…that I struggle when the writing gets “serious” to make the tone still my own. Ha. Poet and I didn’t know it.
On Thursday, after I wrote my third challenge journal (check it out), I had a meeting with my writing GSI for my BFA year-long thesis. He was very complimentary of the last half of the paper, because, in his words, “it was very fun to read.” However, he kindly explained that I had completely lost that “fun, free voice” during the parts in which I was explaining my research for the project.
It was only once I was able to get to the part of the writing where I was actually writing about what I wanted to and felt comfortable with that the writing sounded like my own.
Interesting. I lose my writing voice both when I’m feeling vulnerable/exposed and when I’m writing about things I find boring.
One paragraph of the research part of my thesis reads:
“A recurring theme throughout my research, which was expected, was the importance of taking children outside to learn. Almost every research paper or book that I read on early childhood education included the idea of letting children come to their own conclusions—and one of the best ways for them to both formulate their own questions and come up with their own solutions is immersing them in a natural environment.”
Mike and I talked about how many different ways I could make that simple paragraph more my own. I could talk about how I built a log cabin outside with my sister and friend when I was about 10. I could talk about how one of my favorite memories of upper elementary school was that my teacher Ms. Angelakis would take us outside with a boatload of towels to sit on for free reading time whenever it was warm enough. I could even just throw in a couple side comments to make the writing slightly less bland.
I know that it’s important to sometimes say less– my writing tends to get very “frilly”, or wordy, and I’ve been known to say the same sentence twice just because it sounds really good both ways. However, I have room in this thesis to add a little bit of personal flair– not frilliness, but flair– to make the thesis more fun and exciting and relatable for the reader to get through.
It’s a different way of thinking about “what do I need/not need” and I can definitely take the “flair or frill?” question and apply it to my Capstone project. Does this sentence add anything new and exciting? Is your personality coming across because of those three extra words? What do you really need?