According to my instructor’s grades and comments, I did fairly well on my first essay titled, “The Definition of Service.” However, there is always room to improve in the world of writing. By digesting feedback from my professor, and taking time for self- reflection on my assignments, I have created a plan to improve upon my future writing assignments.
In my feedback, I had several of my strengths pointed out. One of these strengths was my ability to really convey through words some solid examples of what I thought about my chosen word, “service.” I was able to do this by illustrating specific examples of how I have given service in my life, and highlighting two main organizations whose founders embody the spirit of service. Another strength that was mentioned was the way in which I reflected on the “meaning and significance” of the word I chose to define as my conclusion to the essay. By doing so, I believe one can really string together all of the different moving parts of an essay into one final thought that really summarizes what the topic was all about.
In addition to my strengths, a few areas of improvement were pointed out to me as well. One area in which I could improve would be to use more “emotional and physical descriptions” to capture the reader. This is important because we as writers may care a great deal about our topic, but we need to be able to show – not tell – the reader why they should care too. If we are not descriptive in our writing, the reader may become bored by our piece and not bother to read past the first paragraph or two. One way that I could make my writing more vibrant for the reader would be to access a thesaurus to change more ordinary words into descriptive, eye-catching words. For example, instead of saying something like, “The girl was always very happy and upbeat,” we could say, “Sharon had a very effervescent personality.”
One resource that I mentioned previously that could help me in my pursuit of more descriptive writing is a thesaurus. While I don’t actually own a hard copy of a thesaurus, with today’s development of technology, almost anything can be found digitally. Through my research, I located a website called Thesaurus.com, which is an online thesaurus that you can use by entering your word and getting suggestions on a better, more descriptive synonym to use. I have been practicing with this tool by typing in words that I notice I use commonly in my writing, as well as my every day life. I then try to pick a more exciting synonym to use, and I practice using that in my vocabulary each day.
Another resource I found was through the Purdue Online Writing Lab’s website (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/685/03/). They have an excellent article about what descriptive essays are, as well as a simple, to-the-point breakdown of how to be more descriptive in the writing process. I especially will use their bullet about choosing vivid language, as emphasizing words really draw a reader in and may even cause the reader who looks up an unknown word to have an educational experience of their own. I am trying to read more, and look up a word if I don’t know it instead of just skipping over it and continuing on. By doing so, I am able to broaden my vocabulary, which in turn will come through in my writing.