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Dave Weisbrich

Dr. Sean George DSU


ENG 1010
12 December 2015
Writing Skill Assessment
I have always felt that my writing skills are above-average, and, over the course of this
semester, I have been able to assess these skills through the trial and error process of writing many
drafts of this semesters' writing assignments. In this self-reflexive essay I will assess my strengths,
weaknesses, overall capabilities, areas that improved, and areas that still require improvement.
To begin, I have always felt that writing about a topic that is thought-provoking and of genuine
interest to the author is essential for creating meaningful writing. During casual conversation in my
personal life, I enjoy analyzing interesting topics from many different viewpoints with others, debating
and persuading those who differ with my opinions. Writing about Bitcoin and the PIC allowed me to
take topics and methods of verbal discussion and apply these skills in the written word, with sources to
back up my opinions. Initially, this was somewhat difficult for me to do, as I haven't been in an English
Composition class for many years and am out of practice. However, with time I was able to quickly
sharpen my skills.
One area that is simultaneously as strength and weakness of mine is my ability to paint a picture
with my words. In verbal communication, I can use vivid language along with a wide array of nonverbal communications that allow me to weave my thoughts into a colorful tapestry. My writings
reflect this to a degree, however, the written word has always lagged behind my verbal and body
language communications. In order to make up for the deficiencies that I encounter in writing, I often
use many adjectives to help express the full effect of my thoughts. Using too many adjectives causes
my sentences to be excessively lengthy, which results in writing that appears weak. Realizing the full
breadth of my inner thoughts in the least amount of words is something that I believe all writers

constantly struggle with, and I am no different. Although my writing can be long-winded at times, I
would assess my overall skills to be very strong, as I am able to set up thoughts and ideas and then
finalize them with strong effect.
My progression during this semester is apparent to me when I reflect on the subject material
that I wrote about. My first essay was very easy to write as the only source I needed to draw from was
me. Writing about my own experiences allowed me great freedom in the content and style of writing. I
used to write a lot in my journal in my younger years and writing the first essay felt a lot like that,
making the process easy. My third essay was about a very difficult subject to write on, but one that I am
very interested in. In contrast to my Influences essay, I had to tailor a lot of my writing to the few
sources I could find on the subject. This essay was, by far, the hardest essay in terms of forming and
completing thoughts. However, I feel my writing skills were forced to grow because the topic and
sources were so troublesome for me. My fourth essay wasn't nearly as difficult as my third. Prison and
the justice system are topics often brought up during talks in my personal life, so I felt I had a good
amount of my own knowledge to draw from. There were many sources on both sides of the subject,
which also made it easier. Instead, however, of taking an easy path on a subject that wasn't difficult for
me, I chose to really work on the structure of my essay and transitioning between thoughts in a way
that helped support the main idea of the essay. I feel my fourth essay was my best work, which displays
the progression I have made as a writer during this semester.
Another strength that became stronger throughout the semester was my delivery. I feel one of
my greatest writing strengths is delivering my message with power and gusto. Delivering a hard-hitting
sentence was somewhat difficult in the argumentative essay, as I had to remain subjective on the topic.
However, I discovered that I could let my sources do my talking for me if I set them up properly. An
example of this is when I mention that proponents of prison privatization suggest that prisoner quality
of life and rehabilitation inside these institutions is superior to government-run prisons. This establishes
an opposing opinion and is thought-provoking for the reader. However, in the following sentences I

allow my sources to explain that private prisons admit that their business model is high recidivism and
cutting many important expenses, resulting in sub-standard treatment. This effective use a setup and
delivery, thereby, destroys the counterargument while supporting my position.
Aside from the above-mentioned improvements, I also learned additional techniques to bolster
my writing skills. For instance, the use of anecdotes in a cold opening to essays proved to be a
refreshing, new way of conveying information and setting tone. Transitions and concluding thoughts
effectively were also strengthened over the course of the semester. Ending essays has always been my
least favorite part about writing. However, learning to use the thesis at the end of the introductory
paragraph in order to transition to the rest of the paper was an effective method of improving this
deficiency of mine. Rarely have I ever felt satisfied with the final sentence of an essay. Once again,
referring back to the thesis during the conclusion made finalizing my thoughts much easier, as the
words themselves seemed to have a tone that indicated wrapping up.
In conclusion, this semester has exposed weaknesses of mine and provided me with the tools
necessary for strengthening them.