Dear Portfolio Reader,
I never really considered myself to be a competent writer before I came to college. Ever since high school, the term “college writing” seemed like a very distant future to me. I have always imagined it to be more sophisticated and high-leveled than it really is. Now that I have taken this course, coming from the work load class I took last fall quarter, I view “college writing” as more of a comfortable image. I always felt immense amount of pressure even to just start writing because I strived for all around perfection from my first draft. I used to think that good writing is a piece that is perfect from the first draft. From taking UWP1, I figured out that was not the case. The biggest problem I had with my writing was from “first draft perfection” pressure I had. I came to realize that it is perfectly fine to have a bad first draft, rather, I should actually have a bad first draft as one of the reading I had in this course, the “Shitty First Draft” has taught me. I actually had great insight from the reading that I just mentioned. I realized that the first draft is the stage in writing in which I can freely and honestly express my ideas and doing so would yield so much vibrant and unexpected ideas that I did not even know that I was capable of creating. My pressure to have a great first draft is lifted off my shoulders and I feel much better about myself as a writer now that I have learned the drafting skill. Now I believe that great writing is a piece that can have a messy start but ends up becoming a very well organized and focused writing through articulate process of revision.
Reading through the mass of unorganized paragraphs and trying to figure out the ways to fix them occurred to me as bit of a concern but from the skills I learned in class, I was able to make satisfying alternations in my writings. I have made big revisions on both the problem essay and the research paper. The biggest issue I had with the problem essay was not being able to organize the big chunks into sections to actually make it look like the hand book genre. Not only did I have organization problems but I also had problems with actually providing solutions to the problem stated in my essay. My revision process included adding in the solutions to the problem stated in the essay and omitting many of the unnecessary information about effects involved with my topic of the essay. I found the reverse outlining method to be particularly helpful in developing organization in my essay. Also, I chose the problem essay for my portfolio because the topic has the closest relation to me. I thought that I would have passion writing about the topic because I was able to incorporate my experiences to the essay. Within the essay, to have relevance to the hand book style genre, I used headings and dashes to make the instructions easier to follow. With the completion of detailed revisions including adding of photos, I was able to make an organized hand book.
The research paper also went through extensive revisions. The issues I had with my research paper included lack of both the organization and relevant evidences for my argument. For developing organization I found the reverse outline useful here as well. The biggest reason I had trouble finding relevant evidences for my argument was because the scholarly articles were difficult to understand. I found reading the “Reading Games” very helpful as it instructed me specific ways in which I can better understand the scholarly articles. As I worked on the revision for my research paper, I read over the “Reading Games” and kept in mind the reading skills taught while reading the scholarly articles. Following the instructions, I went from the title, abstract, introduction, and section headings in the respective order to figure out the main idea of the scholarly articles. By using this method of reading, I was able to understand article more easily and save a lot of time by not reading the parts in the paper that was irrelevant to my research paper.
I have learned so much valuable techniques that helped me grow to become a better writer from this course. I will definitely use the reverse outline method when I have to make revisions for my future writings. Whether it is chemistry class lab reports or a summary on a news paper article, I can apply the reverse outline method whenever my writing seems like it lacks organization. I will also always remember to use the scholarly article reading method that I learned from the “Reading Games”. As of now, I would not say that I am a good writer, maybe just a bit more of a decent one than I was before. I know that I still have a long way to go to grow as a better writer. However, I know one thing for sure. This course really triggered my interest into writing and gave me hope that I can actually feel better about myself as a writer. I feel grateful for the confidence this class gave me and I will continuosly strive to become a better writer.