Usually when I write, I write how I talk. Which is often pretty sassily with lots of tangents that sort of fit with the overall theme but sometimes don’t really at all. I think that it makes writing easier to read- you know, when the writing is kinda “train of thought-like”, and you can tell how the author’s brain works and that they’re a real human being.
When I write about super serious stuff that’s super important to me and that I’m pretty super worried about being judged about, I tend to lose my “train of thought” style of writing. I get nervous that people are going to see me as a crazy person, and I try to make my writing a little less “crazy”, if that makes any sense whatsoever. It’s almost as though I’m already revealing so much about myself and my life through just the content that I freak out and don’t want to also hand over the way I speak on a silver platter. It feels too personal, too real.
Last semester, I was in a very personal essay-writing class in which we played around with creating essays using different mediums. Before that class, I had never really written an essay on who I think I am- the fundamentals of what makes me me. I had written pieces on relationships and friendships that were more or less just story based, which, honestly, is a bit of a cop-out. I could show the reader bits and pieces of my personality based on how I felt about other people- a good tactic, but definitely taking the easier route.
Writing an essay (it turned out to be a photo essay) just about who I think I am was so freaking hard. I really wanted to start with this quote from Jim Rohn, “You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.” I restarted it six different times because every draft’s introduction just didn’t sound like me. They were so formal. I almost fell asleep reading back through them. I didn’t know how to make people care. My professor finally told me to just write how I talk. I wouldn’t say to someone “quote, you’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with, unquote, Jim Rohn.” I would say something more like…
“This guy named Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” I only bothered to look Jim up because I wanted to get the quote completely right. It appears that he was a white, male, motivational speaker, if you care. I heard the quote a couple of weeks ago, and it was one of those things that stuck with me because it freaked me out.”
…and that’s how I ended up starting the paper.
It’s definitely been difficult over the course of this project to just write how I talk and not get too “preachy”. I didn’t want to make it sound as if I though I knew everything and was the world’s next Ghandi. I just wanted my writing to sound like me. By now, we’re far enough along in the process that I’ve just gotta hope I’ve achieved that.