Posted by: jdn9775 | November 30, 2008

Reflections on Essay Writing

This is one of the last writing courses for me in my undergraduate studies. I graduate in two weeks, which is both terrifying and gratifying at the same time. As I think back about what I’ve learned about essay writing in the past three-and-a-half years I cannot help but be amazed. Not to toot my own horn but I think all writers can relate to me when I say that my writing has improved drastically during college. 

However, writing in English 306 has proven to be both challenging and rewarding. Since I majored in History and did a minor in Professional Writing, I wasn’t given a lot of creative lead way with my writing. Thankfully, I was able to take this class and find some of the creativity that has been slowly strangled out of my writing in History and professional writing courses. 

During this semester I was able to learn about different styles of essay writing outside the limitations of academic prose. One of my favorite essays was the 500 word personal essay. This essay allowed me to get back in touch with my writing and inner-self; two entities that had once existed together, before college. Not only did this essay rekindle my personal writing, but it also taught me concision; a word that history professors and students have erased from their vocabulary.

Learning how to say something meaningful in a precise and convincing way takes both practice and a certain level of intuition. However, this intuition is not always innate, sometimes it takes writing classes such as this one to hone writers’ abilities to use rhetoric correctly.

I also learned how to document a reality with words. I consider this a very valuable writing tool that all English majors should master because no matter what type of writing career one chooses; learning how to convey thoughts in both a persuasive and interesting way is imperative for successful writing. For this I am grateful, since I will have a long career of writing legalese ahead that will undoubtedly be boring. Knowing that I can write for myself and possibly somewhat creatively for a legal review is a comforting thought.

However, blogging was a combination of all the types of essay writing that we learned over the course of this semester. 

 Initially, I was very wary of blogging. I didn’t think that it had any value as a medium of professional writing; however, in this I was wrong. Really wrong. I began to think about how many people (myself included) use texting, facebook, IM, etc. and I realized that blogging is rapidly becoming a means for people to communicate with one another. Not that I didn’t realize blogging or the Internet’s potential for communication before this class, but now I realize blogging’s potential for both writers and readers and the creation of communities.

Blogging is really sweet because it allows people to find others with the same interests to interact as well as potentially expose people of different beliefs to new ideas. I guess one could even say that blogs open the door for the broadening and strengthening of communities. For instance, below is a link to two elderly ladies blog site that shares my views on Sarah Palin. I would never have realized that sweet grandma-types would share my political views and be as opinionated as myself without blogging. For this I am grateful because it has helped open my eyes and break down some stereotypes that I once held about older people.

I would have never guessed that two elderly ladies in motorized wheel chairs would share the same liberal views as myself, enlightening indeed. Furthermore, I was able to use multimedia in my blogs, which added a new level to my rhetorical writing skills. 

Here’s a link to one of my own favorite posts:

This blog post is my favorite multimedia post because it allowed me to use youtube videos as a means of rhetoric, and since pictures (and more recently videos) say a thousand words this type of essay writing is debatably one of the most effective. Instead of using quotes I can show my reader directly with either videos, pictures, or hyperlinks to other websites. 

Effective essay writing is a culmination of hard work and experiencing diverse writing styles. English 306 has allowed me to experience writing on a new level. I had never written blogs, personal essays, or essays with multimedia, but after this class I believe that my writing style has progressed by learning diverse writing styles. Whether or not I will continue to blog, write personal essays or multimedia essays, I feel confident that my writing ability has increased from being exposed to these different writing styles. More importantly though I feel confident in my abilities to express myself in a persuasive and clear way. That is a skill that I will use throughout my life.


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