When I found out that I was officially going to minor in Writing, I was ecstatic. It was something I’d been considering for a while, and I was relieved it had finally started to happen. I signed up for the gateway course and was actually looking forward for it to start (I know, strange right?) I think I was mostly intrigued to see what the program would actually be like.
Then came the “Oh shit” moment. It was on the first day of class, and it started to sink in that I was absolutely out of my mind to do this. I had thought of myself as a good writer in my prior English classes, surrounded by students who despised writing, but now I was in a room with writers. And I was so intimidated.
Don’t let yourself get caught up in this idea.
For so long into the class I fought with myself on if I really belonged, because I just felt like I wasn’t “writer” enough. I didn’t have hardly any writing experience, and I wasn’t in the know about writers.
Writing the very first “Why I Write” piece was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do for school, because I didn’t really know why I write. So I tried to write a BS essay about it. I’m good at BS-ing, and I figured it would fly— it always had before.
But if there’s one thing this class taught me, it’s that it is okay to not know what to say or what to write. Just be honest. I would have saved myself a lot of trouble if I’d avoided the fluff and cheesy endings from the beginning and honestly asked myself what I was trying to say. Even if the answer is “I don’t know”, this class made me realize that if you’re at a loss for what you want to communicate, your reader will connect with you much more if you say just that.
Better yet, when you think about what you really feel and want to say, I discovered even if your answer is still full of questions, it will still be more powerful than if you confidently splattered out an answer that you haven’t fully thought out.
So new-coming gatewayers (I know that’s not a word, let it go), here’s a summary of what I would advise:
- Don’t be intimidated. You’re a writer just as much as anyone. And you don’t have to be a “writer” to be a writer.
- It won’t be the same as your other English classes. You’ll have to push yourself further.
- BE HONEST! Honesty is relatable, and being relatable is more important than being right.
- An amendment to #2: LET it push you. Don’t stop at okay just because it’s good enough. Revise it. Revise it for real. Don’t be afraid to delete huge sections and reverse the order of your message (I know I know, I get attached to the paragraphs too, it’s okay). Revision isn’t just the grammar/fluidity check it used to be. Take some risks.
P.S. Here’s a gif of Nick Miller singing Beyonce. Be honest, can anyone tell me a time where New Girl or Bey aren’t necessary? Nobody? Kay good.