I’m not sure if it’s this class or this semester or even this year, but I feel like I’ve been doing through a major transition with my writing. I’ve started to overanalyze every word I write and every story I tell. In actuality, I’m sure I have not gotten worse as a writer, like I sometimes imagine I have, but I do feel less confident in my writing ability. Whereas I used to be able to sit down and write a paper without doubting or second guessing my thesis or format, I now take hours just to formulate a thesis statement that I end up changing halfway through.
It could be that as I get older and gain more experience with writing outside of school, the way I write adjusts to complete different tasks. For example, when I write a blog post for work, they are usually 1000 words and do not require a thesis per say–though they do have an argument–and instead, focus on telling the story in a clear way. No flowery language, no complex structures. Just regular ole words!
Conversely, the prompts I’ve had this semester have challenged me to develop a thesis statement and find evidence to support it. What I’ve noticed is that every GSI and professor I’ve had prefers their written assignments in different formats. Some want a clear thesis statement, and a classic 5-paragraph essay while others want us, as writers, to be more creative and tell a story. It’s been difficult to switch up my writing style every time I have a new paper due. But I guess that’s college…and life.
As it pertains to this class, the blog posts are what have kept me sane and confident in my writing. They allow me to voice how I’m feeling and what I’m looking forward to without worrying about the “grade” I’ll receive. As Andrew Sullivan pointed out in his post, “Why I Blog” it’s the urgency of writing a blog that is enticing for me. “We blog now,” he writes and I feel this urgency every time I read the Semester Schedule. I like being forced into writing, even when it’s a struggle to come up with something to say. I think this push and pull is what makes writing so beautiful and so challenging. If it was easy, everyone would be a writer (depending on your definition of writer, I suppose everyone actually is a writer…I digress).
To tie my stream of consciousness that is this blog post together, I’ll close by saying that this semester has posed a new host of challenges in terms of writing but I do not wish them to go away. I think the overanalyzing and late night worry about writing is normal, and perhaps beneficial for my writing. I know, deep down, that I am improving as a writer. What I think is missing, however, is a way for me to truly understand how and in what ways because, other than the grades I receive or the praise I get from my boss, there’s no way of truly knowing that you are getting better at doing something that’s so subjective. If anyone has any tips for keeping track of progress, I would definitely be interested in hearing about it!