Lessons Learned

Audience and Genre

This semester has taught me many things about both the genre of the different assignments I have written and who is going to be reading my assignments. The biggest thing I had to work around was changing my writing style to fit the formality of the assignment. There are three assignments this semester that really show how my audience affected my writing: the research paper, the presentation, and this reflection. Each of these is a formal means of communication, however, in each I am speaking to a different entity in each paper. The research paper is meant to be written for, ideally, a researcher, so this meant that my writing not only had to be clear and organized but at a much more impersonal level. However the research presentation was much more informal from the beginning because the audience was no longer a researcher, but our class who all know little to nothing about my topic. This allowed me to make the topic much more personal and cover the topic at a glance and to use my own life and come out to the class as a means of furthering my stance for my research. The relation to audience and writing style can be seen even better in this reflection because I am writing to a peer in a sense. Where the research paper and presentation were more finalized, this is almost a structured free write in in that it is really only meant to be seen by few people, so it does not require the precision that the other assignments do. This course has also shown me what forms of writing that I have trouble with. Of all the assignment that we had the hardest for me was the objective summary because I am a very opinionated person. This assignment was difficult because although I knew what the author was saying, it was hard for me to condense the information down to say only what they said and not somehow spin it to my own interpretation. The synthesis paper was also difficult for me because it was hard to effectively get the authors to “talk” with each other because that was the first time I had to consciously do it. This assignment also posed the problem of having to balance the ideas for and against an argument and still prove an argument, which until this paper I had only seen in the French style of writing.

Community and Writing Process

One of the biggest aids to my writing this semester was the peer and instructor review process because it helped me to make changes and fix things that I would not otherwise notice in my writing. The feedback I received helped to actually give me something to do in my revision process because normally if I reread my own paper I will miss many of the problems because they are often how I think it should be written. It also helped to point out holes in my writing where I failed to explain something that I think is common knowledge, but it really is not. This was greatly helpful to me because it gave me a jumping point to start the second half of my paper and to give me a direction to go in. This feedback also gave me the ability to choose what feedback I would utilize and what I wouldn’t. More often than not I would choose to follow the feedback that would benefit my paper the most and would help me to learn to write better. For example, in my research paper it was suggested that I include statistics on blood contamination; I, however, had planned to include this later in my paper, but ended up being unable to due to an inability to find trustable statistics. As a writer in a larger community I believe that I am both proficient at getting my point across, but I also have a lot to do to perfect my writing ability. Over all this year I believe that I have proven that I am able to write and not only argue my point, but I am also able to write eloquent enough for business level writing. The things that I learned on this and other English classes have helped me to write better in my French classes, where although the language is different, the style is similar and many thing are carried over into the French style. This helps me because I plan on going into translation work which requires knowledge of both grammatical and analytical ability of a language. My writing has a ways to go before it is good enough for publication, but experiences like this class will help me to improve my ability. The use of peer review and using different genres of writing will all help to evolve my knowledge of writing.

Strengths and Weaknesses

As a writer I believe that I have many strengths, of them the ones that I believe are the most important are my ability to write quickly and effectively and my ability to boil down information and use it in a paper. This semester these strengths have proven to be very useful because more often than not I would wait till the last minute to do my assignments. I to this not only because I believe that is when I do my best work, but also because I have learned that it is the easiest way for me to write. I have done this for the majority of the papers in this class to some extent or another. This has been greatly aided by my ability to boil down information to what is important which proved helpful in the research paper. The research paper was difficult because much of the information was heavily science based and a good portion of it contradicted other sources; this made it so that I had to figure out what was accurate and up-to-date. However, it was much easier to deal with because I was able to weed out sources that were unhelpful or would make my research overly difficult. One thing that I did this semester that I think really helped to improve my writing ability was to concentrate more on not only what I was writing, but also the way I write. Normally when I write I am doing multiple things at the same time, which I know is not conducive to good writing, but it was easier to do then go to a quiet place. This semester I changed that I and started to do my writing in a quiet place with music in the background, which actually helped me to concentrate on my writing. I also worked on the way I write, most specifically how I word my writing. Normally my writing is very wordy and is sometimes difficult to read and with the help of the peer reviews this semester I have started to notice a bit more when I am writing like that. I think that both of these things have made me a better writer this year and will aide me in the future.

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