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Reflective Essay September 10, 2009

So I have never thought of myself as a good writer. I have so many thoughts that are always rushing around in my head and I can never seem to get them out on paper. I have always wanted to be what people call a “good writer” but it seems as though my grades in writing have always left me in the average range. I like to consider myself above average in everything I do but writing is just something I have always seemed to have issues with.


Before entering my English class this year I was very leery about doing well with my papers. I had done fairly well in my writing class last year but when I received one of my writings back in class this year I immediately had a drop in my self-confidence. Not only because of how many marks were on the paper, but also because my teacher shared with our class some of his writings. They were beautifully composed and I truly envied his writings. I sat back in my chair and told myself there is no way I am going to be able to write like him and I was embarrassed with my own writing. I honestly felt like I wanted to hide my papers from my teacher because his writing seems so good and my writing is just average.


My view on writing slowly began to change throughout the term, not because my papers were getting better; (I always seemed to forget to include my reflections, which later made me want to punch myself in the face because it was sitting in my binder. Same goes for my structuring evidence paper which I spend so much time doing.) it was because I was beginning to recognize what my writing is lacking. I have been raised as an athlete, a competitor who wants to be the best at everything. I have always asked coaches for criticism so I could improve till they had nothing more to say. I always strive to be perfect. Well I decided to adopt this policy and apply it to my writing. I gave myself self criticism based on comments that were scribbled all over my papers. I believe my main influence for improvement in writing came from my teacher. His sharing of his writing really changed my English experience; none of my teachers had ever showed me any of their writings. They always preached about writing but never ever showed me, proved to me, created an ethos for their argument about how we should be writing. This is something I thought was great, that my teacher was willing to open up to us as students, and show our class how he writes. This truly inspired me to be better at writing.


I really don’t know which of my papers was considered my “best” writing; I honestly don’t think any of my papers were phenomenal. If I had to choose I would say that my position paper was my best piece of writing from this year. Which makes sense because all of the elements of writing that I learned throughout my experience in Professor Harmon’s class would constantly jump into my head. I tried my best to incorporate what I learned into my paper. My weakest paper, I would have to say is the first draft of the poem that I wrote in the beginning of the year. This was the paper that gave me the initial shock of how I hated my writing. So many things were wrong with it and that made me scared to write any papers for this class. No teachers had ever really examined my writing like my English teacher this year, which kind of scared me but I know was definitely beneficial.


I’m not saying that I am the worst writer in the world. I have my strengths and I have my weaknesses in my writing. Some of my strengths are that I am very good at summarizing (probably because that is all I would do throughout high school), and another one of my strengths is that I am good at creating a rough draft of what I want to talk about. I am naturally a really organized person so creating outlines of how I want my paper to flow is a strength. However, actually following through is a big weakness of mine. In my head I have so many thoughts and ideas that my writing never gets my full point across and can be jumbled.


I do believe that I am improving on my writing. Starting out this class I was never really informed on how to write persuasive or argumentative papers. As I learned more about arguments, I learned how to get my point across but keep my reader interested in my paper. I learned that you must include pathos, logos, and ethos to really make the reader believe what you are saying is true and that you are credible. Basically that your writing isn’t just a load of (pardon my language) bull shit. I have learned a lot this term about writing and my mentality has really changed. I never realized that every single paper that you write is some type of argument. None of this information was ever taught to me and it has changed my perspective on writing for the better.


Overall this class has been very beneficial for my improvement as a writer. I know that I need to include ethos, logos, and pathos to make me a credible author; and also that I need to not summarize in my writing as much as I do. I still don’t consider myself an amazing writer but I am improving and that is all I can do. I will continue to try to make myself a better writer and I really have been influenced by my teacher to get better.


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