Answering Questions & Asking New Ones

In preparation for our evolution essay projects, out class brainstormed how we write, what type of writers we are, and what we hope to accomplish with our projects. I finally started seriously thinking about my essay, and looking at myself as a writer. We’ve all written the “Why I Write” paper in the gateway course last year, but now we have the chance to evaluate how our reasons for writing and unique writing styles can be really malleable, and we can track how they change over time.

What characterizes your writing at its best?

I tend to be a chameleon when I write, since I adapt my voice and tone for whatever class, genre or organization I’m writing for.

One thing that repeatedly characterizes my writing is the ability to develop a specific voice or tone. Whether it’s a formal research paper or a relaxed blog post, I think I can adapt to different tones depending on the genre. Not unlike a chameleon. Though I’m not really sure what I’m doing with my life, I’m really considering public relations because I love to adopt different voices in my writing, and think I would enjoy transitioning from client to client and producing promotional materials according to a specific tone. Last summer, I worked in a political public relations internship, where I wrote blog posts and press releases according to a very definite voice; my supervisors reminded me to sound “inventive,” “positive,” and “innovative” in my writing. Over the course of the experience, I found that I could switch pretty fluidly between voices concerning serious or fun topics. Looking back now, this sounds a little bit sell-out. If I’m always impersonating a certain tone, who am I as a writer?

How does/will your project reveal something about you as a writer?

In my evolution essay, I hope to get pretty personal explaining my perspective toward writing on a broader level. Yeah, over the last four years I learned how to properly use semi-colons in a list, that every essay needn’t be exactly five paragraphs, and that you need a running head on a paper in APA format, though I am completely unsure as to why. But, more important than specific details, my perspective toward writing shifted. I hope to reveal the fluctuation of my confidence in writing throughout my undergrad experience, specifically how I came in freshman year very confident and narrow-minded regarding what constitutes a “writer.” Then I hope to reveal how I quickly lost confidence in my own writing as I constantly compared myself to students who were “better” than me, which even led me to shift career paths for a while. Ultimately, through working as a writing tutor at the writing center, I was able to realize that there are no “good writers” and “bad writers,” but that a writer is simply anyone who writes.


Actual photo of me wondering who I really am as a writer whilst completing this freewriting exercise.
Actual photo of me wondering who I really am as a writer whilst completing this freewriting exercise.


What do you still not know about yourself as a writer?


Bouncing back to the question I posed at the end of Part 1 above, I still don’t know really who I am as a writer, separate from the various voices I present to fit a certain genre or assignment. Though I used to take more time to write in a journal and for fun in high school, I think I may have lost some of my personal voice over the past four years. It’s kind of sad, but a lot of times I feel like my writing for formal assignments must impersonate the voice of some stuffy scholar, who’s probably sitting in a well-furnished library with really high ceilings and wearing a burgundy robe smoking a pipe seamlessly whittled out of rare cedar wood. I hope to explore what my personal voice is, not the voice of someone I’m trying to be. This is why I think my capstone project choice is a perfect fit for me; for once, I will not be writing academically, journalistically, or to persuade a specific target audience. I’ll me writing personally, which will hopefully help me meet myself as a writer.

One thought to “Answering Questions & Asking New Ones”

  1. Hi Allison,

    This post is so true to you. What I’ve admired most about your writing as I’ve watched it develop throughout the semester are the genuine, relevant voices you adopt. For some people (cough, cough, me), adopting a sarcastic/ironic tone can sound completely forced. For you, though, it’s natural. You are able to keep your personality consistent while adapting to whichever writing style or genre. Sometimes you can be self-deprecating, which I think is sometimes a result of your lack of confidence. I wonder if that would be something interesting to explore in your evolutionary essay. I see that self-deprecating nature as a confident trait; you are able to recognize what you struggle with and put it to words, and that shows a sense of self-understanding.

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