Academic writing presents an avenue where a student expresses his or her understanding of a particular discipline. Moreover, successful academic writing depends on the ability to handle the task at hand, which forms the backbone of the writing exercise. Besides, there is a need to ensure that one utilizes the right approach since this is the channel used to express the arguments. However, the ability to engage in a successful academic writing activity greatly depends on one’s aptitude to realize that academic writing is an argument and that the “how” and “why” arguments should be the dominant components thus making academic writing a matter of analysis.
Due to my high command of Chinese, writing in this language is simpler and richer in the wording and communication captures the perspective in a holistic manner. However, the experience has been totally different while writing in English. I had to learn the meaning of different words in the line of interconnecting them to pass on my analysis in written communication. Moreover, the difficulty of writing in English is also brought out by the challenge of identifying the context upon which a word can be utilized especially when it comes to synonyms. Besides, in English, there are the words with the same spelling but different meaning based on the context; a good example being the word “train”, it can refer to a locomotive or a verb where new skills are instilled in people. Learning these new parameters makes writing in English a whole new experience.
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Most of the time, I engage in writing assignments where there are specific techniques and purpose the essay fulfills. In these assignments, the primary intention is to perform a personalized analysis on the insights learned after a particular topic in a specific discipline. On the contrary, during the early days as a junior and a Chinese native, it was difficult to write in English, and this was the main reason why I did not write much.
I faced a huge challenge at the beginning since learning a new language entailed understanding the words and interrelating them to make a coherent sentence that is both relevant and properly constructed. Moreover, another negative experience I had in this new language was based on the myth of a perfect draft where “We put unrealistic expectations on early drafts, either by focusing too much on the impossible task of making them perfect” (Irvin 4). Moreover, in the beginning, the quality of writing was also highly compromised since it was greatly influenced by what Bunn terms as information oriented reading, where one engages in information-oriented reading and the only take from the text is usually the face value (Bunn 74). What follows is that the resultant writing lacks clarity and diversity of the techniques utilized by the writer of the text in question. Combining the challenge of facing a new language and utilizing the “normal” way of reading form the factors behind the challenges I have encountered in writing.
However, with the guidance from English lessons and constant reading of aiding materials and the continued exposure to the English language as a third-year student, I started to demonstrate considerable progress in writing regarding the level of quality. This is a phenomenon supported by Irvin, whose argument is that quality of any writing is heavily influenced by the level of understanding of the content at hand (3). Besides, through supportive reading materials, I was able to identify the crucial components of a successful essay in the common genre I write as the following; an introduction with thesis statement, body and a conclusion (Irvin 9, 15-16). It is evident that in academic learning, constant learning and improvement is limitless. Thus, conspicuous success in my writing placed it on a more informed level leading to a more in-depth analysis of the assigned texts.
What has been fascinating in this journey of writing is improved understanding of the impact of wording by various authors. This is especially true due to better comprehension of different words that have the same meaning but make a different effect on the reader known as synonyms. In many of the authors’ works, there is usually an intentional use of words to make the intended impact (Bunn 72). As a good reader, I agree that “The goal is to carefully consider the choices the author made and the techniques that he or she used, and then decide whether you want to make those same choices or use those same techniques in your own writing” (Bunn 73). Moreover, understanding the author’s word choice and technique is crucial to understanding the primary purpose of the content. This is due to the use of various wording techniques, which affects the nature of the language used in written communication and this is absolutely in line with the intended impact of the text on the targeted audience. This form of reading is inspired by “reading like a writer” concept where the demand in any reading is to dig deeper into understanding more than the information and to pay attention to the finer details like techniques and word choice and their potential impact on the readers (Bunn 73). It is these intertwined twists that I have learned to appreciate that provide a better understanding of various reading material.
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Combined improved understanding of the English language, an improved manner of analyzing different texts and diversified purpose of reading has led to an increased interest in writing. Moreover, this awakened interest has also been the result of the improved command of English with regard to how to make the transition from one idea to another in the analysis. Most of the academic writing unless advised otherwise requires demonstrating understanding of a particular topic through an analysis and not a summary (Irvin 10). Mastering these different parameters while writing enables one to facilitate improved engagement in writing thus aiding in stimulating interest in academic writing.
It is evident that quality in academic writing depends on more than the face value information of any given text. Moreover, it is clear that there is a need to understand the author’s word choice and techniques since they play a significant role in the composition of a high-quality essay. Through the detailed analysis of my writing experience, it is evident that attaining an improved academic level of writing demands utilization of the “reading like a writer” approach where one captures deeper characteristics in the written communication that outline the author’s purpose, which helps one to come up with a detailed and topic-specific analysis.