In class last Thursday, Shelley sequentially proposed three questions to us and asked that we write about each for seven minutes. The questions were intended to get us to reflect on our writing processes and style as stimulation for our Evolution Essays. Personally, I found the questions very intimidating and tough to answer. Nonetheless, I pressed onward and delved into the depths of my own writing-soul (though, in reality, it was a very mundane experience). Here it is:
1). What characterizes my writing at its best?
During the actual free writing experience, I wrote about something different and I hated it. Thus, I will just redo the experience here:
Between my sophomore and junior years of college, I read a few books. One of those was The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. It was a great book and one that would come to change the way I write. Specifically, it encouraged me to write in the simplest way possible. Anthony Burgess, author of A Clockwork Orange, wrote of Hemingway’s novel that, “Every word tells and there is not a word too many.” Inspired the power of Hemingway’s simplicity in this novel, I made Burgess’s review a mantra for my own writing: to have every word be essential to the piece and to not have a word too many.
My writing, at its best, is characterized by this simplicity. It is sharp and powerful without being overbearing or boring. It is a skill I have not been able demonstrate often, and it is one that I will never master; yet it is one that occasionally pops up in my writing, and it is a skill that I will always strive for.
2). What do you want your project to reveal about you as a writer?
I hope that my project reveals much about me as a writer. Specifically, I want my project to reveal my empathy. I want the reader to get a sense of my love for people and for understanding people. I want my reader to be inspired by my writing (or, rather, what I have written) and to desire to understand people for themselves. I want the reader to see my passion for nature and for understanding how nature influences the way people function. How do people function? I prefer that people learn more about themselves through my writing than that they learn something about me through my writing. While they will inherently learn about me through my writing, it is more important for me that the reader learn about themselves. More on the topic of what I want the reader to learn about my writing, I hope that they notice my passion for the sound of words and my love of writing.
3) What do you still not know about yourself as a writer?
Lots of shit. Most notably, will I continue to write after graduation, as I hope to do? Will I write when I am a doctor or a resident? Will I still possess the ability to reveal the nature of people through my writing?
I am truly concerned that I may never write again after graduation, which would be a huge misfortune. I am not a good writer (I’m not sure if any writer feels as though they are a good writer), but I hope to continue writing because I have learned how essential it is for me to understand people and the world. My writing is often very meticulous. Piecing it together teaches me a lot. I dont know. I’m not sure where I am going with this. But back to the main question, I dont know if I am a devoted writer. Is anyone? Also, I’m not sure if what I write means anything to anyone but myself. On that note, it doesnt really matter to me. I know that about myself as a writer: my writing, thus far, has been for me (or at least the writing that I am most proud of has been for me). Is it worth my time to make writing for anyone else? Do I even need to in order to be a writer? If I do continue writing in the future, these questions will gain prevalence.
(To avoid any unwarranted criticism, the last two of these questions, as they are written here, are exactly as I typed them during the initial free write. Please excuse my careless mistakes 🙂 )