Tracking the Progress: A Writing Reflection


Even as I am writing this, I cannot help thinking how hard it is to be impassive with one’s own work. Some people are too much in love with themselves to take critique, much less be the source of this critique. Some people are their own strictest accusers and judges. It seems that to adequately reflect on one’s own work, one has to balance self-criticism with a healthy amount of ego, which is not as easy as it sounds – but I will try my best.

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During the semester, I have worked on a variety of writing formats. The most obvious outcome of such practice is that I feel more at ease with my writing than I used to. Overall, although there is plenty of space to further work on, I can say my writing has improved: the experience that I had in structuring, processing information, and singling out what is important, and analyzing what has been processed is hard to overestimate.

Main body

Writing essays is something a person is taught at school. Everyone knows what their typical essay structure should look like: introduction, some paragraphs of the body, and conclusion. Everyone knows what a thesis statement is. Everyone – possibly – has at least some idea of what kind of essays there are and how their structure varies depending on the essay type. One can say it is relatively easy to put one’s thoughts together when one has a couple of pages to write. With bigger essays, things are more complicated. The argumentative essay on Proactiv’s marketing strategy I wrote was quite a challenge. With everything I had to say, I also had to think about how to keep the structure intact; in this respect, I seem to have had some problems with paragraphs, but I am working on it (“Proactiv Advertisement Strategies” n.pag.).

Another work of mine was a literature review, which has become quite an experience in several respects. Of course, when one has to write literature reviews, one has to mind the style, avoid bias and judgment, which is important. More important for me, however, is the structural component of reviewing the literature. Having completed the review, I came to realize that I am actually capable of seeing the structure in practically any piece of writing. I can read through the abstracts to get to the essence of the works and scan the contents to effectively single out where the value of this or that work lies. Seeing the structure in other people’s writing seems to have helped me pay more attention to my own and not let my thoughts drift away from the original idea (“Literature Review: Proactiv”).

Another skill that every scholar should master is reading other people’s research and filter the most important points. The mechanisms of it, I believe, have much to do with logic and invoke the scholar’s deductive, inductive, and dialectical thinking. Whether the scholar goes from general to specific or vice versa, the theories that they read can be evaluated and used to explain the existing experience, broaden it, and provoke further speculations (Walton 38). Working on my literature review, I have come to acknowledge the importance of this skill. It requires not only the ability to read texts of any complexity but also comprehends and disjoint them to articulate the essence. In my literature review, a passage runs as follows:

In contrast to the website, a range of independent dermatological reviews were conducted to assess the quality of the product, not to advertise. One such review analyses the ingredients used and asserts that the use of benzoyl peroxide is effective, although it can cause skin reactions in some cases (Burkhart and Burkhart 90). Also, the study suggested that Proactiv products could be improved by using amines together with benzoyl peroxide. Such a project has been launched and the treatment even was patented, which by no means shattered the popularity of the Proactiv brand. (“Literature Review” 1-2)

Not mentioning the fact that I have learned to convey the essence of specialized articles in several sentences as per the space requirements, I have also learned to deduce from them. From the article I have reviewed in this passage, for example, I singled out some important points: medical research established that the product was potentially dangerous for some customers; there are ways to optimize the product and somehow mitigate the possible damage; even the impassive medical study recognizes the ever-so-penetrative advertisement techniques. Reflecting on my writing retrospectively, I suppose now I am considerably better at filtering than I have ever been.

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Another aspect that I consider my achievement is analyzing what I have logically derived from the readings and put it into writing, keeping in mind the structure, format, and style. Generating evidence-based ideas and creating something unique is a natural part of the learning process and a valuable practical skill; during this semester, I have had an opportunity to hone it. In this respect, all my works have contributed to the skill. There is a passage in my argumentative essay that runs as follows: “The idea that some people can be just as happy with their acne is quite out of the question: the ads’ goal is to persuade the consumers to take action, that is, to make them feel ugly enough to take action” (“Proactiv Advertisement Strategies” 10). As a matter of fact, in scholarly writing, no statement can be made out of nothing, which is why it is so critical to base the arguments on evidence. Therefore, to come to this assumption, I have processed quite an amount of material: adverts, testimonials, articles on the pathos of advertising and the hidden messages of it, etc., which helped me practice the skill of critically analyzing and basing my arguments on logically derived evidence.


Some might say that reading, processing, and using what has been processed in one’s writing is a natural part of the learning process. I would say there is still something of a marvel in it. As I look back to what I have experienced this semester, I realize I still have a lot to work on. At times, I may be not as concise and organized as I wish I were. On the other hand, this semester helped me acknowledge my weak points and practice the parts of writing that I consider essential: structuring, filtering, logical derivation, and analysis. I have learned to stick to the structure and am working on smoothing out my thought flow; I have learned to single out what is crucial and process texts of any complexity; finally, I have learned to base my ideas on evidence from a multitude of sources, which probably makes me a better writer and almost certainly a better and more experienced scholar.

Works Cited

Burkhart, Craig G., and Craig N. Burkhart. “Treatment of acne vulgaris without antibiotics: tertiary amine–benzoyl peroxide combination vs. benzoyl peroxide alone (Proactiv Solution™).” International Journal of Dermatology 46.1 (2007): 89-93. Print.

Last Name, First Name. “Literature Review: Proactiv.” Literature Review. English 103, 2016. Print.

Last Name, First Name. “Proactiv Advertisement Strategies: The Power of Star Light.”

Argumentative Essay. English 103, Day Month, 2016. Print.

Walton, Douglas N. “Finding the Logic in Argumentation.” Inside Arguments: Logic and the Study of Argumentation. Ed. Henrique Jales Ribeiro. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012. 37-57. Print.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Tracking the Progress: A Writing Reflection'. 14 May.

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