Peer Response to Writing Autobiographies
Provide feedback to two of your peers. Use these questions to guide your feedback:
- What do you like about the writing?
- What areas confused you?
- What areas do you want to know more about?
Please remember that your job as a peer responder is to provide feedback about craft, style, and clarity. It is not to edit the grammar and mechanics of the paper.
Please respond to the following autobiographies.
As a teenager, growing up in a large working class family whose parents did not have a formal education, the importance of scholarly writing skills were not highly stressed upon me. Instead, proficient rudimentary writing and math skills for skilled labor professions were the focus in my household. However, when I graduated from high school with excellent grades, my parents realized that it was in my best interest for me to pursue a post-secondary education. As a result, they were very supportive and wanted me to reach my full academic potential. Moreover, my parents and my siblings were excited that I was the first child in our family to attend college. My journey to college began at a county college where I earned my associate degree. Subsequently, my determination and energy gained me two Masters Degrees with endorsements in administration and a specialist in reading. Eight years later, I am now pursuing my doctorate in educational leadership. Throughout my academic years, I have been required to do variations of writing assignments that were more challenging and satisfying than others. During collegiate journey, I continued to discover my strengths and weaknesses as an academic writer and what genres are most satisfying and difficult for me.
Academic Writing: Strengths & Weaknesses
It is difficult for me to analyze my own writing. However, I perceive that my writing strengths are my thoroughness in including details to support what I am articulating and the reader-friendly manner in which I structure of my writings. Specifically, I put forth much effort in eliminating unnecessary information, esoteric vocabulary, and embellishments. I suppose I am conscientious of the aforementioned because I get disinterested and easily distracted when I am reading writings that convey an abundance of information in two pages when it could have been accomplished in one. Additionally, I perceive that I structure my writings fairly well. I outline my information prior to processing my writings so that the information that I am attempting to convey does not get “lost” in a sea of disorganized text.
My writing weaknesses include the minor grammatical inconsistencies, such as, tense usage and its congruency throughout my papers. For example, if I am citing an author: John (2003) argued or John (2003) argues…” I can easily get fixated on grammatical details and continue to question myself to levels of frustration. However, if I am writing my paper in the context of past or present tense, I normally use the same tense for citations. Becker (2007) and Soomo Publishing (2010) argued that many students become too compulsive about every aspect of the writing process. Becker (2007) described, “They start over and over again, destroying reams of paper, working over the first sentence or paragraph again as they find each successive try unsatisfactory in some new way” (p. 49). Such writing practice has become a distraction for me, and I continue to ponder over the accuracy of grammatical miscues. In addition to what I deem as minor grammatical weaknesses, I also struggle with the syntactical/contextual aspects of writing, such as the overuse of pronouns. For example, these are the writing challenges that hinder my writing process: “one cannot understand if one does…” and/or “him or her” in lieu of s/he. I attempt to evade these writing challenges by avoiding the aforementioned.
Genre Difficulties and Satisfactions
Although, I continue to further develop my writing strengths and work towards eliminating my weaknesses, there are academic genres that I do not feel prepared or eager to tackle and others that I thoroughly enjoy writing about. Specifically, I do not enjoy and find it difficult to write academic reviews, which require summarization, analyzing, and synthesizing information from multiple sources. Reading academic reviews and writing about them across unfamiliar disciplines has been dissatisfying and challenging for me. I have little interest in scholarly reviews and informative reports that require expository writing and a thorough understanding of academic theories of practice. Ironically, I was surprised when my professor commented on how well I constructed my literature review on Academic Perceptions of African American Students.
While a find it challenging and dissatisfying to write academic reviews, I find it satisfying to write about social science genres because I have a deep interest in social issues. During my graduate studies, I enjoyed writing my thesis about HIV in schools and The Right to Know. Although, the research required expository and scientific information, I acquired the knowledge and writing skills to conduct a quality thesis/research paper. Additionally, I adhered to the course rubric, research standards, and writing format.
As with most challenges, applying more effort, practice and determination can assist one in overcoming obstacles that they face in life. I will continue put forth an effort and accept constructive critiques from my peers and academic scholars to improve my writing skills, which will prepare me to undertake any scholarly genre. However, I would like to seek feedback that is thorough, descriptive, and accompanied with helpful explanations, examples, and suggestions to improve my scholarly writing skills (Tamuwritingcenter, 2010; “Chapter Three: Literature Review,” 2015).
As an academic writer, my strengths are in basic writing, research, and organization. I am very good at writing literature reviews or other research based writing. I enjoy searching for the right articles through searchable databases, such as EbscoHost. I enjoy doing this type of research and being exposed to other academic knowledge. The research is my favorite part of academic writing. I have very high organizational skills when I am organizing my writing. I am able to succinctly select specific information and incorporate different academic knowledge resources into a cohesive explanation or argument. My undergrad Capstone included secondary and primary research and was almost 50 pages, I received a 100 percent grade. That was probably the most defining point in my academic writing career. I am trying to improve so that I can get published academically. My weakness as an academic writer is that I have not been published in an academic journal and I don’t know where to start or how to go about becoming published in the academic world. I don’t know enough about becoming published in an academic journal to even know where to begin! This is a goal of mine and I would like to hit this goal before I turn 40.
I have written in non-fiction and fiction genres as a freelance writer. I mostly write web-based articles because these are easy to sell and fairly easy to write, although the pay is not very good. I average about ten dollars an hour, although some projects are much more and some are less. I have published over 250 articles over the last decade, however some of these articles are in website databases for later use. Articles such as ‘How to clean your silverware?’ or ‘What should I name my dog?’ are considered fluff articles that websites cycle out of a database when they need content rather than hire a writer all time. I have also written more articles that were ‘ghost’ written so I did not receive an author’s bio for these. My favorite genre is fiction, I love writing short stories and have been published three times in fiction, mostly I write fantasy or science fiction. I wrote a science fiction novella but it never sold, it was not that good. However, I have a deep love for science fiction and high fantasy, a genre that is very difficult to break into.
The most difficult piece of writing was for my theater class, because it was an online class we had the option of writing a script. This was the first time I had ever written a script so I had to write very carefully. I received a 100% and my instructor even said that I should see about getting it turned into a movie or television series. I was really proud of the script and it was actually a pretty great story, and was difficult to write because of the specifics of scripts—you have to know when someone enters, from where, what is in the background, specific props, where people stand/cross, and other technical details.
Although I love writing fiction, my life goal is to work in education and probably write textbooks. I would like to write mostly on the disparity and social justice for the furthering of women with disabilities and domestic violence histories to receive education and become successful scholars. Once I am done with my doctorate I will probably write fiction as a hobby, but as a career I want to focus on improving education and education access for women with disabilities and living in poverty.