First, a little clarification. The paragraphs that follow this one will eventually make up my final essay for this class—a narrative of my evolution as a writer. For now, they are mere first thoughts on the topic, and therefore may not seem as developed as one (aka me) would hope.
Who am I as a writer? Woah, what a loaded question (and very existential I might add). First I feel like I have to figure out who I am as a person before I decide who I am as a writer. And I feel like we never stop learning about ourselves, so does that mean that we’re always developing as writer?
This idea takes me back to my first essay for this class (Why I Write). I spoke briefly about how the education system teaches us how to evolve as writers, starting with learning the alphabet. After the alphabet comes stringing sentences together, then answering the five W’s (and one H), and then paragraphs. Quickly following, we learned about structured paragraphs, thesis statements, five paragraph essays, research papers, journalistic pieces, free form writing, and now in the 21st century, alternative and new media writing. In a sense, we’ve always had a structure to our writing.
Even in college, the writing has been structured. We know what professors like what (a one sentence thesis vs. a two sentence thesis) and we know how to play into the grade game (what will get me the best way). In a way, we forget about writing to write, and we write what we know will please our professors. The writing that I’ve done in this class differs than other writing I’ve done in college because it’s not purely academic. It allows for a lot more room for creativity, innovation and independence. I haven’t had to follow a format (i.e. thesis statement, 5 paragraphs, research paper), which allows me to refrain from being tied down to a certain type of essay. In addition, the tone has changed, as I’m allowed to be more open and honest with my writing.
As my writing is shifting, and I’m gaining much more independence, I’m trying to think how this is symbolic in my life. As I’ve aged and gone through the education system, I’ve gained a lot more independence. As I learned more skills, my professors have trusted me to play around with what I have. Even thinking back to English 125, my professor always gave us a clear distinction of what he wanted. Now, my professors purposely don’t tell me, so that we have the ability to produce what we feel is important. This relates to my life because as I progress, I grow more independent. Pretty soon, I will be done with my formal education (for now), and I won’t be tied down to a “system.” Therefore, I will lose all formal structure and have to start again.
It’s kind of a scary thought—having to start all over again. But it really isn’t starting again. It’s taking what we’ve learned and applying it to new experiences. It’s not like we become clean slates. We now have so much more knowledge to add. Kind of scary, but also liberating.