Dear UWP 1 Instructor,
“Passive voice from head to toe and completely ignoring myself.” If one phrase can be used to summarize my writing prior to this quarter, this has to be the one. I’d write like an automated computer solving Maths problems, cold and lifeless. It wasn’t until taking this class that I truly comprehended that the mastery of writing is much more complicated than solving Maths problems. In fact, it requires flexibility and patience. Flexibility means that my language needs to be adapted to my audience, and patience means that writing is a multi-draft process. Through this quarter’s practice, I have seen myself substantially progressing as a writer in many completely different genres by committing to a multi-draft writing process.
These traits would be demonstrated through my Rhetorical Analysis and my Digital Literacy Narrative. Choosing Literacy Narrative over Problem Essay is because I want to show my ability to write beyond academic writings and my mastery of different genres. As I have explained, I was most comfortable with academic, formal writings, and this ability can be seen through my Rhetorical Analysis. My problem essay, a formal letter directed to a high level official of our university, is similar to the Rhetorical Analysis in terms of both language and register. My Literacy Narrative, on the other hand, is a piece of informal personal writing that strings together many personal anecdotes, reflection and analysis. Putting this particular writing in my portfolio demonstrates that I am capable of walking out of my comfort zone and quickly adapting myself to different writing contexts by varying the language and rhetoric strategies I use. As a science major potentially with a career in science, this portfolio is a convincing piece of evidence that I can express my professional perspectives on scientific topics to both people inside and outside of my field. From writing emails and resumes to writing reports, I can now comfortably apply this ability to various real life situations.
Specifically, in my portfolio, you will be able to see how I adjusted my languages, the presentation of different types of evidence, and the overall structure to achieve intended effect for different genres. In my Digital Narrative, I laid large portion of my writing on the detailed depiction of my actions and emotion, accompanied by figurative and occasionally humorous language. For instance, when describing my excitement when I got my first social media account, I stated that “I… bombarded them with this news as if it was a newspaper headline”; when describing how I waited for my first online friend, I wrote “ I fidgeted around until the computer beeped” and later “I frantically rushed my mum and her colleagues to the computer.” These italic words, which are either emotionally-loaded or figurative phrases, are my attempts to express my feelings in a somewhat exaggerated manner, which not only makes my depiction all seem more genuine but also engages my readers by creating some sensationalism. In contrast, the Rhetorical Analysis strictly follows the convention of academic writings. In each body paragraph, I first presented evidence collected from my sources, then offered an analysis on how these two sources contrast with each other, and finally gave my conclusion. I also carefully incorporated many technological terms in the field of writing rhetoric into my Rhetorical A6nalysis in a bid to increase my credibility as an academic writer.
The mastery of different genres, however, cannot be achieved without proper revising techniques. This is a field at which I was particularly weak prior to the start of this quarter. My first draft used to be my last draft, so I’d always expect myself to get everything right in the first time. The in-class discussion on the benefits of multi-draft writing process inspired me to put this process into practice, and it indeed has shed some light on some hidden problems of my essays. In Literacy Narrative, my first thesis statement simply stated that digital literacy can bring people who I care closer to me. Feeling it was too dry, I introduced the metaphor of “bridge” to describe how digital literacy helps me stay connected. However, instructor review pointed out that I also discussed the theme of teaching digital literacy among generations. Thus, I introduced an additional metaphor of “glue” to present the two juxtaposed themes in my thesis statement. I also found during revision that I was trying to cover too many events in my narrative, which made my essay unnecessarily long and dry; thus, I focused on choosing one or two memorable moments and depicting them with more vivid details. For the Rhetorical Analysis, I originally included a paragraph introducing the media on which my two sources are published, but I deleted this paragraph during review as I believed my academic audience should already be familiar with these media. Instead, I refocused on the depth of my analysis and decided to cite Mr. Hyland’s idea to assist my arguments. At sentence level, my peer also pointed out many grammatical mistakes and awkward sentences that I failed to find during first round of revision.
As the quarter approaches its end, I am glad that I can present to you my best effort in this writing class. The process of creating this portfolio impels me to progress as a writer by teaching me the ability to self-reflect on my own writings and to make proper adjustments accordingly. Indeed, this portfolio comes form a series of painstaking drafting and revision process and hence represents my best ability to write across different genres. I understand that there is still room for improvements, and, surely, this portfolio will not be the destination of my writing life.
Hope you could enjoy!