While working through the writing process for the Genre Pieces Project, I found Caitlin Thomas' post intriguing and relevant to my recent experiences. Thomas wrote about her narrative genre piece and the difficult time she is having with producing quality work. Thomas shared, "When I begin to write, I notice that my voice becomes lost, because I want my narrative to sound as well written as those I have read" (Thomas, Entry 7). I think this is a very common feeling among writers, where comparing your work to another author's work is easy and sometimes unavoidable. However, being that our Genre Pieces Project is completely specific to our individual experience, so too will our writing voice show individuality and not necessarily match other work. I understand how Thomas could feel lost in writing, but I think that may stem from simple inexperience with the genre. She spoke about her writing in college being generally research-based, which makes her being uncomfortable with narrative writing quite understandable. I think reading and learning from other narrative writing pieces and becoming comfortable with the genre itself will help writers like Thomas feel more comfortable, which she explained has helped but has also created a feeling of competitiveness. To fight this off, I would suggest peer review and discussion.
Thomas wrote, "I need to take advantage of my genre group members in order to receive proper guidance
and feedback on my piece" (Thomas, Entry 7). This was an incredibly important observation because of the real impact peer review and discussion can have on a writer's perspective. My group made substantial progress this week through our brainstorming meeting, where we focused time on each member, listening to each others opinions and offering new ideas. Each person in my group left the meeting with a new perspective on her writing and felt more confident in her work. Tompkins (2012) discusses this importance of peer review and I believe it could help Thomas tremendously in her work. Even though I am not in her writing group, the advice I would give is to consider using a voice different than her own. Thomas is focusing her project on her vegan lifestyle, and writing a narrative piece from her own current perspective may seem a bit basic or unimaginative. However, if she wrote about her decision to be vegan from her perspective but fifty years from now, or someone else admiring her lifestyle. Putting a simple twist on the voice of the narrative could give it an edge that makes it feel more unique, less boring, and more intriguing for the audience, which Thomas seems quite concerned about.
Thomas discussed setting up a conference with Dr. Jones as another way to get clarity on her ideas, which is another important part of the writing process. As teachers, we strive to meet with students as often as possible to check-in on their work and help them where it is needed; as students ourselves, however, I think we often mistakenly think we are outside of the need to meet with the teacher for help. Conferencing with the professor can only help our progress, not only as a check-in to ensure we are on the right track requirement-wise, but also to get new ideas and perspective from the teacher herself. Thomas is using graphic organizers to plan her narrative piece which would be excellent documentation of her progress, as well as any drafts she has, to bring to a teacher conference.
The Genre Pieces Project, even though seemingly simple on the outside, is actually quite challenging in causing us to step outside our comfort zone and extend our writing abilities far beyond what we're used to. I think Caitlin Thomas' topic is unique and interesting, and she is on the right track to success.