Reflecting on Writing 100
Reading over the Directed-Self Placement (DSP) essay and the first essay I’ve written for Writing 100, I cringed a little. Just a little. From my earliest papers to my most recent ones, I believe my writing has definitely improved. This is not to say my writing has “flourished” like my friend Jeany had said, but I’ll say it is beginning to sprout. Am I saying that writing is my thing now? Well, no. I’ll still say writing is not my forte. However, I’m coming into terms with writing and beginning to feel more comfortable with it.
If there is one important thing I’ve learned about the presentation of my paper, it will be “less is more.” When I need to write long papers, I realized I tend to be redundant, writing more just to fill the page requirements. However, in repeating myself, my writing becomes all over the place. Not only do I confuse my readers, but also I don’t convey my arguments in a coherent manner. Throughout these past months, I’ve tried to aim for quality rather than quantity. I try not to think about whether I’m how to write four pages, but instead focus on how to successfully get my points through.
During the research process, I’ve realized it’s a lot of trial-and-error. While researching on hate crimes and hate-crime laws, I’ve found multiple resources but many were not suitable. For Paper #2, I originally cited an online blog post about problems with hate-crime laws. However, because this post was written by an anonymous blogger with minimal experience in the judicial field, I realized this wouldn’t be a credible source. I eventually found an opinion piece from the New York Times Debate column that was credible and fitted well into my paper.
In my earlier papers, I overuse quotations. I would think I’m quoting important information when, in fact, I’m not pinpointing the key ideas. However, as I continue writing research summaries, I found that it became easier for me to identify what I need to quote. In addition, for earlier research summaries, I have repeatedly used the three-paragraph format. By research summary four, I found that my writing is clearer if I break down the points into more sections rather than three.
Because writing is not something that comes to me naturally, I find ways to make it so the process becomes easier for me. After researching and looking over the prompts, I like to organize my ideas using outlines. This way, I have a breakdown of what I want to write and how I’m going to write it. When making outlines don’t work, I tend to type profusely on a Microsoft Word document, just writing down any ideas that come into mind. They do not necessary make sense but it allows me to write down any thoughts that I have. I would then organize these points into coherent and structured paragraphs.
I think the greatest skill I’ve acquired throughout this writing course is learning how to formulate a workable thesis and how to support my arguments. In my first reflection, I’ve addressed my problem of coming up with an argumentative sentence. However, as I continued through this course, I’ve learned how to not only assert a claim but also how to support this with evidence. With what I’ve learned about rhetorical analysis, I’m able to provide evidences for my arguments and analyze these evidences.
Although my writing has improved, I still continue to struggle with word choice and grammar. Throughout the one-on-one conferences, I’ve been told some word choices are confusing or problems with my subject-verb agreements. While I say I’ve been making these mistakes less frequently, these are still problems I have to improve on.
I decided to take this course in hopes to improve my writing. This class has helped me achieve that goal. I can’t say my writings are error-free, because they certainly aren’t. However, I can say that I’m beginning to become more confident in my writing. Throughout these months, I’ve acquired the skills needed to formulate a thesis statement, to research and provide evidences, and to critically analyze evidences I’ve provided. It has certainly helped me in my other courses where I have to write argumentative papers as well. While I’m still improving on my writing, I believe this course has prepared me well for college writing.