An assignment from ENGL 105 at UNC, among one of the more moronic of their universal requirements

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Very recently, my writing process changed. I used to jump into a paper with the topic in mind and simply write and find supporting evidence as I go along. But since writing a history paper in college, I’ve found that it’s easier for me to conjure a thesis first, then find supporting evidence for that thesis, and finally bring the evidence together in body paragraphs. I still don’t do any outlining of my actual essay, but my approach to writing has become far more structured. I have to make up for my proclivity to be succinct with many pieces of evidence; I don’t seem to be able to stay on the same point for too long. Now, this length is measured in count of sentences rather than seconds of thought; I will often go into very much analysis on one point in a few number of sentences. This can sometimes make my papers hard to read as sections of them may be dense. The extent to which I’m able to go into deep analysis is highly dependent on the subject matter (such analysis is more common with me if the subject is scientific).

I still very much prefer, and always have preferred, to write without any outline as I have found that I feel encumbered by the outline while actually writing because I’ve dedicated my effort to the outline and it would be a waste to not precisely follow it. It can be gathered from my previous statement that I like to minimize effort in my writing (much to the dismay of my past english teachers). Of course, I don’t believe they should take offense to this because such aspiration for minimization can be seen in my other subjects, even those as beloved by me as math and computer science (this is part of the reason why I like these subjects in the first place: mathematics aspires for brevity and computer science aspires for efficiency).

I don’t often edit my papers very extensively at all. And unfortunately the chance I’ll edit a paper is proportional to how well I think I wrote it. This leads to a chasm in the grades on my papers.