Writing Portfolio For The Past Semester
Over the semester, we have gone through several learning practices and gained different writing skills that mostly I did not know about. At the beginning of the semester, I believed that my writing was good. I was able to and possessed the skills to structure a regular sentence, paragraph and form a basic argument while at the same time providing what I thought to be reasonable evidence to present the argument. The evidence provided was also supported with citations from researched sources as per the topic under consideration. Also, I was able to present my ideas with understandable grammar, with perceived mastery gained over a long period and which enabled my writing skills albeit appreciable for a novice writer. Since the start of the course, however, I have gained more skills that have allowed me to be a better writer than ever before. Some of these were discussed in this portfolio.
In actuality, while I could write sufficiently well for the average article writer, there were several areas where my writing skills were limited. One of those areas is the creation of a credible argument. While I was able to draft a basic argument using the little knowledge I had in its construction, my knowledge in the presentation of the main ideas and construction of a formidable article was mostly just basic. I was able for example to form and structure paragraphs touching on the topic of the research, but vaguely since I could not provide enough details to drive the research, which is a necessity in the construction of a workable and convincing researched article. Over the course, however, I have gained an enhanced understanding of the techniques to create a sensible scholarly argument as well as incorporating evidence from different sources, primary, secondary and otherwise in the presentation. Also, I learned how to analyze the context of an argument in an article, making comparisons, rhetorical strategies and deducing the significance as in the CR 2 exercise.
Another area where my skills have improved as compared to the beginning of the semester is the understanding of genre conventions. In the CR 3 exercise on Audience and Genre, I was able to improve and horn my skills in Travel writing. First I was able to identify where my skills fell short of the required standards. Due to the shortcomings, I discovered in travel writing; I found several areas that I had to improve to design a quality travel paper. One of these is the construction of a body paragraph. I realized I needed to improve on the structure to present my ideas more precisely. I also found that my introductions were short of the required threshold as well as the thesis construction and relation to the topic of interest. Also, I found that I needed to improve my grammar to present a professionally written piece with clarity.
Furthermore, by analyzing the way different writers structured and presented their arguments, I have been able to pick out the key areas that elicit a response and create a connection with the reader. This understanding has prompted me to be more creative in writing, a skill that I have also applied to other fields of writing other than travel writing. My understanding of the key elements to include has made me more keen to details outside the WR3B. An example of this improvement is the RIP 2 Exercise, where I was able to write travel accounts of the same tour using three different perspectives, a sophisticated and adventurous, rude and insensitive and a carefree and fun-loving perspective. The tone and emotions were better constructed as compared to RA draft on Lisa Abend travel article, which was a little bit lacking in the level of detail to capture a reader easily.
Despite the shortcomings I found to exist in my writing skills, there were areas that I already excelled in. The area I most excelled in was in spelling. I realized that my spelling was already at par with the required in professional writing. Also, I could cite my sources, both bibliographical and in-text in the standard required manner. This included several different writing formats including MLA, APA, Chicago, and Harvard among others. This was in line with my understanding of the importance of writing as a process. Throughout the semester, I have made improvements to the areas where my skills were lacking. For example, I started writing my essays earlier and would after that take my time correcting mistakes as opposed to writing and fixing them at the same time. I also started seeking help from those who knew better than I already did, and which has helped me improve my writing skills tremendously. I find this way convenient as it saves a lot of time and allows the writer to proofread their work a couple of times before making it final. To improve my skills further, I do plan to adopt different approaches to essay writing. I could, for example, outline my ideas and the main points before embarking on the writing process. Another method is to take my time in the actual writing process and avoid rushing, which leads to missions and misrepresentation of information and distortion of ideas, thus blurring clarity. Also, it allows one to arrange their main points first before incorporating them in the article, ensuring a smooth transition from one paragraph to the next, and a smooth flow of information is thus achieved.
Among others, I also learned a lot about revision and self-editing. The importance of revision lies in the quality of the final product. A well-revised article is bound to have fewer errors and mistakes as compared to a rushed piece of work, and thus higher quality. To this effect, my revision process has greatly improved, with more attention being given to critical reading so as to understand the intended message more accurately. This I also extended to my writing skills, where I can currently present my thoughts, ideas or argument with a more precise message easily understood by the intended audience. Also, in writing, my ability to discern the intended target audience and ways to entice them with better transitioned well-constructed paragraphs. Also, I learned the importance of seeking feedback for my works from peers and other readers, which I incorporate into my revisions and use to improve the quality of my article.
On the use of scholarly sources, I have learned and understood the importance of seeking the highest quality sources from trustable authors. Popular scholarly sources, whether primary or secondary assist in the creation of a sound argument from the point of information. The writer can present his argument to the audience in a more convincing manner since it is filled with more facts than shanty information. To select credible sources, I choose those with more citations and peer reviews as they are more likely to be fact-filled and well researched. The Ideas presented by other writers, whether peers or otherwise are beneficial in informing my work as they force me to look back and research more to come up with a more convincing and educative piece. I, therefore, incorporate such ideas with my own in an attempt to get the quality. Apart from this, their ideas also challenge me to be more creative in writing and also to be keen on details that might be easily missed with a rushed project. Thus the incorporation of these ideas with mine results in a well-informed, creative and convincing written work.
So far so good, I see several ways in which the skills I have acquired during the semester could assist me after graduation. Since I am now able to structure arguments properly and provide evidence supported by relevant and convincing citations, I see my competitiveness in the writing profession is top notch and at par with the required industry standards as clarity in self-expression is one of the most critical values in the profession. The RIP projects, for example, are better constructed and full of clarity than the previous exercises. This is all thanks to the skills I have acquired this semester including the creation of a sound and convincing argument in my writing as well as identifying specific audience rhetorical situations. Competitiveness will also be enhanced with the knowledge and understanding I have gained in the different genre conventions we have gone through as I can now apply them accordingly as opposed to before, travel writing for instance. The other critical factor is my understanding of the need for in-depth and critical analysis and reading of the contents of an article with a keen eye for details to get the intended message with more accuracy. Incorporating all these skills and creativity is going to allow me to achieve my dreams of being an academic writer.
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