I’ve never done so much writing, let alone blog writing, so much for one class. At the beginning of the semester I tended to overthink my posts, making them as neat as possible. Now I can write a post well within an hour. I think Sullivan’s article led to this improvement. There’s always going to be something better that I’ll want to say. But I realize that I don’t have all the time in the world to say it. At the same time, I think investing so much time on one post takes away a bit of the personality and the spontaneity. Blog posts aren’t supposed to be the whole conversations, but the beginnings of them, and I think that is something I need to keep in mind in general with my writing.
For the longest time, I used to think of writing as this solitary act, that classic image where someone just sits down and puts words to paper or screen and looks over them themselves. Taking this gateway course has definitely changed my mindset about that. No matter the reason you write, whether it be communicating ideas to other people like Orwell, or figuring things out for yourself like Didion, writing is a conversation. It’s between the writer and the reader(s). In general, when I put up my writing online, I don’t know who the reader is. I’m grateful that for this class I know who my readers are and am able to receive feedback from them.
The feedback is especially important because sometimes I suck at asking questions. I have a mindset that sometimes I should just know something and not need to ask for help. But letting go of that mindset, especially in writing, is liberating. In a way, there’s less pressure on myself to get it all right the first time. At the same time, having people read my writing and give feedback makes me realize more how limited my perspective is. I am only one person and have experienced so much. With feedback, I find that I’ve overlooked important points that others see. There is so much that I need to learn as a writer, and while I never will be a perfect writer it’s still pretty exciting to me.
I think back to Sullivan’s metaphor of blogging to jazz. Jazz will never replace more structured music, like classical music, but it is there. Likewise, blogging coexists with traditional writing. Blogging even draws more attention to the importance of traditional writing. Through my experience with blog writing, I have found this to be true. Because of this process, I see more now how writing is more of a conversation than it is a one-way message. And this is a lesson I want to carry on over to whatever writing I do in the future.
I don’t know how I’m going to feel when this semester is over. I’m going to miss workshops and watching people work on amazing projects. As gateway students we are starting and joining many conversations, and I’m excited for all of you in seeing where they take you.