Reflective Statement – Mike Middleton

Mistakes: The First Step Towards Improvement

I have always found writing to be a difficult subject. One the worst ways a teacher can critique your work is by providing little feedback or by not suggesting alternate ways to write information. This class was not anything like that because I received feedback and help whenever I asked for it. Even though I have struggled to structure my essays in ways that make sense, I feel that I have received the helpful criticism I needed to clear my writing up.

One aspect that I have learned about writing is that the most effective sentences make bold and short arguments. I often clutter my essays with extra words which causes the main idea as well as the arguments to be very unclear. I can tell by comparing my earlier writing pieces such as the PTSD assignment to my later written Definition Essay that I improved on my ability to get ideas across in a clear manner. The sentences are more clear because they flow from one to another; leading one idea to the next. It is necessary to have a clear focus and flow in essays because it allows the reader to keep interest in the topic. An essay that makes little sense is also hard to agree with and if you can’t understand it there is no point in reading. During the course of this semester I changed my style of writing so that my ideas and arguments were clear and concise. This reinforces the first core value which is about writing, critiquing, and rewriting. A first draft is rarely perfect, so being able to rewrite our essays in comp II allow us to realize the issues we commonly run into while writing. This allows us first hand to understand the basic process of writing effective papers.

The blog was a different way to provide feedback to fellow classmates and interact with them on more levels then just as composition students. I found that the blog was a great way to involve myself where I would not normally. For instance, I would never negatively comment on someone’s paper straight to their face; however, the blog provides a more casual relation between all of the students where I am stimulated to remark other essays. This really encourages students to practice core value three which is all about looking over and criticizing everyone’s work. It is important to be able to take criticism into account, but more importantly you have to be able to critique your own work. Often the first writing draft doesn’t make sense, but with the combination of rereading it and receiving feedback from others, a lot of mistakes are pointed out. These mistakes allow the writer to clear up ideas and make a much stronger argument.

Strong arguments are formed and backed by the sources they are taken from. Having credible sources means the arguments you make are effective and much harder to refute. What I loved about this class is that we had the opportunity to choose our topic among a large number of topics that were found for us. Since I was able to find a topic I was interested in, I was able to keep an interest in looking up sources and reading the information. This allowed me to pick and choose which sources were the most reliable and effective in supporting my argument. Core value five is about the writer’s ability to find information that is reliable and relevant to the argument. The readers must be able to trust both the writer and the information that is presented to them.

The responsibility of a writer, core value seven, is to honestly report information in a moral, fair, and influential way. If writers cannot present their information in a fair and moral way then it is much less effective. I did this in my writing by thinking about how, as a reader, would feel if the information was given to me as it was written. Being able to think about your writing from multiple perspectives can ensure that you are making fair and justified argument. Overall, this makes the process of writing a lot more enjoyable.

I usually never have any kind of fun with writing. The blog and the topics that we were given definitely sparked more of an interest in me. My interest in the topics allowed me to write honestly instead of throwing a bunch of bullshit that has no relevance. This class has allowed me to improve as an overall writer and a reader. I now know what to look for and what to prioritize when I write essays.

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One Response to Reflective Statement – Mike Middleton

  1. davidbdale says:

    Less bullshit is always good. 🙂

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