1. The essay writing process
Explain how you go about writing essays. What process do you follow, from you look at the question to when you hand in the finished essay?
The majority of essays I have written have had several topics that I must choose from, so my process begins there. I take a look at each topic to see what I already know and if it interests me. Once I narrow my options down to one or two, I start doing some research; I also break down the question and check for directional words.
Now that I have all the information, I choose the question I will be answering in my essay and I start to flesh out my first draft. I do this by breaking down the question and forming my thesis. I refer to my notes, and to my research and check to make sure my ideas are properly supported and my arguments are strong. I write out my introduction and conclusion, then depending on the word count, I write out the main points.
I try to match the quotes to my ideas, making sure they are correctly referenced and when I am happy with my draft, I polish it, taking care there are no grammar or spelling mistakes and then submit it to Turnitin. Once I have the all clear I submit the complete essay with coversheet to the tutor.
2. Assessing progress
Reflect on and discuss your progress with your essay. (Refer to the circular model, ‘Essay writing process: Circular model’ to do this.)
More often than not I write out my essays with an introduction and thesis. The conclusion follows and then the main arguments. I tend to do some initial research prior to starting the essay, but if I feel that I am not expressing my point of view effectively, I may do more research and try again. This happens when I cannot find a quote that will support my argument or point.
I have learned to simply write and then when I am finished to go through my work with a fine tooth comb to check for discrepancies and then writing the final product that will be submitted. I generally have a plan; however, if the information is not making sense to me, I may start again and write another draft. For this reason, I like to start on my assessments earlier so that I have time to amend what I have written and still hand my work in plenty of time.
3. The argument and structure of essays
Write about your responses to these aspects of your essay:
– the thesis or conclusion;
– the premises or reasons to be covered that support your thesis;
– the organisation/structure or order of your premises or reasons.
I have always had trouble formulating a solid thesis on the first try. I am most grateful that tutors give me an opportunity to test it our prior to committing myself to a final thesis statement. Overall, I find writing a thesis very intimidating, but once I have one, I can turn it into a conclusion and I am happy with that.
I really want to make my point and in doing so I need to write good, strong arguments. My initial response is to get as much information as I can, then sift through it all to find something that I can use and be effective. My concern with the premises is that I use in-text referencing correctly.
I have been working hard at utilising correct paragraph structure, which includes a topic sentence, a developing sentence, a supportive sentence and linking sentence. I also find this task a little intimidating, so it is something I take great care in writing correctly.
4. The importance of writing to you
Explore your answers to these questions
- Do you like to write? Why or why not?
I love to write and had been an avid writer of short stories and poetry until I got married and life became hectic, doubly so after I had children. But writing always made me feel like I could escape real life and go to places found only in my imagination.
- Does writing come easily to you? How often do you write?
I think because I find reading so fascinating, it comes more easily to me, I enjoy playing with words, finding out meanings and how to use them in my writing. I would love to be able to write for fun again. Perhaps when I finish my course, or when the children are a little older and I have time to my self again.
I used to write short stories and when I was younger I tried my hand at romance, however, I never had any formal training so nothing came of it. I also used to write some poetry when I was in high school, but I do not think I was much good at it.
Unfortunately, all my high school books were stored at my parent’s place and they were flooded in 2011, so I do not have anything that anyone can read. The part of me that is not confident in my abilities does not mind that at all. Currently, my husband will read anything I write if I ask him to.
5. Strategies to improve writing
What strategies do you need to develop or refine to improve your writing? Write a paragraph or two about these strategies.
I would like to implement all the strategies suggested by my Learning Companion text book, these ideas are just what I need to really start writing again. For example, writing a little each day is a great idea. I used to write short stories when I was younger and I think this will help with not only the academic side of studying but also as stress release. I used to write about going off to far away places and this, I feel can come in handy when I am feeling pressured.
As well as writing daily, I would like to share my writing with my husband and perhaps other family members to obtain some feedback. This would give me an opportunity to get used to receiving negative criticism and work toward using that constructively rather than letting it make me feel like a failure. By sharing my work, academic or otherwise, I am also building my confidence about what I write.
This week’s activity has opened my eyes to writing for fun again. This, I believe could help me develop creative thinking that will aid me in writing academically. I took a moment to remember what I used to write about and the joy that writing gave me when I was younger. I stopped because I got married and I started working and was simply too tired and time poor to sit down and put pen to paper. I did not realised how much I missed it until completing this exercise.
I have taken to heart the strategies I read in the text book and hope to implement them as soon as possible. I feel that I must make the time to write, if not for my assignments but for my self also. Writing a little each day about anything that takes my fancy sounds enormously luxurious, given that I have three kids to take care of; however, this is something I really want to do and am in fact looking forward to it.