First Phase: Master Program
I have been wrestling with my writing journey since I started my master’s degree program at Monash University. The moment when I realized how hard it was to write academic papers. I could say I was learning through my experiences of readings of journal articles and reading some of the previous assignments from senior students as the sample to structure our writing. Writing becomes very complex and perplexing because I did not know my exact issues for my writing. Would it be my grammar, lexicons, or even the process of synthesizing my ideas? Every time I got long comments as the feedbacks of my papers, I felt that some professors paid attentions more to my contents (organizations and critical analysis) while other would point my grammatical errors directly. Still, this process didn’t help much to nurture and train me as an L2 writer. I felt my writing always missed puzzle pieces, which I never knew at that time. I had to admit once I got a chance to write my master thesis and experienced crafting my writing. My international professor was aware that I would find a hard time to write my thesis in the short period of time so after finishing up my draft, she assigned me the professional proofreader to help me with the clarity of my language. My proofreader was so helpful with my thesis. At this stakes, I had mixed feelings like two sides of the same coin: a pride and skepticism about my expertise in writing. How far I have gone through this process of writing that can be seen in my writing.
Second Phase: Random publications
I became active to write and attend international conferences in Indonesia and Malaysia. My articles were published in the proceedings, and some local journals. I felt braver after writing my thesis, but I admitted that I was so excited to write something, to do research, to explore any issues that could initiate ideas for writing and so on but I did not realize that academic writing was incredibly complex (No wonder how difficult to publish in Academic journals). It’s not only a matter your content or language styles, but it is about your critical thinking.Yep, they way you critically reasoning issues. This is not a natural gift particularly when you are an L2 writer, but this writing and critical thinking skills should be learned in informal educations. Looking back all my writings, I felt somehow I successfully walk two steps ahead by challenging myself to do research and write something as a product of my analysis. But I was aware that my research articles were published in proceedings and local journal which basically appropriated those L2 writings (Read: Or they just accepted them without any complicated process of proofreading) But I felt I move one-step backward by downgrading the difficulty and complexity of academic writings.
Third Phase: Writing course papers/QP Candidacy
I was struck by the critiques from my professors and my classmates when they talked about the flow of formatting papers, my voice (what the heck was that?), my grammatical issues (the use of articles, choices of words, etc.). Still, I felt became more deficient because I still felt that I could push myself to work harder to fix my writing but I still made the same mistakes. My “aha” moment finally came when I worked with my candidacy paper and had the one-to-one meeting with my tutor like three times a week for a month. He gave me so many useful suggestions, comments, and critiques. He became my good reader for helping me to boost the clarity in my writing by helping me to put my voice (I have finally understood it, will explain in my other articles). Basically, he helped me to discover my potentials: the flow of thinking and put it in a systematical way. I think my journey is getting tougher somehow, but at least now I enjoy writing better and even have a blog as a part of expressing myself “yeah!” and practicing my writing. I guess, somehow I keep finding another missing piece of my writing journey puzzle.. slowly but sure… I can make it!