Essay On The Writing Process
Throughout my high school career, I wrote countless papers on countless topics. Those four years taught me what I love about writing and what I don't. I loved being able to take an arbitrary topic that I had little to no knowledge about and research it and create a story to teach it to others. Writing gives me the opportunity to display my knowledge to my teachers and peers. What I don't love about writing is being graded. The teachers I have had before graded on how well a student conformed to their own standards of writing, not how the integrated their personal knowledge and opinions on the subject in their papers. Writing also revealed to me my strengths and weaknesses as a writer. The grades I received on my English projects indicated that I was able to create an outline that set my writing into motion, add depth to a surface level topic and deliver equal conflicting opinions or stances. The grades also indicated that I struggle with giving straight facts without sounding mundane, placing content in order to have the paper flow, and repeating transition and 'starter words'. With the feedback in mind, I have revised my writing style to create a better flow and reading experience.
In my sophomore English class, I had to write a "teach paper", as my teacher called it, over a disease. We were told to put as many facts and figures into the paper to get the point across that the disease we were writing about was a serious issue in the world. I was given the topic of Measles. My paper was 3 pages and was stuffed to the brim with data from the sources I was given. This essay was one of the worse ones I have even researched, written, then turned in. The rubric that the essay was graded by prioritized the number of data points and not the actual writing mastery or proficiency. It was what I call a 'copy and paste paper'. A paper where the writer does not learn the subject at hand but rather gets the information and throws it onto a paper. No rhyme or reason to the flow or story told throughout the paper. These papers were more of bullet point information than actual academic research and discoveries. This essay showed me that I can write a paper being given an impersonal topic. The bad thing about writing about a topic like this is, I can not put down just data and facts and keep a flow of a paper. I lacked the creativity to turn the paper into a valuable analysis.
In my senior English class, our final project was to write a ten-page research paper on urban legends we had been discussing throughout the semester. We had to research legends and choose one story type, then pick three specific stories and compare the narratives, cultural significance, and history. I chose the legends of mothers drowning their children in an unconscious outburst of rage caused by their husbands. With each legend I researched, I learned more about the culture of completely different towns across the globe from another and how the significance of family in each culture was just as different. With this paper, I was graded on how well I understood the topic and how well I could teach the story and significance to the reader. I was also graded on my analysis of each story and of the story type as a whole. This project was more about the student learning how to integrate their own past knowledge and emotions into their research. The writing portion of the essay itself taught me that I have what writers call an 'inner ear'. When I write I can hear the words as they come out. I can envision how they will sound in the sentence and paragraph, and if each word helps to keep the flow of the paper. This helps me be able to create a rhythm in my writing.
As a student who has always loved math and science, no one, even myself, ever thought I would be good at writing. The grades I received in my English classes always surprised my teachers and parents. Other students look at English with disgust, it is the subject that has been force fed to them for so long. I look at English with an open mind, it is the subject that has been the building blocks of learning for years. The language is the very first thing I ever learned and I use my knowledge of the subject each and every day. It may not be my favorite subject but it is the most important, most influential, and most personalizable subject. Continuing through my writing courses, the struggles and triumphs I have gone through have taught me, writing is not about how many facts you can recite about a topic, but what you do with those facts and how you apply them and work off of them. The most important thing that I learned very fast through the years was, you do not have to know everything about a subject to write about it. All you need is a pen, paper, and some heart.
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