

Project 4: Literature Review Essay Reflection Prompt

Many studies about the relationship between learning and reflection indicate that long-term learning takes place during reflection about the work rather than simply in doing the work itself. Thus, following each of your projects, you’ll submit a reflection that discusses how your drafts evolved through the composition process, the strengths and weaknesses of your final draft, and what you learned that will help you in future projects.

On Monday, 30 March, you will submit your reflection for Project 4, the literature review essay. Your reflection should be submitted as a Google Doc in your "Literature Review Essay" folder on Google Drive. You must submit a reflection to avoid receiving an incomplete on the project.

As you complete your reflection for this project, it should respond to the following questions:

  1. How would you describe the rhetorical situation for this project (purpose, audience, context, author), and how did the rhetorical context influence your decisions about the content and design of your literature review essay?
  2. Which of the readings from our textbooks or other readings for the class proved to be most useful in your work on this project? How did you apply the information you learned from these readings in your design, drafting, or revision process for your literature review essay?
  3. Discuss how your literature review essay evolved from one draft to the next in response to in-class workshops, conferences, peer review, or conversations about the readings.
  4. How did your understanding of the role technology plays in human intellectual, emotional, social, or economic development change as you worked through this project?
  5. A corollary question to consider is, What did you learn about how linguistic, spatial, and visual modes work together in academic writing? How does the function of linguistic content change or evolve in multimodal contexts?
  6. Finally, how would you rate the overall performance and contributions of each of peer review group member, including yourself, on this project (fair, good, excellent, needs improvement, etc.)? And why?

Rather than thinking about this prompt as a series of questions that you answer in order, approach your reflections as an essay intended to explain the choices you made over the course of the project, how your intentions evolved, and what you learned from engaging with this project, along with the readings and class discussions.

I addition to responding to these questions, your reflection should give me some insight into your research and composition process. I want to hear about anything that helps me to understand the work you put into this process, your writing process for the linguistic content, your selection and revision process for the multimodal content, the "angle" you took on the project, etc. I like to hear about strengths of your project and also weaknesses, as well as what you would change if you had more time.

Featured Image Credit: Back in reality by MorBCN on Flickr.

Blog Post #8: “Uncreative Writing”

As we have read in Bound By Law, the U.S. Copyright Act only protects expression that is "original," that is expression that exhibits at least some minimal amount of "creative" content contributed by the author or creator. Thus, the Copyright Act arguably rewards--in order to encourage--creativity. It does not reward "sweat of the brow" labor that might go into authoring an "uncreative" work (like a white pages phone directory, for example), no matter how useful the thing that results from such labor might be. Uncreative works do not receive any copyright protection at all in the U.S. Yet, what does it mean for a work to be "creative"? And why shouldn't authors and creators be rewarded for their hard work, as well as their creativity?

 As opposed to Pound, there is no attempt to blend the shards into a whole; instead there is an accumulation of language, most of it not belonging to Benjamin. Instead of admiring the author’s synthetic skills, we are made to think about the exquisite quality of Benjamin’s choices, his taste. It’s what he selects to copy that makes this work successful. Benjamin’s insistent use of fragmentary wholes does not make the text the final destination, rather, like Duchamp, we are thrown away from the object by the power of the mirror.
"As opposed to Pound, there is no attempt to blend the shards into a whole; instead there is an accumulation of language, most of it not belonging to Benjamin. Instead of admiring the
author’s synthetic skills, we are made to think about the exquisite quality of Benjamin’s choices, his taste. It’s what he selects to copy that makes this work successful. Benjamin’s insistent use of fragmentary wholes does not make the text the final destination, rather, like Duchamp, we are thrown away from the object by the power of the mirror."

In his essay "Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age," Kenneth Goldsmith argues "the digital environment has completely changed the literary playing field, in terms of both content and authorship. In a time when the amount of language is rising exponentially, combined with greater access to the tools with which to manage, manipulate, and massage those words, appropriation is bound to become just another tool in the writers’ toolbox, an acceptable—and accepted—way of constructing a work of literature, even for more traditionally oriented writers." In making his argument for the value, and even the necessity of appropriation or copying the work of others as a composition strategy, Goldsmith begins with a series of thought-provoking questions about the nature of authorship and who owns cultural production like literature, art, and even scholarship:

Isn’t all cultural material shared, with new works built upon preexisting ones, whether acknowledged or not? Haven’t writers been appropriating from time eternal? What about those well-digested strategies of collage and pastiche? Hasn’t it all been done before? And, if so, is it necessary to do it again? What is the difference between appropriation and collage?

Referencing the work of well-known literary figures, such as Walter Benjamin and Ezra Pound, as well as visual artists, such as Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp, Goldsmith calls into question some of the fundamental assumptions or values informing the Copyright Act and more than 200 years of copyright law interpretation in court cases and government regulation.

"The assemblage and collage quality of The Cantos stitches together thousands of lines, drawn from a number other sources, literary and nonliterary, all held in place with the glue of Pound’s own language to create a unified whole. Like a gleaner of history, he collects heaps of ephemera from the ages and sorts through it looking for the gems out of which he will construct his epic; sound, sight, and meaning coalesce, frozen in shimmering verse. Everything seems to have come from somewhere else, but it has been chosen with distinctive and carefully cultivated taste; his genius is in synthesizing found material into a cohesive whole."

Goldsmith is just one of a growing number of scholars, lawyers, and creators who have begun to question these values and assumptions. Further, though courts sometimes use them interchangeably, "creative" and "original" are not necessarily synonyms when one is discussing copyright. Creative work can theoretically be unoriginal. So for example, if someone who has never read or heard of the Twilight novels managed independently to reproduce them word-for-word, that someone could not be held liable for copyright infringement. Independent creation is not copying, and where copying hasn't occurred, neither has copyright infringement.

Image of "Still Life With Chair Caning" by Pablo Picasso
" Like a candle, Still Life with Chair Caning is a picture that draws you into its composition; clearly, you could spend a lot of time absorbed in this picture and basking in its warm glow."

And, expression that is "creative" but not "original" is not copyrightable. So, with regard to our hypothetical author who unwittingly reproduced the Twilight novels, he might not be guilty of copyright infringement, but he might encounter difficulty claiming copyright ownership in his work. To extend the hypothetical just a bit further, what would happen if another equally clueless would-be author plagiarized him, but could prove she herself never had access to Stephenie Meyer's work? Would she be guilty of copyright infringement? Perhaps not.

"Unlike Picasso’s constructive method, Duchamp didn’t use collage to create a harmonious, compelling composition, rather he eschewed “the retinal” qualities to create an object that doesn’t require a viewership as much as it does a thinkership; no one has ever stood wide-eyed before Duchamp’s urinal admiring the quality and application of the glaze. Instead, Duchamp invokes the mirror, creating a repellent and reflective object, one that forces us to turn away in other directions."
"Unlike Picasso’s constructive method, Duchamp didn’t use collage to create a harmonious,
compelling composition, rather he eschewed “the retinal” qualities to create
an object that doesn’t require a viewership as much as it does a thinkership; no one has ever stood wide-eyed before Duchamp’s urinal admiring the quality and application of the glaze. Instead, Duchamp invokes the mirror, creating a repellent and reflective object, one that forces us to turn away in other directions."

What do you think about the creativity/originality requirement? Is it the best way to determine who gets to claim a copyright and what that copyright covers? Can you think of a better system? And what about the work you've been doing in this class, in the annotated bibliography and the literature review? Arguably, the work you're doing is largely equivalent to a collage or pastiche comprising the work of other authors.  Should your work on these projects be protected by copyright? What part of it would be copyrightable? How would you feel if someone copied your work and claimed it was his or her own?

Posting: Group 1

Commenting: Group 2

Taking a Break: Group 3

Category: "Uncreative Writing"

Read the linked essay from Goldsmith, and take some time to do some research of your own on the web. Then, in your Blog #8 post, take a position that attempts to answer at least three of the questions presented in this prompt. Remember, rather than simply answering a series of questions in order, use the questions as a starting point for constructing a brief essay organized around your own thesis about copyright infringement, originality and creativity, and how copyright rewards some forms of labor but not others. Please carefully read and follow the guidelines and posting information for this blog.

Image Credit: "copy culture" by Will Lion on Flickr.

Blog Post #7: Defining Plagiarism

This week, we are beginning our examination of the regulatory structures--both legal and moral--that we have established around rhetorical processes. In Bound By Law, the authors discuss how the U.S. Copyright Act attempts to balance intellectual property and free speech rights, the rights of copyright owners and the rights of artists and creators. The legal regulation of rhetorical processes via copyright law co-exists with implicit and explicit ethical regulations--like the Georgia State Academic Honesty Policy--that particular communities establish around their rhetorical processes. While copyright infringement and plagiarism seem conceptually similar at first glance, they are not interchangeable. For example, if a student purchases an essay from an essay mill or pays another student to do the work, that probably isn't copyright infringement, but it's definitely plagiarism. Similarly, quoting from a source for an academic paper almost certainly falls under the Copyright Act's fair use exception, whether or not the source is properly cited. It's not the Copyright Act but rather the code of ethics related to academic work that requires scholars (both students and professionals) to follow citation and attribution conventions.

In a very important piece on plagiarism that was published almost 15 years ago in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Rebecca Moore Howard argues, "[i]n our stampede to fight . . . a 'plague' of plagiarism, we risk becoming the enemies rather than the mentors of our students; we are replacing the student-teacher relationship with the criminal police relationship." According to Howard, "we have to ask ourselves why [students] are plagiarizing":

It is possible that students are cheating because they don't value the opportunity of learning in our classes. Some of that is cultural, of course. Today's students are likely to change jobs many times before they retire, so they must earn credentials for an array of job possibilities, rather than immersing themselves in a focused, unchanging area of expertise. The fact that many of them are working long hours at outside jobs only exacerbates the problem.

It is possible that our pedagogy has not adjusted to contemporary circumstances as readily as have our students. Rather than assigning tasks that have meaning, we may be assuming that students will find meaning in performing assigned tasks. How else can one explain giving the same paper assignment semester after semester to a lecture class of 100 students? Such assignments expect that students will gain something from the act of writing, but they do not respond to the needs and interests of the students in a particular section of the class. They are, in that sense, inauthentic assignments.

Partially in response to Howard's work, the Council of Writing Program Administrators created a "best practices" statement for instructors on "Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism." In that document, the WPA observes that instructors themselves can contribute to the plagiarism problem through poor project design:

When assignments are highly generic and not classroom-specific, when there is no instruction on plagiarism and appropriate source attribution, and when students are not led through the iterative processes of writing and revising, teachers often find themselves playing an adversarial role as “plagiarism police” instead of a coaching role as educators. Just as students must live up to their responsibility to behave ethically and honestly as learners, teachers must recognize that they can encourage or discourage plagiarism not just by policy and admonition, but also in the way they structure assignments and in the processes they use to help students define and gain interest in topics developed for papers and projects.

Rebecca Schuman, a writer for Slate, argues in "The End of the College Essay" that traditional essay assignments do little more than encourage already rampant plagiarism, and professors should replace them with different kinds of projects and assessments. Image credit: "Plagiarism" by ransomtech on Flickr.

Continue reading Blog Post #7: Defining Plagiarism

Project 3: Multimedia Annotated Bibliography Reflection Prompt

Many studies about the relationship between learning and reflection indicate that long-term learning takes place during reflection about the work rather than simply in doing the work itself. Thus, following each of your projects, you’ll submit a reflection that discusses how your drafts evolved through the composition process, the strengths and weaknesses of your final draft, and what you learned that will help you in future projects.

On Monday, 2 March, you will submit your reflection for Project 3, the multimedia annotated bibliography. Your reflection should be submitted as a Google Doc in your "Multimedia Annotated Bibliography" folder on Google Drive. You must submit a reflection to avoid receiving an incomplete on the project.

As you complete your reflection for this project, it should respond to the following questions:

  1. How would you describe the rhetorical situation for this project (purpose, audience, context, author), and how did the rhetorical context influence your decisions about the content and design of your annotated bibliography?
  2. Which of the readings from our textbooks or other readings for the class proved to be most useful in your work on this project? How did you apply the information you learned from these readings in your design, drafting, or revision process for your annotated bibliography?
  3. Discuss how your annotated bibliography evolved from one draft to the next in response to in-class workshops, conferences, peer review, or conversations about the readings.
  4. How did your understanding of the role technology plays in human intellectual, emotional, social, or economic development change as you worked through this project?
  5. A corollary question to consider is, What did you learn about how linguistic, spatial, and visual modes work together in academic writing? How does the function of linguistic content change or evolve in multimodal contexts?
  6. Finally, how would you rate the overall performance and contributions of each of peer review group member, including yourself, on this project (fair, good, excellent, needs improvement, etc.)? And why?

Rather than thinking about this prompt as a series of questions that you answer in order, approach your reflections as an essay intended to explain the choices you made over the course of the project, how your intentions evolved, and what you learned from engaging with this project, along with the readings and class discussions.

I addition to responding to these questions, your reflection should give me some insight into your research and composition process. I want to hear about anything that helps me to understand the work you put into this process, your writing process for the linguistic content, your selection and revision process for the multimodal content, the "angle" you took on the project, etc. I like to hear about strengths of your project and also weaknesses, as well as what you would change if you had more time.

Featured Image Credit: Back in reality by MorBCN on Flickr.

Blog Post #6: Finding Your Voice

*****EVERYONE WILL BE WORKING IN RESPONSE TO THE BLOG PROMPT THIS WEEK. WORK SHOULD BE SUBMITTED ON GOOGLE DRIVE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROMPT DIRECTIONS BY WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4 AT MIDNIGHT *****

In his book, Telling Writing, Ken Macrorie advises writers to speak truthfully, to avoid artificial language, to avoid trying to sound or write like people they are not: 

This is the first requirement for good writing: truth; not the truth (whoever knows surely what that is?), but some kind of truth--a connection between the things written about, the words used in the writing, and the author's experience in a world she knows well--whether in fact or dream or imagination.

Part of growing up is learning to tell lies, big and little, sophisticated and crude, conscious and unconscious. The good writer differs from the bad one in constantly trying to shake the habit. She holds herself to the highest standard of truth telling. Often she emulates children, who tell the truth so easily, partly because they do not sense how truth will shock their elders.

To assist writers with finding their voices, Macrorie offers "shotgunning" exercises in which he advises writers to write non-stop for 15-20 minutes on anything that comes to mind, or about a subject chosen in advance. Continue reading Blog Post #6: Finding Your Voice