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January 2018

Individual Writing Process Reflection


As far as writing goes, I have a process
that I usually follow. When I am first given the assignment, I consider what
the due date is. If the due date is soon, I get started right away. If I have
quite a bit of time, I tend to put it off until the first weekend after it is
assigned. Then I like to get started and get as much done as possible during
that first weekend. Once I am a majority of the way through the assignment, I
tend to procrastinate finishing until at least a week before the due date.
Usually, I finish writing the paper, then read through it once or twice, making
a few changes, to make sure the paper is quality and makes sense. In general, I
tend to start early, rather than at the last minute. I enjoy getting things
done early because I do not like the stress of an assignment hanging over my

            I revise my writing once or twice.
When I revise it, I consider how the writing sounds and if the grammar is all
perfect, or as perfect as I can make it. Grammar is something that I tend to
focus on because simple grammar mistakes drive me crazy. For revising, I do not
focus on content as much as I know I should. The reason for that is most likely
because I am determined to get things done and that would consume more time.

            The strengths of my process are that
I can complete writing assignments quickly and effectively. I express my ideas fast,
and I am able to write papers that make sense. My writing process is one where
it is not all saved for the last minute. I do not have the last-minute stress
that results in a poorly written paper, which is a huge benefit.

            The main weakness of my writing
process is that I focus on writing to get it done. I tend to care more about
getting the grade I want in the least amount of time. I do not enjoy focusing
on revising, changing ideas, and adding more ideas, so I do not do that as much
as I know I should. Also, I do not spend as much time making the writing as
perfect as it should be. The main problem with my writing process is that the
main goal is to finish and get a high grade. I do not care about the assignment
itself very often.

            Overall, however, my writing process
works well. I am obtaining the grades that I desire and am comfortable with my
ability to write. In general, I feel as though I am submitting quality work. I
may not spend time meticulously working on every single sentence, but I put in
a lot of work up front and I make sure everything I write is written to my
standards. I have high standards for grades and the work I put in, hence, I put
in a ton of work on my first draft of an essay. I always make sure my papers
are written to a high standard before I turn them in.


            In the book The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking by Edward B. Burger and
Michael Starbird, they describe and elaborate upon different ways to improve
the writing process and to improve critical thinking. The first three chapters
discuss “Grounding Your Thinking,” “Igniting Insights through Mistakes,” and
“Creating Questions out of Thin Air.” Within these chapters, there is important
material that can be applied to improve writing.

            The first chapter describes the
basics of writing. In order to have success, this chapter talks about
“grounding your thinking” (Burger and Starbird, 2012, p.13). It describes that
to have a deeper understanding, we need to become experts at the basic material.
Some things it suggests doing as far as writing are to make sure spelling and
grammar are correct, to find less difficult problems than the ones presented,
and to make an outline. Specifically, Burger and Starbird state, “consider a
subject you wish to understand, and clear the clutter until you have isolated
one essential ingredient” (2014, p.30). To apply these strategies, I can focus
more on making sure that there is a main idea that comes through on my paper.
Another thing I can attempt is to go through and check all the spelling and
grammar. Chapter one is about the basics, hence, this chapter gives ideas as to
how the basic parts of writing can be strengthened. From this chapter, one
learns to go back and make sure they understand something, grammar for example,
before they take it and apply it to the work. 

            In the second chapter, failure is
discussed. The authors argue that in order to eventually have success, a person
must fail several times. For example, they state that failing, “frees you and allows
you to think creatively without fear of failure, because you understand that
learning from failure is a forward step to success” (Burger and Starbird, 2012,
49). As far as writing goes, this chapter suggests writing down all your ideas,
editing them afterwards, and eliminating the bad or incorrect ones. It also
suggests posing counter arguments that would lead you to developing your ideas
more thoroughly. This chapter is easily applied to writing techniques.
Initially, when starting a paper, it is helpful to “brain dump.” From chapter
two, we learn that effective thinking and writing start out by first putting
down all the ideas and thinking of everything you can. Following that, it is
important to refine the ideas and make them better and correct.

            Finally, the third chapter is
titled, “Creating Questions out of Thin Air.” Essentially, this chapter
discusses asking questions about everything. Within this chapter, it is taught
that good questions lead to you becoming “more open to ideas, because you are
constantly discovering places where your assumptions are exposed” (Burger and
Starbird, 2012, 94). By asking questions, one can further understand what they
do and do not know. From there they can clarify and become a more effective
thinker. To apply this, one can ask questions as they read and edit their
paper. The writer can also have other people read their paper and ask
questions, then go back and address the questions within the paper. This allows
for all confusion to be clarified and for the difficult parts of the essay to
become clearer and better understood.


            In an effort to improve this paper,
I applied the techniques found in chapter three. While editing my paper, I
asked myself questions to make sure everything was clear. From there, I
answered my questions and changed wording or added new material to improve the
overall writing and understanding. I found that a lot of my questions arose from
bad wording within the paper. Thankfully, I was able to change that wording and
then the paper became much easier to understand.

            Overall, asking questions while
revising my paper helped me to take an outside perspective. I thought about my
paper from other points of view. This made me think more about how I phrased
things and if others would be able to understand it. It was difficult to come
up with questions at first, but as I worked on revising my paper, it started to
come more easily. In all, I think that asking questions is a helpful technique
in the revising part of writing a paper. This creates an effective method to
analyze what is written and to make it clearer. In conclusion, there are many
ways in which effective thinking can be applied to writing. Asking questions
about what is written proves to be a helpful tool.  

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