Well, you aren’t the best writer…
I used to write stories; silly stories about my stuffed animals. I used to read them to my classmates at the close of the day. I used to devour books; regardless of whether I was in search of inspiration for the next chapter of my book, or if I was wildly interested in the topic. I used to come to the creative writing club. I used to enjoy reading. I used to love writing.
The aforesaid italicized phrase robbed me of those joys. It haunts and hinders my writing ability, as I have heard it several times, both explicitly and covertly; from family and teachers. Rhetorical writing and I have not, recently, had the most comfortable of affiliations, as high school Advanced Placement teachers tore apart my essays and graded them lowly. For this reason, I dreaded the general education requirement to take Critical Reading and Writing, for I knew that the confidence in my rhetorical writing abilities was quite low. I knew that college professor were much different from high school teachers, yet I expected the same boring assignments from eleventh grade, and I expected the harshest of failures. Yet, as the semester progressed, I was able to revitalize the joy I once felt in writing.
My expectations were crushed, however, as my writing professor encouraged creativity, unlike my previous high school teachers, who desired conformity. I was given an opportunity to inject my voice and personality into my works. I was allowed to choose a topic of which I wanted to research, whereas I previously was forced to stay within the specified borders. We were not graded based upon subjective parameters such as the likability of the topic or the student, but on objective ones, such as the quality of writing. I was encouraged to reach beyond the surface of our thoughts, and to expand. I was required to get feedback from both peers and from the professor herself; to not rely on myself. Writing transformed from chore to cherished.
The most creative and beautiful of works are poetic; are like music.
Creativity. How I adore that magical word, for it was not the impotent thoughts, but the inventive ones that are responsible for the best authors and writers. It is the distinctive viewpoints on situations that invokes change. This creative handle, if done well, is like a cellist playing alone in an echoic concert hall. It is simply lovely and jaw dropping. Creativity harbors beauty. My obsession with creativity caused favor towards the first two essays, in which I could derive my writing from within. I wrote of comedic instances, like how I came to read my first chapter book, and what the story says about my personality. I wrote of nostalgic instances, like where I harvested my homesickness and formed it into a reflection on the value of home. I wrote about all that mattered to me. I took seemingly boring topics and brought them to life with figurative language and poetic style.
Good writing comes from the heart.
Exemplary writing has so much passion behind it—this I also learned. Previously, I had no emotional connection to my writings, as topics were forced upon me; I had no desire to turn the letters I scripted onto my paper into a beautiful painted canvas; into artwork. Yet, the care of which I took for my essays mattered in this writing class. I wanted to create art; a paper that one could read over and over and still enjoy it just as much. I wanted to open my soul and paint the canvas with my passion, my joyous laughter, my heartbroken tears. I wanted to evince genuine vulnerability and my full reliance on my faith in God. Perhaps I was, at last, having fun in writing class, or maybe it was maturity; I am not quite sure. What is certain, however, is that I yielded results far beyond expectation. It was the heartfelt nature of my writing that earned the grades and compliments it received.
Research papers are not boring.
Just as babies desire care, so research papers require passion. There must be excitement for the topic, and then perseverance to write the essay. I was directed to write a “Lie, Myth, or Misconception” essay about a desired topic. This feat was not easy, for topics are everywhere, and it is difficult to target a creative, yet engaging topic. Perhaps this is a positive trait of high school classes: the vast river of ideas is narrowed to a mere stream. I knew that the topic had to be personal to me, so I began with the idea of disproving anorexia within classical ballerinas, as I have lived with the stereotype for years, but, the topic lacked the appropriate evidence, so I was compelled to search for another topic. I landed in the world of science and theology, and decided upon a highly theological, scientifically backed topic that challenged the calculation of the age of the earth. The first, most difficult, task was collecting the appropriate and relevant evidence to support my claims, for it required overwhelming amounts of time—an element that I did not have—and a careful, critical eye. Each piece of evidence had to be dissected in order to effectively incorporate it into the paper, yet, it had to be in context with the original paper. The relevant information was organized into an annotated bibliography and graded. Then, the paper was written. Before writing the essay, I feared the idea of being able to write ten pages of engaging information; I have never before written three—almost four—thousand words and, most importantly, been able to take all of those words and connect them to every paragraph. However, I found myself struggling to keep the research essay between the required seven to ten pages; I had much more to say than I thought I did. I found that research essays aren’t supposed to be a burdensome, monotonous paper of nothingness, but an exciting, passion-filled project.
Multimodal elements are imperative to twenty-first century writing.
As aforementioned, I have always enjoyed being creative. The opportunity to exercise my creative abilities was introduced with the first essay, where I created a video blog pertaining to my topic. I was given plenty of freedom in our representation of our topic for all of the projects; they had to fit within very loose boundaries, such as an interactive map for the second essay and a podcast for the third. I believe that the multimodal element of each project was necessary to my enjoyment of each assignment, although, at first glance, I saw it as extra work.
Writing is actually quite fun. That phrase I did not consider on January ninth, but I willingly embrace it now, as my maturity regarding writing and in school in general has grown. My accomplishments in this class alone is countless, as I have rekindled the joy that I once had. This is invaluable. This, alone, made writing class into a blessing rather than a burden. I have blossomed from a traumatized, incapable writer into a creative, confident poet.
Thank you, WRTC 103.