Reflecting on Writing 100

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.

 

Interview and Personal Reflection

For this assignment, I decided to interview Jeany, a classmate and close friend, who has known me throughout our high school careers.

Q: How would you describe my early writing style and skills?

A: Based on the first papers that I’ve read, your writing was not very concrete. Your ideas were good but you weren’t very good at supporting your ideas on paper. I knew what you were trying to say and where you wanted to go with your topic, but you had trouble delivering it in a clear way.

Q: How has my writing style or skills changed over the years?

A: I think as writer, you have developed your writing style. Your ideas and writing has definitely matured. Your writing flows better now and the transitions between each idea are much clearer. You’re getting better at stating your thoughts and then backing it up with quotes from the literature. I’ll say you flourished as a writer but you can still improve in certain areas.

Q: What do you think I have to work on in terms of my writing?

A: You still have trouble when it comes to shaping your thesis statement into something workable and arguable. Sometimes your thesis is not an argument but merely just a statement. You also tend to make minor grammatical errors here and there, so be more careful about that.

Q: What would you say about my critical thinking skills?

A: I think you are a fairly capable critical thinker. If you were given a piece of literature to read, you’ll be able to read it and analyze it. One of your strengths is you don’t confine yourself to merely the textual context but you like to think outside the box. You’re open-minded and you listen others’ opinions on the same context.

Q: How would you describe me as a reader?

A: I can’t be the judge of your reading abilities but I think you are a proficient reader. When reading works of literature, you understand and can interpret those pieces of work. You understand it and can answer questions regarding the text or the message the author tries to convey. You also look into the characters and are able to relate the literature to reality by finding similarities and differences.

Writing is one of the areas that I am the least confident in. Writing good essays is a personal challenge. Writing good, analytical essays is an even greater challenge. When Jeany said my writing has flourished, I was surprised. Although I think my writing has improved over time, I personally don’t agree that they have “flourished”. For me, writing critical essays can be a hard task. I still find that I have trouble conveying my ideas on paper. Personally, the biggest challenge in writing is using efficient and clear language. I get stuck when formulating an argumentative thesis statement and presenting textual evidence in a fluid manner. In addition, I agree with Jeany when she said that I make grammatical errors. Although I proofread my works and try to fix my grammar, there are always errors that I miss. Grammar is not my forte, hence there are times when I have problems regarding which tense to use. My views on my writing are vastly different from Jeany’s views. I believe I still need to work on connecting my ideas and shaping my thesis. I think my writing skills are only mediocre but I hope to develop a more mature and sophisticated writing style.

For me, reading and thinking critically come in tangent with one another. Although I cannot say I’m an excellent reader and thinker, I think I am at least capable. When reading a piece of literature, I try hard to understand the message the writer is trying to convey. Similar to what Jeany said about my critical thinking, I do try to think outside of the context of the literature. Sometimes, certain writings are harder than others and I’ll have no idea what was being said, making it difficult for me to interpret. Although I think I’m capable of reading and thinking on a critical level, I’m not confident in my skills as a critical reader and thinker.

Writing doesn’t come easy to me nor does reading or thinking critically. However, because I know that I lack in these areas, I have been working hard to acquire the skills that will help me develop as a more refined and confident writer, reader, and thinker.