Writing Skills, the Ink on my Paper (Reflection)

First Thoughts

As a writer, I continue to reinvent myself for the professional and social world. Entering English 214 this spring 2016 semester, I thought the coursework would be relatively moderate to hard, considering the things I already knew about grammar and English. Hard, not knowing the lengths of the assignments, the professor’s style of teaching, and the long dry textbook reading/ reading comprehension. And moderate, because I felt confident going into the class with my good writing skills. After, actually attending a few class sessions I was relaxed. But, what else gave me confidence in English 214? The instructor’s good-willed nature and student-teacher relationship she developed amongst her students. Before the class, my writing was already good, but I needed my writing skills to be improved for the better.

Dr. L.D. Brown the “Freedom Writer”

I believe that I have grown as a writer since being enrolled into English 214 at San Francisco State University with Professor Trainor. I was a very limited writer before this course, because I always had to write academic papers based on the strict teacher’s guidelines or California state standards. I mean, even when I was enrolled into Merritt Junior College in Oakland, California, it was still very academic. I did not have any freedom in my writing unless it was in social or personal settings. So, when I was assigned to write blogs for English 214 all semester mainly I was excited. This excitement came about, because this created small tangible goals for me to complete. Indescribable, but small tangible writing goals in English took this abstract writing anchor off of my shoulders. I never thought I would say this made English class much easier for me to absorb and comprehend as a growing learning student. Also, Professor Trainor smoothed out the course with: paper handouts, using students’ written blogs as writing models for the entire class, and the Eli review online was awesome.

The Bacon, Eggs, & Potatoes

The three main things I learned in the class this semester in English is to always have a purpose in my writing, revision, and ethos. Contrary to popular belief, without a purpose in one’s writing, the reader cannot convey the writer’s central message they are trying to pass across. I focused, so hard on revising my blogs and the whole revision process. “The voice for females in the tattoo world is lacking power in the performance area. There is a lot of people writing about female tattoo artists, but I honestly feel like it should be way more than just handful of women.” (Dr. LD Brown, Blog Entry 4, The Under Representation of the Female Tattooist, www.medium.com/@DrLDBrown). I consider myself a “self-critical” writer and thinker, so I tend to proofread and edit my papers with a red pen. All my blogs are good on the first or second draft. In Stephen King’s, “Everything You Need to Know about Writing”, in the writing successful section, he lists 12 steps on how to write successfully. I naturally agreed with all of the 12 steps, but number 3, “Be Self-Critical” stuck out the most to me. “If you haven’t marked up your manuscript a lot, you did a lazy job. Only God gets things right the first time. Don’t be a slob.” (Step 3, King, Everything You Need to Know about writing). I have coined a new definition for the word, “revision”. Revision, to view one’s writing zoning-in on how much of the writer’s piece can be recycled and refocused on the main purpose with good ethos.

Golden Voice, the Power in the Pen

But, my favorite learnt writing skill was Ethos. In rhetoric, Ethos is defined as credibility through showing an ethical appeal which involves showing moral character to persuade an audience. I believe I show my moral character through my authentic voice within my writings. I think I give my reader the “feeling” of an actual live in-person chat. I was passionate about writing my blogs on the art of tattooing, because I favored and I held some expertise on tattoos. Constantly, thinking and considering how I could change my writing with the blog entries, I did not notice my moral growth as a writer. From my first blog post, the instructor said that I had a strong ethos and I did not even know it. “Anybody cannot be a tattoo artist, it takes a person with a lot of skill. The art of tattooing must be practiced like a two-year old human learning its first language. Constructive sketching and tedious tattooing repetition is imperative while acquiring the tattooing skill. I recall when I started the art of tattooing and it was a hard skill to learn.” (Dr. LD Brown, Blog Entry 1, The Art of Tattooing, www.medium.com/@DrLDBrown). She used my first blog as an example of good ethos in writing in the classroom. I suppose that my ethos was good, because I love to speak what is on my mind and write what I am passionate about. I learned that when one has passion in their writing it can go long ways.

Great Classroom Structure

Since the instructor used my writing as a model for the classroom, I noted the pros and cons of my writing style and focused solemnly on improving my writing skills. I learned what type of reader and writer I am as a student. I know that I am an extensive reader and writer, because I tend to jot side notes down as I am reading and writing the material. I admit that my organizational skills within my writing has improved tremendously. I always wrote good stuff, but my organization was always a little off. But, English 214 helped with my paragraph form and sentence structure. I actually still have the grammar handout on sentence structure that I will keep for future references.

My Moral Character

This semester in English 214, I have been an excellent student. Firstly, I attend class sessions regularly on Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:00 a.m. — 12:15 p.m. and my classroom participation is very high. Honestly, I believe I only missed class maybe once or twice and I might have been tardy a few times, but I have always been on task. My Eli review participation was very high too. I usually completed my Eli assignments fairly early, so I could have better time management with my other homework assignments. But, as time went along some students in the course did not complete their Eli assignments leaving me in the dog house and a few of my assignments on Eli review became incomplete. I found this to be such a “bummer”, because I love knowing all of my assignments are complete and seeing all the green completed tasks. I can admit that I have been late on a few Eli posts. My only reasons for being late on those certain posts: Other homework assignments due for other courses, no response from other classmates, or I simply fell asleep checking the Eli’s refresh link/tab.

Honesty Goes Long Ways

I am pretty sure I have never skipped an Eli review, because Professor Trainor has always given assignments in a timely fashion. My participation in consultations with the instructor and teacher’s assistant, Tyler was fair. I described my participation with the consultations as fair, because I only used them as needed not super frequently. To be honest, my writing group this spring 2016 semester was strong; we did most of our own editing and proof read each other’s blogs. So, mostly all of my blogs was great shape. I generally work hard throughout the entire semester, so my transitions “making the A+” is smooth. When I needed help or clarification on a topic, subject, or assignment I asked the instructor or the teacher’s assistant. I utilized the instructor as a reference and English writing role model and the teacher’s assistant as a guide in the course.

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