Who Am I?

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.

One thought to “Who Am I?”

  1. Sara,

    This is a great start to your final essay. I found myself nodding along to the way in which you eloquently described your, and many of ours, relationship to writing as a system. You could even go as so far as to say that grammar is completely destructed, yet we still have people who debate whether or not we should use the Oxford comma like it’s THAT important.
    Like you, I am really thankful that later in college we get to shed the system and write for what’s important to us, like you said. I think writing as a system catches so much flack because we are forced to do with, but no other option but to succumb to the demands of our teacher who control our grades. This is the main reason why kids develop apathy or hate toward writing. It’s not because they’re bad writers, rather, they’ve just never had the opportunity to write in the style and form that’s best for them.
    There is some reason to establish a system, however, especially with modes like the 5-paragraph essay and research paper. It teaches kids how to support your ideas and the standard flow at which to do that at. But, like you mentioned, now that we’re older we can adapt what we most like about writing and its structures and use it as our own.
    Good luck with developing this piece! I’m excited to see how it turns out in the final version on your eport.

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