Moon (2004) points out that we can both reflect in order to learn something and we can learn as a result of reflecting. Reflective writing is the expression on paper of reflective thinking. In reflective writing, we shape and model the content of our reflective thinking according to many influences. According to Moon (2004) factors that could shape your reflective thinking into reflective writing may include:
- the reason why you are writing reflectively (personal reasons, e.g., in a diary, a letter or for academic purposes)
- whether others are going to see what you have written and who those people are (e.g., no-one else; a tutor who will mark/not mark it, friends.)
- your emotional state at the time of writing, and your emotional reaction
to what you are writing (e.g., a disturbing experience that you may not want to
reflect on, or something you did well and want to enjoy in the reflection process, or something you are puzzled over and want to explore further).
Of course, there are different levels of reflective writing ranging from pure description to critical reflection.