Stockton – Hales
Journey log 2
Habits of mind: Openness and Persistence
Do not give up. Persistence. That is the one big thing that I took away from “Superman and Me.” In this story there was a young boy who was taught to never be smart. No one on the Indian reservation is supposed to be smart. However, young Alexie decided to defy his stereotype. Learning to read at a young age, Alexie persisted in learning to read and in doing so he grew up to be a writer and teacher to others like him. He taught himself to read; not many of us can say we learned that on our own. In reflecting upon the reading I saw the importance of persistence in improving our reading and writing. According to Thomas Burkdall, a professor in English writing, “Reading allows both contemplation and discourse, offering isolation and community,” and he goes on to say that reading and writing have changed us and continue to do so (Burkdall, 2009). If Alexie hadn’t persisted in learning how to read, would he have ended up where he did? No. Persistence is something that we all need; without it we would give up easily. A science fiction writer, Kevin J. Anderson, said in an interview that persistence is what a writer needs most in order to be successful (Wendig, 2015). One of the reasons that I struggle and often fail in writing is because I don’t have the persistence to keep writing. It’s not something that I particularly enjoy because I’m not good at it, so I quit it easily. However, seeing Alexi’s story gave me inspiration in finding how to persist and get through the rough spots in order to create something beautiful out of life. Isn’t that what we’re here for? To get through the rough parts in order to fulfill our purpose.
Another concept we discussed in class was rhetoric. So, let's talk about something that everyone needs, but no-one wants. Exercise. How about if I told you that you should exercise because it's good for you. Are you convinced? Probably not. It is one thing to tell someone that they should do something; however, it’s an entirely different thing persuading them to do it. The art of persuasion, or rhetoric, is a tool we talked about in class this week. There are a variety of techniques that one can use to help persuade someone on a certain topic.
I learned that, as a writer, it is important to approach different perspectives and use several techniques in order to properly persuade someone. We can’t be bogged down in one idea or one thought or one technique. In other words, be open. Openness and persuasion should not be used separately, but instead they should be interwoven together. According to Jami Gold, an author of several paranormal books, using rhetorical devices allows us to create emphasis, rhythm, and clarity in our writing (Gold, 2016). Rhetorical devices are there to help our writing and persuasion. Like I said you’re probably not going to go exercise every day for 30 minutes just because I said it was good for you. Where is my credibility or my reasoning? When we want to convince someone to do something, we can’t just tell them to go do it. We have to use reasoning, logic, emotion, credibility, and facts. Thinking back to my last major attempt at persuasion, I was trying to convince my mom that I needed a car. I was a senior in high school and working every day, so naturally I thought that I needed one. Instead of laying out the reasons and pros of getting a car, I just always bugged her to help me get one. I would just always say that I needed one and that I had to have it. Obviously that ended up not working. Maybe if I had actually laid out a plan of asking and explaining why it was important for me to have a car she would’ve been more willing to help me out. Persuasion is in our everyday lives whether we realize it or not. Learning how to use rhetoric properly is where the difficulty comes in.
Researching persistence and rhetoric on google led me to many different articles. Most of them talked about how each of them improves your writing. After reading at least ten different entries on persistence and rhetoric, I found that they are essential in successful writing. In class we talked a lot about different rhetorical devices. I just hope that now I will be able to use them correctly and use them to be a better persuader. Thinking back on last week, I now know the importance of not giving up and introducing new perspectives to my writing. When I fail to use these tools it will be immediately recognizable and I will be able to turn it into a learning opportunity.
Burkdall, Thomas. “The Persistence of Writing.” Educausereview. 2009. Found at http://er.educause.edu/articles/2009/5/the-persistence-of-writing
Gold, Jami. “Strengthen your writing with rhetorical devices.” Jamigold.com. 30 June 2016. Found at http://jamigold.com/2016/06/strengthen-your-writing-with-rhetorical-devices/
Wendig, Chuck. “On Persistence, and the long con of being a successful writer.” Terribleminds. 2015. Found at http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/01/22/on-persistence-and-the-long-con-of-being-a-successful-writer/