I came into Comp. 2 with a lot of expectations, and I’m happy to say that many of them were proven false. This was my first college writing course, and I’m proud to say that there’s a radical difference in the way I look at my writing. I’ve truly never gotten any criticism that has changed the way I write, and I wasn’t sure I’d come out of this class with anything more than a grade and some credits. My completed portfolio is a testament to how much difference one semester has made for me.
As my individual assignments organized themselves into a collective work, I noticed myself taking an interest in the work of others as well as looking for the input of others. In the past, writing has always been an individual task for me, and once a paper was handed in, I never considered that it would be in my best interest to build upon my past work. Now, when I read a paper, whether it be my own or someone else’s, I’m able to interpret it on a deeper level. Getting a point across may be important, but it’s just as vital to engage the reader, and I’ve learned to revise my work accordingly. As the great Ernest Hemingway once said, “The first draft of anything is shit.”
Stronger comprehension of how writing creates meaning is another valuable lesson that I’ve been able to take from this course. It is amazing how two statements can have very similar meanings, but leave a very different impression on the reader. Here’s an example:
- Because of rising gas prices, many consumers have chosen to downsize their vehicles in favor of smaller and more fuel efficient cars.
- Consumers are downsizing their vehicles in response to rising gas prices.
In both examples, I’m giving the reader the same general information, but in example 2, they’re getting the information in a concise and direct manner. In comparison, statement 1 feels a bit more bogged down by word choices like “have chosen to.”
Of course, it’s important to have a strong knowledge of your topic as well. This ties together core values five and seven especially. When you write from a decisive and well-informed stance, you’re able to reach the reader successfully and convey a valuable message to them. I’d like to end with a quote from Nathaniel Hawthorne: “Words—so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”