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Dear Professor Johnson

,

The opportunity I had in taking two of the ACE Writing courses has been an incredible,

learning experience. I had initially felt discouraged with my literacy skills because of my score in

the Analytical Writing Exam. However, within time, I realized that it only requires constant

practice to become a better writer. Within the last two courses, the growth in my writing skills

has allowed me to easily detect the weaknesses of my papers and to properly strengthen the areas

that need to be fixed.

One of my struggles as a writer is knowing how to introduce a new paragraph without a

long opening that overgeneralizes the subject. I have the trouble of excessively writing because I

fear my ideas will not demonstrated academic integrity and lack creativity to maintain my

readers’ interest. In looking at the lesson from “Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace,” the

author provides ways to avoid long, introductory phrases. It is important to eliminate the clauses

that interrupts the subject or the verb in a sentence because “we [readers] respond to coordination

when the elements are coordinate not only in grammar but in thought” (p. 87). Specifically in my

essay for Writing Project 1, “Two Sources, One Message,” I was mistakenly trying to create a

valuable message about secondhand smoking instead of discussing the genre conventions for

each source. I did not incorporate clear, topic sentences for every time I introduced a new

argument and concluded with incomplete ideas that required more elaboration. By reflecting on

the importance of structure, I was able to clarify the paper’s proposal and become considerate of

my audience’s comprehension.

Because I had the tendency of over expressing my ideas, I created many confusions that

misguided the claims to my writing. The majority of times my verb choices did not fit properly

into the sentences or were grammatically improper. As a writer, I try to use different words

because I do not want to sound repetitive with my ideas. However, I learned that even though the

thesaurus incorporates a list of word options, it does not mean every term will be well suited.
When I received feedback towards this problem, I understood the significant role diction plays in

different writing styles. Addressed by Kerry Dirk’s “Navigating Genres,” “more than form

matters here, as knowing what is appropriate in these situations obviously requires more

rhetorical knowledge” (p. 253). In regards to diction, a writer must position themselves in their

readers’ perspective to enhance clarity and understanding. As seen in my second essay,

“Communication as a Discipline,” I had to adapt a scholarly tone to analyze the research studies

that are essential to the Communication field and avoid writing in first-person. The proper word

choice is key to writing, regardless of the type of genre.

In analyzing my writing techniques, I noticed that one of my strengths is knowing how to

properly quote a source. I did not have a hard time knowing how to incorporate the argument(s)

of other authors nor distract the focus of my paper. Author Kyle D. Stedman suggests useful

ways to enhance academic writing in her book, “Annoying Ways People Uses Sources.” For

example, she writes, “The easiest way to effectively massage in quotations is by purposefully

returning to each one in your draft to see if you set the stage for your readers” (p.245). By

signaling when and where the quotation is from, I learned my readers can follow the

establishment of my paper’s argument.

Looking back on my writing skills, before taking AEC Writing 1 and 2, I am amazed to

see my growth as a writer and an editor. My perspective on the difficulty of writing has changed

because I have seen my improvements and am encouraged to continue practicing with my skills.

Writing is a form of self-expression and it only requires lots of time and effort to get better. From

choosing proper diction to formatting a smooth structure, I have learned how to ensure clarity

and understanding in my writing.
Works Cited

Dirk, Kerry. “Navigating Genres.” Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing, vol. 1, 2010, pp.

249-262.

“Lesson 7: Shape.” Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace. pp. 69-89.

Stedman, Kyle D. “Annoying Ways People Use Sources.” Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing,

vol. 2, 2011, pp. 242-256.