I would be lying if I wrote that I did not learn anything this quarter in Writing 101. I have improved considerably as a writer since my days in high school and this course has undoubtedly had some effect of influence on my developing skills. One of the categories in which I personally have seen the largest area of improvement in while taking this course is the measure of control and application in my writing. In this years fall quarter of Writing 101, I have had the opportunity to produce two specific essays which I have included in my portfolio. The first essay is considerably explanatory while the second one centers on persuasion. These same essays served also as a component in the curriculum of this course. But they are not just simple samples of my writing style; they also demonstrate my definite skills as a writer, what I learned from this course and how I used it. they show my strengths as a developing writer, and essentially what category of my writing needs improvement.
Although I feel that I have been consistently bettering my approach to writing, there has always been room for improvement; I find this evident in my current situation also. Because the complete drafting, revising & editing process was not something that was stressed nearly enough in high school, I wasn’t very familiar with it. Like many highschooler’s, I have always’ had a constant problem with procrastination given essays with deadlines lacking any checkpoints. I would usually end up writing something similar to a stream of consciousness, or what our writing instructor refers to as “regurgitation” . I would never have any drafts or editing sessions, which resulted in numerous grammatical errors and very poor organization within my writing. Luckily the drafting, revising, and editing process were very much emphasized in this course and this warded off procrastination. I found that although the series of outlines, drafts and revisions are painstaking, they lead to more focused and structured products. Hopefully I can continue to integrate this process in the future to become a successful writer.
Another aspect of writing in which I had difficulty in this quarter was including contrary or opposing arguments in persuasive based pieces of writing. Because I felt that they weakened my argument, in the past I have been hesitant to include opposing views or arguments. Through this course, I have been educated on how to transform this weakness into a strength that actually reinforces my selected argument. I felt that this incorporated technique is exemplified well in my Bacon’s Rebellion essay. A specific example is- “A majority of historical authors including Howard Zinn, Rebecca Stefoff, & Michale J. Puglisi exemplify the belief that Bacon’s Rebellion was sparked solely by Indian hostility and unjust colonial rule. Although these factors may have contributed toward the revolt, such authors fail to underline the fact that Indian hostility and unjust colonial rule may not have been the only things that provoked the rebellion”. This is an effectual skill that I will certainly make use of and continue to work on in my future writing.
Before taking Writing 101, I would often have trouble finding information on the topics I needed to research for my writing. This course has helped learn how to productively research and find credible sources that support my writing. Although searching Google and Wikipedia is useful in obtaining some information, this course has taught me that these sources are not always reliable and that they do not include information about everything. Finding dependable information on the World Wide Web is not always easy, which is why learning to use databases such as J-Stor and Pro-Quest Direct has allowed me to find specific information on exactly what I need. An example of specificity in research information that I used a database to find is from my South Carolina Patriot essay. It reads, “On May 1780, Britain laid siege to South Carolina for five weeks and finally took 3,300 militiamen soldiers into British captivity. Regardless of the petitions that the United Colonies sent out to the British Parliament to remove troops from colonial land, general Charles Cornwallis stationed 4,000 troops in South Carolina to quell the rebel forces that continuously purged my fellow patriots and harassed non-loyalist citizens.” Because all of the essays completed in this 101 writing course required extensive historical research, I am becoming accustomed to but still need to work on properly researching information using data bases and other reliable sources. With practice, I will soon be able to easily find specific information needed to reinforce my writing topics.
Some of the categories in which I felt I exceeded in my writing this quarter
were smooth transitions from one focus to the next and also using voice to effectively to convey communication with the reader. Although I may have learned and practiced these techniques before this course, Writing 101 has helped me develop these skills on greater levels. An example of smooth transitioning from my Bacon’s Rebellion essay is “With most of the wealthy Grandees being exempted from paying taxes, the already poverty-struck commoners of Virginia were forced to bear the burden. In his article, The History & Present State of Virginia 1705, historical author Robert Beverly presents the interesting fact that the separation of the Virginia colonies was, “contrary to the original Charters”. An instance from my South Carolina Patriot essay in which I illustrate bold voice is where I state one of my arguments for being a federalist; “Being the owner of a rice plantation, if the revolution is successful in absolving America from the British taxation and restrictions, it will be beneficial to my economical standing. The British forces have promised to free all slaves who supported their cause, being the owner of several slaves, it is not in my interest to lose the majority of my labor force (Roark et al, 229). Just because these aspects in writing are my strengths, this doesn’t mean that I don’t need to continue developing them. The main reason why they have become my strengths is because of consistent practice using them.
I have learned much this year’s quarter of Writing 101 and like every student; I have my weaknesses and strengths. Although need to work on my drafting, revising & editing process, including contrary views to strengthen my own arguments and also researching effectively, with time and focus I think most things are possible. A very wise man once stated, every problem is an opportunity in disguise. Using this philosophy I will continue to develop my skills in writing and try to convert my weaknesses into strengths.