Hi. I'm so glad you're here. Welcome to our first class. Today is one of the most important days of our course because today is the day where we're going to start thinking about ourselves as writers. I don't really know When I began thinking of myself as a writer. But I know it was relatively recently. For a long time, I thought that, to be a writer, you had to be a professional writer. You had to be a journalist, or someone who writes novels for a living. And it didn't occur to me that I am a writer also, because I write course materials for my classes. And I write letters of recommendation for students and I write notes to my children's teachers and I write emails to friends and texts to friends. So if you write, you are a writer. And one of my main goals of this course is to help you think about yourself as a writer. So today, we're going to look at our histories as writers, and then write a brief essay introducing ourselves as writers to your colleagues and to me. I am a writer. I would like you to write a brief essay of around 300 words in which you introduce yourself as a writer to your classmates and me. How would you describe yourself as a writer? What are some of your most memorable experiences with writing? Please draw on your experiences with writing and refer directly to some of these as you introduce yourself as a writer. This assignment is really important because it helps you reflect on your writing, and when you reflect on your writing you are able to make more deliberate choices about your writing. Also, introducing yourself as a writer to your classmates and to me will help cultivate conversations about writing with one another. I'm really interested and excited to see what kinds of writing experiences you've had and how they differ across different ages and people and places that we live and experiences that we've had. So please think about all of your various aspects of your history as a writer. Since we are all writers, we also want to approach writing projects not only by thinking about what the purpose is, which we just talked about, but also about how we should approach a project. And so for this, we're going to do a timeline in order to generate ideas for how you're going to write your 300 word essay. So please find something to write on and something to write with, and draw a horizontal line like this. This is going to be your timeline of you as a writer. Over here, put when you were born, and over here, put today's date. I'm not going to tell you when I was born. And on this timeline, I'm going to ask you to spend ten minutes writing down everything you can think about in your history as a writer. Both school-based experiences, personal experiences, moments that were positive, moments that were very disappointing for you. Perhaps times when writing accomplishes something for you, where it got you some kind of benefit in your life, or where it maybe harmed you in some way. You can include any kind, or maybe it got you into a little bit of trouble of some kind, so everything that you can think about with your history as a writer. I'll give you a free brief, a few brief experiences from my life. So one of my earliest memories, I'm going to, you're going to see that I'm not a person who can draw. It's an ice cream cone. Is I went to camp and I had ice cream scented stationery and I wrote letters back to my family while I was at camp, and I very much remember that. Later in my childhood I wrote an essay and I won a TV. My essay was on why my dad is the best dad in the world. Moving on in, elementary school I had a teacher, and I will not name here, but I'll put Mrs. Blank, blank. And she criticized my handwriting, which, maybe you're criticizing my handwriting now too because I really don't have that good of handwriting, but anyways I felt like writing was all about handwriting and she kind of decreased my enthusiasm for writing. And anyways, I remember her, her criticism. My favorite assignment in college was annotating a letter from the 19th century. We had to take the letter and any references that, that writer made. We had to write what, what the context was and who the people were that he was referring to. And I worked so hard on it, and I loved it. And then my teacher responded to it and just wrote, just wrote bravo on the top. And I had spent like 10 hours, and I was, it was good, I got an A and it was bravo, but you know, something, I wanted a little more, I felt like. And today I'm working on collaborating more with my writing. For many years I think I worked more alone on writing projects and now I'm deliberating seeking out people to write with, and that's been new and different and fun for me, and I also spend a lot of time writing in relation to my children, so my kids. I write notes to their teachers, I write texts to parents to arrange times for them to get together, so I'd, I write a lot. So now we're on a blank screen again, because it's time for you to take ten minutes to write your timeline. Again, think about all the various vast experiences you have with writing, and do spend a full ten minutes so you can give yourself time to think about all of your experiences. Hopefully you're back with us after 10 minutes and you have a very full, rich timeline. If you don't have very much on your timeline, go ahead and spend a little bit more time thinking about what you can add to your timeline. The next phase of our approach to writing your essay is going to be to work with your timeline to decide which aspects you want to draw on and which you want to leave for another occasion. Probably with a 300 word essay you can't write about every aspect of you as a writer, so your going to think about how you can organize that information. So, look at your timeline and ask yourself these questions. What stands out to you? Do you notice any patterns? What's missing? What do you wish was on your timeline that's not, or what did you choose not to include that might have been there? Select a few experiences to draw on for your essay that you think are interesting or insightful or that you want to spend time reflecting about and please introduce yourself to your classmates and me so we can all begin to get to know each other better as writers.