Whenever participating in any type of writing class, I tend to discover numerous strengths and weaknesses behind my work. I benefit greatly from reviewing my old essays, and reflecting on my personal growth. This type of pattern has been consistent since I started focusing on becoming a better writer, and it has led to some serious strides in a few departments. Being given the opportunity to be a part of Professor Murray’s class this semester, allowed for me to reassess this method I always used, and refine some of the bad tendencies I created.
Whenever we spent entire class periods reviewing our past writing assignments, it benefited me greatly. Getting to break down my work in front of the class, and listen to other students explain their struggles, has made it quite easy to reflect on the impact this course has had on me. In all honesty, I did not have a real prewriting process before writing the three essays we were assigned in Professor’s Murray’s class. For as long as I could remember, I had this terrible habit of trying to write a paper in one sitting.
Whether it was bad time management or just an attempt to create less frustration, it limited my creativity and ability to break down different works. This was the first time a class forced me to gradually complete each step of the writing process. By splitting the process into different due dates, it allowed me to review my work with a new perspective consistently. It was easy to see the results of this new approach, because my grades only improved as the semester went along. The second essay was where everything clicked perfectly, because I followed each step, and slowly developed my concept in class.
During each workshop day, I was able to discover new weaknesses, while editing my paper based off the suggestions I received. While reading my first rough draft, I remember having this problem with finding meaningful sources, and explaining their connections to the essays we read in class. After writing multiple drafts, and trying a few different writing styles, I was able to find one that fit the assignment. If I had only wrote one version of the essay, without seeking advice and making constant edits, my grade likely would have been low.
By following a pre-writing process, I was able to make some mistakes, while ensuring I learned from them. It created a learning experience for me, which I have been using constantly to prepare for my final essay. Organization was another significant skill I lacked before entering Professor Murray’s class in January, and it created a lot of problems in my first essay. For as long as I can remember, I have always had an issue with writing too much information. This flawed approach, completely disrupted the flows in my essays. My introductions and body paragraphs would be so long, readers lost interest before reaching the conclusion.
The rough draft workshops helped me limit this problem during my second essay. Professor Murray would help cross out irrelevant information in each paragraph. He’d leave notes on the side, questioning whether it was just filler to meet a page requirement. After editing using these comments, I could see my paper beginning to develop flow. My main points were consistently hitting the reader, instead of being spread out and thrown in random spots. For once, I did not feel like my essay was being dragged out, as I read the final version to the class.
It was one of the few times, where I was extremely confident about submitting a paper, and receiving a good grade. Now, whenever I write a paper for a class, I use these same editing techniques to ensure my content is not too wordy and boring. One component of my writing style that still needs some improvement heading into next year, is my conclusions. At the end of an essay, I try to provide some meaningful insight, but it always comes off as corny. I still do not understand, how writers can wrap up a long essay, and then leave the reader with something to think about, in only one paragraph.
When I was writing the conclusion for my final essay recently, I tried a few different approaches, with the hope of finding a new solution. I think one of the most important parts of writing, is leaving the reader with a memorable lasting impression. It is tough to feel like I am progressing as writer, when I finish every paper with my weakest skill. Hopefully, the experience and comments I receive about my final paper, will put me on the right path towards correcting this problem. Reaching this specific goal, will allow me to work on other essay skills, in the next few years.
While Professor Murray’s class challenged me in a few different ways, I can definitely see how my writing has improved. The ability to organize my essays and form a prewriting strategy, has led to better results in every single one of my courses. I no longer have any bland papers filling up my binders, where the most interesting moments include a bunch of useless filler. Seeing growth in my work means a lot to me, so I am quite thankful for all the time I spent in this class. Hopefully, entering my next writing course at Curry, I can make similar strides and overcome the weaknesses still affecting my essays.