Turkey Talk from a Thankful Writer

Tommy the Turkey

Tommy the Turkey


When considering what I am thankful for as writer, three things come to mind: online and print resources, professional development workshops, and revision. I have to say, I was so inspired by Emily’s October blog post that I thought I’d try my much more inept hand at a sketch of my own. However, here I’ll pair my sad little turkey (let’s call him Tommy) with some explanation so you can make sense of the words I’ve tattooed to his feathers.

The first layer of feathers, outlined in purple, includes some of my favorite writing resources. Of course, Diana Hacker’s Rules for Writers and the Online Writing Lab at Purdue University are among them. Whether I need assistance with citations, understanding sentence-level issues, or improving my style, I know that I can turn to either of these sources for a concise explanation. I’ve also included Grammar Girl and the citation manual books here, which clear up any confusion I have with grammar and citation rules. For research, I usually turn to the databases (free through the college library!) and Google Scholar, both excellent ways to locate credible sources. Towards the top of Tommy the Turkey you’ll see some of the resources we offer here at the CWE: the Digital Dashboard and our blogs. Browsing around either of these sources may be able to provide answers to specific questions you have or offer ways to reconceptualize how you write. Finally, you’ll notice that Pinterest is listed on one of Tommy’s feathers. You’re probably saying to yourself, “Pinterest?! Pinterest is for tagging my favorite recipes, cute puppies, and dream wedding pictures!” And I would respond to you, “Sure it is.” But I also wonder, have you ever typed “writing” into the search bar and browsed through the pinners? Here you’ll see “Writing Forward,” “Writing Prompt,” “Social Marketing Writing,” and “ExcellenceInWriting,” among others. You may also come across my two classes’ collaborative page—CRWT Resources—where I repin the images, webpages, articles, etc., that my brilliant students have found to be related to our different course units.

The second layer of feathers, outlined in green, is comprised of workshops. Tommy the Turkey is rocking the titles of the CWE workshops offered this semester, though we also have a variety of other workshops held in other semesters. I am thankful for these workshops, as well as the consultants’ weekly professional development meetings, because they are great refreshers on writing strategies I already know or, often, introductions to approaches I’ve never considered. I learn a great deal about how I can improve my writing and how I can improve my teaching of writing through this constant exposure to new theory, pedagogy, and skills training.
Finally, Tommy the Turkey’s outermost feathers, outlined in yellow, contain revision practices, which I am also grateful for. In high school and even in college, I have to admit that I rarely made global revisions on papers before handing them in. Sure, I was constantly editing and revising as I wrote, scrutinizing each paragraph, deleting, rewriting, etc., but when I had finished writing the completed paper, I hardly ever read it through more than twice. I also never read the draft specifically to reconsider my content, voice, and audience. After all, my content was obviously perfect when I had typed the final period in my conclusion, my voice was reserved for speaking, and my audience was my instructor! (Yes, you should sense the sarcasm here.) I did read my work to check sentence clarity, citations, and quote integration, but I didn’t read through the paper ONLY checking for sentence clarity in one read, then ONLY looking at citations, and then ONLY quote integration. If I read the entire paper through and it sounded good to me, I was satisfied. And I submitted my papers and attained good grades. But it wasn’t until graduate school that I realized the importance of making substantial revisions to my papers, and I think this is one of the most valuable bits of knowledge that I took away from my graduate education.


So that’s Tommy, my personal writing turkey of what I am grateful for as a writer. I hope that you might consider using some of his wisdom in your own writing by plucking the feathers that work for you! But just be sure to take what you need before Tommy or one of his turkey friends ends up on your Thanksgiving table.

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1 Comment »

  • Janet says:

    The “Thanks” go to you…Thanks so much for the great info! I only had home decorating and travel on my Pinterest…I’m going to use it for writing now too!


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