Mid Term Portfolio
24 October, 2014
Retrospective Essay Part of growing as a writer is looking back at what you’ve done and seeing how far you’ve come. In order to grow, you need to be able recognize where you started and where you are now. You need to be able to see what areas you’re strong at; as well as, the areas you need to continue to improve upon. Starting out this semester, I didn’t know where I stood or where I could go next as a writer. Until now. I feel like I have grown as a writer even in the short amount of time spent in W131. I have been able to graze the surface of a few of the course goals, but I am well aware there is still a massive amount of room to grow and learn. One of the course goals is to explore and analyze ideas in order to write with a strong sense of ownership. I think that there is a difference between writing a paper and slapping your name on it and constructing a piece you can be proud of and want to put your name on it, so everyone knows that this was your work. With my first paper, I feel as if just completed the assignment and slapped my name at the top. I didn’t dive into the topic and really think about how this topic pertains to me. With the second paper, I sat down and reviewed my double sided entries, reread some of my highlighted points in Alone Together, and tried to really think about how the topic, technology, effected me and what my views were on it. I explored different routes I could take my paper. Analyzed what it would read like if I said I agreed with Turkle verses if I said Turkle’s ideas were silly and shouldn’t be taken seriously. I had to decide what my stance was and own it. I had to own up to my ideas and opinions in order to write the assignment. I think that was an improvement from the start of the course. I was confident when I turned in the second major writing assignment. I felt accomplished as a writer for turning in a complete piece opposed to just accomplishing an assignment. A goal that I didn’t even know I needed improvement on, is writing a thesis and providing sufficient evidence to support it. Coming into the course, I thought I was proficient in this area. I thought my ideas were coming off as clear, concise, and colorful. After reading the reviews from my first paper, I realized my audience wanted more detail and description. My thesis is available and clear, but my audience was unsure of how I came to it. With my second paper, I tried to elaborate on different aspects to try to fulfill their requests. After my first peer review, I found out that I still had missed the mark. In class, I discussed my concerns with my peer reviewer to see what she thought I could further explain to make my paper stronger. She highlighted of few areas of concern and gave a few suggestions as to how I should go about fixing it. I think that I took her ideas into consideration and improved my paper. I think that although I did improve a little with this paper, that this is an area I struggle with and need to continue to work on. The area that I think I need the most work on is reflecting on my writing practices to improve them. While writing both papers for this course, I have had several different things going on simultaneously. Whether it was the T.V. on in the background, the dogs playing next to me, or even me just trying to eat some dinner, I could never fully devote my complete attention to just writing. This time around, I tried something different. I sat down with no interruptions and focused on my paper. I reread the outline, the course goals, and the fully attempted the planning guide. I tried to utilize the assistance given by the course and really tried to write on the topic truthfully. I had no distractions or what I had previously thought to just be helpful background noise. I think that although it might not drastically change my writing abilities right away, over time this will help me improve upon the entire course goals because I will be fully devoted to accomplishing each and every one of them. The final course goal that I feel I have really improved upon and will continue to improve upon is to shape, revise, and edit my writing in order to meet the purpose and needs of my audience. Starting out, I wasn’t very good at revising or changing my paper. I wasn’t open to others critiques and didn’t want to take them into consideration. But through different class activities like peer review, cutting drafts, and discussions on free writes, I became more comfortable with the idea of revising. Like I said previously, with my first paper I thought I had revised enough and added enough detail to satisfy my readers. When I found out I hadn’t accomplished that, I had to take that into consideration for the next assignment. After reading my peer review for the second assignment, I really tried to soak in what my peer was saying needed to be fixed. My peer said that, like my first paper, this paper also lacked details. I went home and reread and reread my paper trying to pinpoint where I needed to add or subtract. In the end, I feel like I add more detail effectively and made other revisions to improve my paper that strengthened it. Growing is a vital part of life, as well as, a vital part of writing. The world around is ever changing and growing. As a writer I need to also be constantly changing and finding ways to improve myself and my abilities. Throughout the rest of the W131 course, I hope to continue to grow as a writer. I hope to continue to work on my weakness and transform them into one of my strengths, but also to continue of making my strengths even stronger.