Minor Epiphany

I’ve been struggling the past two days to get going on my essay due Friday. I really am stumped, and it’s times like these, I’m realizing, that I really do not like writing. Sitting alone for hours and not coming up with anything worthwhile because of a) lack of motivation besides shame in a poor grade and b) cognizance of the many ways in which the paper can be done wrong but the few in which it can be done right is quite uncool, perhaps, if you will, as uncool as a submarine with a screen door.

Composing SMS text messages to boost my morale during these trifling timesĀ prompted me to realize that the beauty and allure of writing only makes itself apparent when it is not demanded by an outside official figure. That just sequesters the fun right out of it. Only when writing is done on behalf of the writer is it most effective, fun, and indicative of the writer himself.

To prove this, I could ask myself to create a short story, and I could expeditiously come up with a taleĀ about a bandito and a peasant seamstress who fall in love much to the dismay of her father, the deputy of the town and a capricious robber baron. Ask me to write this paper on the themes of my class, and I fall by the wayside.

My inclination toward writing of my own will could stem from a lack of maturity, where I’m still stuck in my rebellious stage and frown upon all sources of authority. I think Mr. Bacon made mention of something like this the other night. I think it is more so, however, that I become sheepish when writing for someone else because I feel that I have to exceed their standards and, you know, make my mom proud and all that. I don’t really want to do that. I like to write freelance style, shooting from the hip with the things that catch my fancy. Those are my best pieces, the ones I get a kick out of writing, and the ones that compel me to deem myself a fan of writing.

2 thoughts to “Minor Epiphany”

  1. Chris,

    I completely agree with you on this one. When we have to write for a superior (or out of any other obligation, for that matter), it definitely takes most of the fun out of the act of writing. I’ve never considered rebellion/immaturity as a cause for writing block, but that’s a really interesting way to think about it! But where you really struck a chord with me was when you mentioned striving to exceed other people’s standards and making other people proud as an obstacle to “fun writing.”

    I ran into this problem when writing our first essay for this class. What made writing the essay easy for me was realizing that it was more important to exceed my own expectations first than for anyone else, including our teacher. It took so much of the pressure off when I finally chose to release that weight of obligation and expectation, and it turned out to be one of my most favorite essays to write (and one of my favorite essays I’ve written to date).

    I also think that’s why most of us enjoy Writing 200 so much: most of the strict guidelines that are imposed upon us for each assignment are thrown aside, and we’re given this real sense of ownership and creative license to produce something that we can enjoy writing.

    – Allie

  2. Christopher,

    Do you think it would help you get started if you were to act as though you were writing this essay for yourself? Or a friend? Even all of us in your blogging group? I’ve found it helpful to not over-think certain assignments and to just go for it. Of course, that is many times easier said than done. For me, the most difficult part of writing is starting. Do you find you have similar problems?

    –Mark

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