When I first read the prompt for this week, I was kind of taken back by having to verbalize how I feel I’ve grown as a writer. I guess I haven’t given much thought to the growth that I’ve had–though I know it exists–because I’ve been so caught up in the checklist of projects we have to accomplish. This happens often for me, where I forget the big picture and get lost in the details. Of course, this class has been no exception.
Taking a step back, as this blog post has caused me to do, made me think about George Orwell’s four motives for writing, which he mentions in his piece, “Why I Write.” I would say that my strongest motive is “aesthetic enthusiasm” because I just love words. As a Latin buff, I’ve always been enthralled with the construction of words and where they come from. I love the way that a string of words can produce such a palpable and beautiful image, in the same way that lyrics make up a song.
Given both Orwell and Didion’s points, I still can’t figure out who I am as a writer, and I think that’s okay. I’m only 20 years old and I haven’t even written very much yet that I actually enjoyed writing, which I think is kind of sad. It’s a testament to the way the education system works in the U.S. though. As students, we are forced to read books and write papers about books. We are encouraged to “be creative” but within the strict confines of a three-pronged thesis and five-paragraph essay. I’m not saying that education should be a free for all, because I do think that there would be a significant number of people who would never write if they didn’t have to. However, I do think that time should be made to write freely about what you want to write about, not what you should write about.
One thing I do think would help me figure out myself as a writer is time dedicated in class to just write freely on a piece of paper and then discussing with the entire class what everyone wrote about. Not only do I think this would bring us closer together as a class by getting to know everyone’s style and preferred subjects to write about, it would get the creative juices flowing before we delve deeper into our projects. Oftentimes, I feel like I walk into class with big ideas about life. For example, just last week I had received an email from my aunt whom I rarely talk to and an hour later, received a $5 Starbucks gift card from one of my friends on a whim. Both of these events made me feel so special and all I wanted to do was write about it. Of course, I could have waited to journal like I do every night before bed, but writing during class, surrounded by my peers is a totally different experience.