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Campus Alert

Toby Canino Student Excellence Showcase Carroll Community College

Course: Creative Writing, ENGL-218
Dr. Jody Nusholtz
Assignment Title:
It’s Okay to Be Wrong When Writing

Student Excellence Showcase Toby Canino Carroll Community College

Assignment Details

For my Creative Writing Final Portfolio assignment, I got to spend the entire semester writing and revising a short story and two poems. This semester-long assignment received feedback from my classmates and professor. These comments guided my revisions over the semester. I was given tentative grades along the way to show me where I was in the writing process, so that I could continue to work on the parts of my writing that needed the most work. 


This assignment has helped me see the power of revision in the writing process. Giving and receiving feedback in workshops helped me learn what makes a good short story and a good poem successful. Feedback I received from my classmates and Dr. Nusholtz felt like a relative of the voice in the back of my head. I knew exactly what they meant by their comments but before hearing their feedback I was blind to what was missing from my work. Other times the feedback I would receive would force me to listen to what the voice in the back of my head was already screaming at me. The workshops also allowed me to see what my readers were taking away from my writing, allowing me to strengthen it so I could get my message to my readers in a stronger way. My biggest take away from my final portfolio assignment was how important it is to have good writers review your work. All the works of writing that made it into my final portfolio received feedback from my classmates several times. Without their advice, my final works of writing would not have been the best versions they could be. 


Writer’s block was a big fear I had going into creative writing, but I was able to overcome it with a few strategies I came up with along the way. Every time an idea came into my head for a story or a poem, I would write it down in a Word document. Sometimes it would be a title or a few lines of an idea that I could expand on. Even though the ideas were incomplete, they provided me with something to come back to when I was ready to write. Another thing I learned was to keep writing even if the words finding their way to the page were completely ridiculous. I still felt the empty, uncomfortable feeling that comes with writer’s block, but I was getting closer to an idea than I would if I wasn’t writing at all. Another method that I got to try out was picking random words out of a dictionary and using all of them to write a short paragraph or poem. This method is challenging, but it can be very enjoyable and a great way to exercise the writing muscles in your brain.

Challenges and Successes

The greatest challenge I faced while working on my portfolio was entering into the world of poetry. I had never written poetry in the past unless it was against my will. It always felt like something that only “chosen ones” could do. I went into the poetry unit with an open mind, however; and I managed to surprise myself with what I was able to accomplish. At the end of the unit, I told Dr. Nusholtz that I had never learned so much information in such a short period of time. I’m not saying it was easy though. The first poem I wrote was obviously the work of a young poet, and by the time I finished editing it the only thing that remained the same was the general idea. Everything from the words down to the structure was completely different and it was far better than the original draft.