Moon (2004) helps us out by outlining what reflective writing is not. She says, ‘It is NOT:
- conveyance of information, instruction or argument in a report, essay or 'recipe';
- straightforward description, though there may be descriptive elements;
- a straightforward decision, e.g., about whether something is right or wrong, good or bad, etc.;
- simple problem solving like recalling how to get to the nearest station.
Hint: This is a very personal form of writing it is expected that you will write in the first person, using ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘my’.
As your reflective writing will include an analysis of your ideas, feelings, behaviour and knowledge, it may not always appear to as be clear-cut or ordered as other forms of academic writing. Take a look at this example of a student in nursing's reflection.
However, reflective writing will often help you to clarify your thoughts and it is expected that by the time you reach the Action Plan stage of the reflective practice cycle (stage 4), your writing will be well-organised.
To gauge what good reflective writing looks like, download this example from International Management, Ethics and Values. Now have a look at an example that failed to meet the assessment for this course.
In addition, reflective writing will sometimes help you to clarify things in your life, such as the career direction that you might take.
Before you attempt Activity 3, consider some different ways to start writing and to keep track of your writing.