When I first entered this class at the beginning of the semester, I truthfully did not expect for my writing to change as much as it did. Not only did I learn such things as how to identify an audience I am writing to, but I can also recognize rhetoric now. I am able to appeal to ethos, pathos, or logos, and I notice them not just in writing, but in my every day life as well. This class, however, did not just teach me new writing techniques and change my view on influences in the media and other real-life situations, but it also showed me where my writing could use improvement.
For starters, while reading over my writer’s letters again, I have seen that I am able to write about the topic at hand without straying too far away from it. In my writing before, I usually would begin writing about things that weren’t well connected with the issues I was discussing. I am now able to observe what I have written and decide whether or not a sentence or word pertains to the topic. When I find that I have started to get off the topic I am writing about, I am able to bring myself back to the topic and stop myself before getting too far away. One such instance was in my first inquiry assignment, an inquiry about myself and how I was influenced by technology. In my original draft, I had a couple of paragraphs about a multitude of different technologies and their uses. I chose to get rid of these paragraphs in my final draft, as I felt that “A majority of my paper focused on Facebook and how that affected me.” As part of my decision, I noted that including this information “really didn’t flow well within my essay.” This course has taught me that I can read over what I have written and take out the parts I feel aren’t so relevant to my writing, as well as those parts that are detrimental to the reading of the writing.
Staying away from bias is another problem I have noticed within my writing throughout this semester. Looking through my inquiry assignments again, I noted that I seemed to have been more opinionated than I probably should have been. I noted my more biased tone in the second inquiry, stating in my writer’s letter that I felt a need to change my thesis “so that it was neutral like the rest of my essay.” I did not notice this problem while writing my third inquiry assignment, but looking back on it now, I do realize where there is a less neutral tone. In order to help me with my future classes, as well as in future employments, I need to focus more on writing from a neutral standpoint. I need to tone down my views, as well as decide to write on topics that I do not particularly feel so strongly about. When I first chose the topics I wanted to talk about, I did not feel so attached to them. However, looking through my writings, I found that I did become a bit more attached than I should have been. This class has shown me how much, even unknowingly, I am able to become attached to issues I write about.
Some concerns that I saw through my writer’s letters were that I did not include enough logic where I felt there should be more. Usually in my writer‘s letters I expressed my concern without using enough logos for research-based inquiries. This can be seen especially in my second, third, and fourth inquiry assignments. In my second letter, I wrote about how I “included more in-text citations from the website to give more examples from my source,” but “I could have added more details.” In the third inquiry assignment, I noticed that the advice I listened the most to was “that I needed to add more logic to my paper.” And in my fourth inquiry, my goal was to “develop a more logos-based rhetorical purpose.” Only I ended up making it “more pathos.” When I did use logic for my inquiries, I probably could have found a better statistic to work with. I had the problem of choosing facts or statistics that did not pertain well to what I was writing about. In my future writings, I need to really sit down and review my research, whether it is for a class or job, and choose a fact that really suits my logos-driven work.
Another problem I felt I needed to work on was that I needed to analyze my logic more. In my first inquiry, I wrote about myself and was able to analyze myself well. Unlike that first inquiry, though, in my following assignments, I was not able to analyze my topics as effectively. I just stuck in a statistic or two and let that do the work for me, without thinking that I needed to analyze the statistic. I have realized, going through my inquiries, that I must stop relying on facts to support themselves and start supporting my facts more.
Tying into this, I found that I needed to expand more on certain issues or ideas, which has always been a problem for me. For many years, I have been told in my English classes to expand on ideas more, but I was never able to. I feel through my writer’s letters that I was able to expand more as my writing skills developed even more, but I do not feel that they have developed to a point that I can be satisfied. For, once again, I was just relying on my logic, without thinking to analyze it, or if I did analyze, without expanding on the concept behind the logic like I should have.
By analyzing and expanding more while I wrote, I could have made my writing flow better. Mostly, I just noticed this problem in my writer’s letters, but I usually just answered the set of questions given to me without trying to connect them in a way that made sense. Each new paragraph was just me answering a new question, instead of connecting my ideas like I should have done. Sometimes, I attempted to write in a way that wasn’t just a list of answers to the questions I was given, but in the end, it did end up in a list format. This led me to see that as I was writing my writer’s letters, I did not go into very good detail with those answers. This, once again, ties back into my writing as a whole and the idea that I need to begin explaining concepts in more detail than I used to do.
By writing with a list format in my writer’s letters, I have noticed that the transition between my ideas could have been thought out better. Searching through my inquiries, I did not find any problems with my organization, so I realized that this was just a problem I was having with my writer’s letters. I came to the conclusion that while reflecting on my writing, I was not treating my writer’s letters like an actual writing assignment. I was more or less treating my writer’s letters as though they were just questions I needed to answer, as I already brought up previously. From now on, I believe it would be in my best interest if I treated all writing assignments as if they were an important research paper.