I have never written in a traditional way. I follow whatever format is required of me for an assignment, but I would always interject my own style. As much as I would like to think my writing style was unique and different, it was also very formulaic when it came to academic writing. In most writing classes, the expected essay style is a five paragraph essay with an argument and examples to back the argument up. I got to the point where I had an exact style to my five paragraph essay: thought captivating, serious intro; funny punch line/ humorous take on the argument; serious follow up to previous paragraphs; then finally a conclusion with a casual tone. I mastered this formula, as it always gave me good results.
This class has challenged me to step away from this formula. I was able to do whatever I wanted. I could have easily just kept with my formula- that would have been easy enough. Instead, I decided to explore different kinds of writing I hadn’t done before. This led me to write a real-time play by play of my thoughts when I am writing and attempt to write a children’s book. Even the blog posts we wrote expanded my writing realm.
Since experimenting in these new forms of writing, I have to ask myself, what has changed? The easy answer is my creativity. I never would have thought to write a children’s book before this class. Just coming up with the idea to write a children’s book was a burst of creativity for me. This was something else I gained from all of the writing we did in this class- willingness to try something new. I remember getting the first prompt—I knew I could just go the traditional route and write one of my formulaic essays. But when we were told to try something new and not be afraid of failing, I felt like the way I could get the most out of this class was to do something way out of my comfort zone. That was how I wrote about what goes on in my head before I write. I had to use dialogue and I had to describe the situation, both things that I never had to do in my five paragraph essays.
One of the most difficult journeys I have had with these papers was with my confidence. I would love to say that everything was better after challenging myself and coming up with coherent pieces. Instead, it has actually made my confidence level rise and fall multiple times. Of course my confidence level rose when people told me they really enjoyed what I wrote when I felt so vulnerable with my attempt at writing something new. But, I never felt like I got any of them to be perfect. When it comes to my writing, I never seem to be happy with it unless it is perfect. I’m actually not a perfectionist in anything else but my writing. Since the class was so fast-paced and we got many of the assignments back to back, I felt like I had to settle with good enough and I never had the time to make my writing perfect. Although this made my confidence level drop, it was probably a good thing, too. I have learned to see the good in what I’ve done and I’ve stopped focusing on what isn’t perfect about my writing. I shouldn’t be embarrassed by my writing, even if it isn’t perfect. After all, the best writers out there didn’t start out with a perfect draft—that’s what editing is for!