I am still trying to figure out why I have this urge inside of me to write down what I’m thinking. It isn’t a characteristic that everyone has, even though it is a talent that anyone could learn. I just have this will to write, to express my ideas, to communicate with others, and inspire people. At the same time, I usually end up inspiring myself. My incredibly talented friend Brittany summed it up perfectly, and I love how our writing souls are so in tune with each other. I encourage each of you to write more, whether it's for yourself or for the world. I hope you discover an amazing outlet like I have.
Writing is a funny thing. It’s a simple form of communication that has the power to reach into someone’s life and influence it. It’s a way to tell a story, to get a point across, and to express yourself. Chances are, you’ve written something at some point in your life. Whether it was a research paper, email, poem, or personal memoir, writing is a pillar of education that everyone who is lucky enough experiences. However, there is a big difference between writing out of necessity and writing on a whim of inspiration. We all have the tools to write, but few have the self-motivation to use them. There was once a time in the world when writing was revolutionary, an astounding development in human culture. It was a privilege to know how to write and how to transcribe your ideas so that they could be reached by others. Today, so many people overlook the worth of writing. What are we afraid of?
My self-esteem as a writer has never been very high. I am passionate about writing, but I’m never really sure if other people enjoy what I have to say. For the 13 years I was in grade school, I turned in several writing pieces that I was proud of. However, I and many other students became crushed when papers were returned covered in red ink. Majority of the time, it was grammar or punctuation errors. But sometimes, it was a suggestion of ‘better word choice’ or ‘rework this sentence.’ The words and ideas that felt so good to write become ugly in the face of criticism.
I can think back to being in school and how much I disliked writing. Writing school assignments was rarely fun for me, despite how much I love creative writing. It wasn’t until a recent conversation with my high school swim coach, Chris Haon, that I realized why writing assignments were a source of stress for me. He is also a second grade teacher, and is currently working on his thesis for his Masters degree. He has been following my blog and asked if we could talk about my insights on the writing process, a curriculum he dreads teaching. So, I began to think as to why students are less open to writing when it comes to school assignments. The most probable reason; the grading process.
It is a difficult thing to teach someone to be creative in a structured manner. Writing is such a hypocrisy at times; there are endless possibilities of creative material, yet in order for the message to be communicated effectively, it must follow the standard guidelines of grammar, syntax, vocabulary and linguistics. In some ways, this restricts creative expression. It stifles inspiration. It takes the fun out of it. It trumps the ideas of the human imagination, which can be very disheartening to a young student. I know this because it happened to me on multiple occasions.
I truly feel that writing is a study that is subjective, individualized, and personal. It is a type of art. And, while criticism is necessary to become stronger and more skilled, there may be a better editing method out there for young kids. The minds of kids develop at different rates, and writing effectively requires abstract thinking. Instead of emphasizing only the writing process, it may be helpful to students to do creative or inspirational exercises that encourage new ways of thinking.
It may not surprise some of you that the purpose of my blog is self-expression. I am sure that I am my own biggest reader, and I enjoy reading my writing. I love sifting through my archives to read (and sometimes edit) older posts. For the most part, an audience of one is good enough for me. If I consider other people too much while I’m writing, it becomes a stress inducing process rather than a stress relieving process. I don’t know why I care so much what other people think, but writing is definitely an area where I feel most self-conscious. It takes courage for me to author this blog and put my ideas out there. It’s important to me to be a real person and write as the person I know I am. If I’m happy with something I wrote, the fact that other’s may like it is just an added bonus. While it feels good when I have success in reaching out to teach someone new things, share my experiences, or inspire them with my words, I can’t force anyone to like my writing. I am unwilling to change my style to idealize myself in someone else’s eyes. Writing is about being true to yourself, even it that means you’re the only one who enjoys reading the result.
Writer, stargazer, believer in human beings. Die-hard rock and roller with an insatiable urge to dance my way through life.