Friday, December 11, 2009

Blog (David's) [The Best Of]

Writing reflections was an altogether new experience for me. The combined effects of being someone who’s never kept journals along with my math- and science-heavy coursework left me, as far as I can tell, one of the least experienced writers in the class.

This is apparent in one of my first posts, titled “Reflection 2”. I was clearly struggling with writing style: many of my sentences are choppy and poorly worded, and I frequently interrupt myself with parenthetical asides. The all-caps “headers” seemed like a good idea at the time, but don’t really make sense in the flow of the narrative. They seem to divide the text too much, hurting the overall cohesiveness. Despite the many problems with this reflection, I chose it because I see some positive traits in it. The piece was successful, albeit marginally so, in combining something from my experience with Gawande’s text. (My argument was that independent musical artists used Gawande’s idea of ‘trust’ to for a more effective ‘group’ with their customers, something the RIAA failed to do.) Additionally, the awkward word choices and sentence structures are sometimes lucky enough to appear creative, which at least help the piece stay interesting to the reader.

My comfort with writing reflections increased with time, as can be seen in a reflection from the second three weeks titled “5”. In this piece I discussed my favorite college course, “Mythology of Greece and Rome”. This writing was clearly an improvement over my previous work: it had only a few of the awkward sentence missteps of earlier posts, (the most noticeable being “Daedalus did, so Queen Minos did, allowing Zeus to,”) and the flow of the narrative was uninterrupted and well-organized. Negative aspects, of course, are still apparent in this reflection. Neither the class discussion nor any of the class text is referenced, which would have helped give this reflection more of a point and allow it to fit with all the other reflections. Also, while the piece was fun to write, it didn’t present any real argument answering the prompt.

For my last post in October, I wrote a reflection linking other students’ ideas in “Is Diversity Good?” At this point, I can say that I was perfectly comfortable with my writing style. There are no awkward breaks, no noticeable missteps that take the reader’s attention away from the writing. Additionally, the fusion of Kim’s and Joe’s ideas with my own made this piece a lot more colorful. I’d say this post was easily one of my most interesting, as it involved many different views of the same topic of diversity within working groups. While the post is lacking the “storyline” of some of my earlier posts, I think it makes up for it in a cohesive argument.

My favorite post, the one I consider best, is my argument against the rigid guidelines of graduation requirements: “For Flexibility”. I like this piece for three main reasons: the argument it presents is perfectly cohesive (more so than any other one of my posts,) there are good references to both class discussion and the text, and the links used seem to help clarify the piece even more. Of course, the piece isn’t perfect: my defense against counterarguments could have been better developed. All in all, though, I think this piece stands as my best for the semester.

The weekly required writing was illuminating for me. I was forced to push through my initial inability to convey meaning effectively through text. I found that an easy way to break through writer’s block is to simply tell a story from personal experience (whether it is perfectly related to your subject or not.) As I grew more comfortable writing, I found that reading other writing (be it other students’ blogs, or outside articles,) helped solidify my own ideas and help me put them down in words.

I have a feeling I will continue writing, if only to keep practiced on the progress I have made so far. I doubt I will continue this blog in its current form, but now that I have gained confidence in making reasonable and cohesive arguments, I think it will be easier for me to continue writing on a regular basis.

1 comment:

  1. Writing as in your blog (or in a private journal) is a way to stay in tune with yourself. It is also a way to experiment with ideas. Both are useful long term - the immediate payoffs may be less transparent. I believe it is also helpful in getting you to write better in an academic or job context, because you will know yourself as a writer better. Of course, you will likely keep at it only if it is enjoyable for itself, which I hope it has become, even if it was torture the first few weeks of the semester.