Major Writing Assignment #1 Postmortem

This writing assignment ended up being a little bit easier than I had initially anticipated. In other classes, writing 5-7 pages in 11-point font with 1.15 spacing is quite a daunting task, but because of the structure of the paper (6 sections to discuss per assignment), I was able to write this much faster than normal. I started the assignment on Sunday by writing part of the executive summary, the interview summary, and the titles for the sections. I then wrote the analysis for each piece (one each) on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Finally, I proofread and put on some finishing touches on Wednesday and Thursday morning. This time frame was a little more spread out than other papers that I’ve done in the past, primarily due to the changing due date, which was nice. However, I wish that I had allocated more time for proofreading and revising.

The main surprising thing about doing this assignment was how quickly it went by. Like I mentioned earlier, papers of this length typically take me much longer. It was also surprising to me that all of the people who I emailed about the interview were willing to respond; I didn’t expect to have to tell people that someone else had beat them to responding. The hardest part of this essay was avoiding writing in the first person, especially in the interview summary: it is very natural to say “I interviewed [subject]”, and seemingly more awkward to say “[subject] was interview”. The easiest part, as mentioned a couple of times above, was reaching the length suggestion. This was a pleasant surprise, as I had assumed that it would be one of the harder parts.

To proofread the paper, I read over it on the computer screen, then printed it and edited it with a red pen. I like to do this for all long writing assignments, as I typically find more errors on the physical copy than I can see on a screen. I’ve even used this technique for debugging code in the past. The next time I do an assignment like this, I will be sure to leave more time for proofreading and revising. I liked writing one analysis at a time, as I didn’t experience significant writer’s block. If someone doing this assignment asked me for advice, I would tell them to split the work up between different nights. This helps by both lessening the amount of continuous time spent in front of a computer screen, as well as giving the mind a chance to take a break between writing something and revising it. I find that this break is important; when I don’t take a break, my papers tend to be more error prone.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this assignment. It didn’t take nearly as long as I expected, and it helped me learn about what I will be writing and reading in the workplace.

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