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Introductory Essay for Portfolio


At the beginning of the semester, I set myself personal goals that would see me improve and develop both as a writer and as a reader. I thought that the personal goals added to those set by the lecturer in the course objectives would make me be a holistic writer. It has always been my dream to be a good writer in future and in the process leave a mark in the literary world. Reflecting on how the semester has gone, I am happy and encouraged to see that I have made tremendous progress towards achieving my goal.

The single most important lesson that I have gained from the course is knowing my audience and being able to determine the kind of writing that fits the occasion. Early into the semester, I was able to identify that I have a laid-back style of writing, something that did not fit my targeted audience. A laid-back writing style does not fit the millennial generation, which made me know that I had to make changes to it if I wanted to be a successful writer.

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The Internet has given me tips of how to change this style of writing through providing me with literature materials meant to assist me with the anticipated transition. In addition, it has also made me connect with other experienced writers who have guided me in changing my style. I am confident that I am shunning my laid-back style.

Prior to undertaking this class, I was well aware of the personal problem I had regarding inconsistent grammar and run on sentences. Encouragingly though, the lecturer convinced me that it was a small problem, which we could solve together. The solution to the problem as per the lecturer’s recommendation was reading more books. In the course of the semester, we have been able to cover different books and stories. According to the lecturer, reading many of these books would help me get an idea of how to structure my writing in a way that it informs, engages, persuaded, and even entertains different audiences. Reading twentieth and nineteenth centuries stories written by writers such as Zora Neale, Kate Chopin and Charlotte Perkins to name a few have given me those tips.

For instance, one of the writers whose work we have covered in the course of the semester is Zora Neale Hurston. Zora in her “Sweat” story targeted the women audience who were in abusive relationships. With her stated audience in mind and a story to tell, Zora goes ahead to chose a suitable structure that would help her engage and persuade them fully. She achieves this through writing dialog in dialect in addition to using realistic situations and characters. Through this story alone, I have been able to appreciate the weight that an author’s structuring of his or her work influences writing. This is a knowledge that I intend to continue applying in my life as a writer.

The books and stories that we have covered during the semester have not only helped improve my vocabulary and grammar but also helped me know more about women writers and about feminism then and now. I have to admit that I found it hard to understand old texts from the book Great Short Stories by American Women, this being part of the exercise in class meant to help us students know more about women writers and feminism. However, my conversations with the lecturer made me realize where the problem was. I was unable to have diversity when trying to observe and critique writers. However, the class discussions on the commonalities, differences, and themes used by these 19th and 20th century women writers have improved my understanding on them.

For the longest time in my life, I had trouble speaking in public. The few times I attempted doing so saw me get stage fright and stutter a lot. In the course of the semester though, it became evident that great writers are those that can clearly express their ideas both in writing and orally. I have watched many videos about writers giving public speeches on their books and it is this that motivated to improve on this aspect. I felt that it would hinder me from becoming a top writer and had to do something about it. I am happy to note that I have made tremendous progress in this regard. There is no stuttering or stage fright when I speak in public.

I would like to highlight the Turabian book, which has been one of the course materials we have been using during the semester, helped me improve. First, I have perfected my citations. Being a book specifically written to help guide students on how they write their college papers, the book has been helpful in teaching me how to improve on a lot of things in my writing. I would not hesitate recommending it to a person wanting to improve on his or her writing.

Finally, I feel that I have been able to make tremendous progress into becoming a holistic writer. This semester has been a real success in terms of class engagement, reading materials, and setting personal goals. I believe that I am on the right track towards achieving my goals and looking forward to the next semester where I know I will learn even more things.

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