Interview and Personal Reflection
It’s 11 AM, and I’m walking out of my Writing 100 class with a new assignment in mind—an interview with someone in close relations with me. My first impression? Easy-peasy. Clearly, it’s going to be with my best friend Nenna—what’s that? It has to be about my writing skills? Oh just kidding, it can still be Nenna, English class is what brought us together that fateful day four years ago…I wave to my classmate and continue the trek back to my dorm. Deciding to be efficient, I pull out my phone and start texting, “Hayy gurl, can you… DO AN INTERVIEW WITH ME THIS WEEKEND/EARLIER?” I figure the caps-locked words would get her attention, so I lock my screen and pad along the sidewalk. A muffled double-vibration sounds and I check my phone; she asked for a time. I respond with, “ASAP, but only if you have time.” She agrees and I send a quick ‘thank you’. With the easy part of my assignment done, I start making the interview questions.
After finishing my questions, I e-mail them to her after she contacted me again that she did not have time to Skype for the interview, but still wanted to help. A day later, I open up the email with my questions and her answers as follows:
1. Holistically, what do you think of me as a writer?
- Holistically, I think you’re a great writer. You answer every part of the prompt completely and provide cited evidence that allows for flow in the paper.
2. What are my strengths and weaknesses?
- Citing sources in your paragraphs as well as sounding eloquent for the appropriate audience are the key strengths I see. There aren’t many weaknesses, besides doubting yourself as a great writer, but I feel you could add a bit more personality to your less formal pieces of work so the reader can become more immersed in your paper.
3. What do you think of me as an analytical reader?
- As an analytic reader, I feel you excel. Breaking subject matter into its various components and creating in-depth analyses is one of your strong suits.
4. Do I incorporate what I find into my writing and do I do it well?
- You certainly incorporate the information you’ve derived into your writings and you do it in a way that flows well and makes sense in context with the paper. Yes you do it well, almost second nature due to your experience with citing resources.
5. How well is my writing organized?
- Your writing is generally organized and easy to follow. Occasionally you can stray from the paragraph’s topic, but you always bring it back to the point.
6. Am I able to articulate what I want to say?
- In most cases, I believe that your thought process and ideas translate well into your writings. Once again, I feel a bit more personality in your work could enhance that experience.
7. Does my writing provide a direction for an argument?
- If the paper is in the persuasive category, you approach the argument from both necessary angles: the side of your opinion with evidence, and the opposing side with evidence to disprove it with straight-to-the-point examples.
8. Is my writing effective?
- Yes, your writing is effective. It is structured well and provides the reader with an easy to navigate paper in which your ideas are accurately expressed and justified.
When reviewing the answers given, they were about what I expected since I’ve had a similar conversation about my writing with her during our previous English class. With question 1, I agree with her about me generally being a good writer holistically. Overall, I do believe I include all points of a prompt and I try to spend more time on transitions to create the easy flow in a paper.
For question 2 about my strengths and weaknesses, I agree with Nenna about my citing and vocabulary since I have taken extra time in classes to improve those areas of my writing. However for the weaknesses, I agree and disagree: for the varying degrees of formality in papers, I usually take on a standard formal tone unless the assignment states otherwise (i.e. the introduction to this essay, I added a bit of voice in my narration). I try to avoid adding a bit of my own voice into the essay because the piece usually turns out opinionated when it’s not supposed to be. On the other hand, I can agree that in the pieces that I do add tone, sometimes the point is articulated clearer.
As an analytical reader, I agree with her answer. In middle school, I was specifically taught to look under the surface for deeper meanings, not just “the tip of the iceberg”. However, connected with question 4, I do not agree that I incorporate my analyses well into a writing format. When I ask the teacher for further feedback on my writing, he comments that the information I’ve gathered is excellent, but translating it over makes it lose some of its effectiveness or I portray it in a way that makes the point unclear.
In organizing my essays, I am inclined to disagree with my friend because most of my constructive criticism deals with the organization of my writing. Sometimes, with the correct organization, my writing could become even more effective and could confuse the reader less. I find that this problem occurs more often in my formal pieces rather than fictional writing I do in my free time. I do agree that I can go off-topic when my stream of consciousness goes out of control, but I usually find myself reining it back in. Over the summer, I read a fictional work that inspired me to keep my writing simplistic and clean. From then on, I would write full out and go back to edit out all the superfluous adjectives or unnecessary sentences. Hopefully this year, I can expand upon that even more.
For articulation, I agree because when I’m passionate about a subject, I argue my point well and I take both sides of the argument and disprove the one that doesn’t agree with mine. Like Nenna said, if I added some more voice, I may provide a better direction for my arguments. The only downside is that whenever I add voice, I tend to digress from the original point until I realize it and bring it back. The main problem would be that I transition even when I’m going off topic, so once I delete the unnecessary part, I’m left with an awkward gap between two subjects. So with this year, I’ll try and work on staying on task with a subject I enjoy to avoid any more abrupt changes in tone.
As the last question, I agree that my writing can be effective at times. The most effective essays I write I find to be when I am immersed in writing and I am driven to finish it at any cost. However, the times when I write a piece like that are rare (or whenever I write fiction in my free time, I never find time to sit down and write for hours on hand) so most of my works are average in effectiveness. On this aspect of my writing, I hope to focus on adding emotion, but keeping it formal to increase the impact my writing could have on the reader.