Confessions of a Part-time Reviewer

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Personal Confessions April 19, 2010

     Completing this project has given me great insight into my skills and work behavior.  When I first outlined the plans for this project I overestimated the amount of work that could be accomplished in the given timeframe.  So when the time came for the first progress report, I was disheartened with how little I had been able to accomplish.  However, this experience did make me realize that I was going to have to reevaluate my plan and balance the priorities of the project. 

     This is one of the first occasions for which I questioned my ability to complete a task.  I believe I had an idea that this project would be almost too easy to get through—I’m a great reader and writer, why wouldn’t I be a great book reviewer?  I didn’t get far into the project at all before I recognized just how much of a challenge the task would prove.  Throughout the entire process I found that I had to repeatedly change my project goals and personal expectations.  From finding that there isn’t much history out there about book reviewing to having to change the number of texts reviewed, something was always fluctuating.  For someone who needs to make lists for everything and complete duties in a specific order, the back and forth alterations bothered me.  However, in this instance I didn’t have a choice but to adapt to the changes and turn them into something beneficial instead of detrimental.  Recognizing that an original plan can’t be realized and then rising to the occasion is something I’m certain will help me later in the workforce. 

     The greatest obstacle in this process proved to be time.  Everything took longer than expected, and from the beginning I never had enough time.  For someone who considers herself a fast reader and a fairly quick writer, reading the review texts and actually writing the reviews took substantially longer to accomplish than originally intended.  Considering all the other work and responsibilities I juggled during this time, as the weeks drug on I began to think that I would never finish the project. 

     But, I surprised myself.  Though not within my envisioned timeframe and not to its full potential, my book review blog was completed.  Despite the nit-picky flaws that I inevitably pick out, looking at my blog gives me a great sense of pride.  I’m not particularly technology savvy, so creating any sort of website is a big deal.  Realizing that I designed and executed this project from scratch, going through all the phases of research, design, writing, editing, and so forth, seems a little surreal.  Even though a devised this plan, I think part of me never believed that I could bring it to fruition.  To an extent I feel vindicated with my efforts, having won out over my own doubts.  Also, this completed project is a fantastic testament to the skills I’ve acquired as a PWR student.  Without the combined theoretical and practical knowledge learned by participating in the discipline, the project wouldn’t have been possible.  Being a PWR student has taught me to take a holistic approach to creating documents, thinking both about the fine details and abstract big-picture implications.  By thinking in this mindset I was able to tackle problems that arouse and produce an effective (hopefully) project that benefits both me and others. 

     Here is a list of some rhetorical strategies and concerns I considered while producing my project. 

 

  • the integral relationship between writer, reader, and text: when producing a document and understanding the three must be balanced in order to create an effective product
  • the importance of visual rhetoric: documentation is no longer strictly text-focused, and knowing how and when to use graphics like photos, tables, and diagrams can build a much stronger document that will appeal to a greater number of people
  • blending traditional writing skills with electronic media: with increasing advances in technology, old and new forms of communication must find a way to work together in order to survive
  • creating a text that is focused on supporting your purpose and audience: if your document doesn’t appeal to its intended document or fails to  achieve its purpose, then it is basically obsolete
  • writing is a non-linear process: good writing isn’t made after only going through one round of scrutiny. Editing, revisions, reframing, are all important steps in producing a document that strives to achieve its full potential
  • the importance of interactive components in a text: interactive or collaborative activities bridge communication and informational exchange between writer and reader. A reader becomes more engaged with the story when they have direct access to influence the text.

 

 

Confessions of a Part-time Reviewer holds great personal value to me, as I hope it will eventually for other people.  Producing the site allowed me to combine two of my educational interests and investigate a potential career option.  It also made me realize just how much I’ve learned from my PWR courses and how the lessons influence, and will continue to influence, all of my writing tasks.  Seeing my talents artfully applied to produce a tangible expression of my education somehow makes the past four years of studying more fruitful and eases my mind a little more about how I will fare in the real world.  I feel that this project provides a great example of how PWR skills can be put to use to produce viable creations of every variety and continuously shape practitioners’ decisions and actions.

 

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