Because Writing Is Learning, Right?

They always tell you that when you write, you are inevitably learning–about the specific topic you are exploring, about the world around you, or maybe even about yourself. Well, I’m not quite sure who “they” are, but I’ve recently realized that they are 100% correct. I can’t say that this moment of clarity came while I was physically working on a paper or writing project, but I think it was always in the back of my mind. If I have learned one thing this semester, during which I took both the Writing Capstone course and English 325: Art of the Essay, I can confidently say it is that I do my best writing when I’m in the mood to do it.

This might sound extremely obvious, or maybe even a little silly, but I can’t help but feel relieved to have discovered this about myself. My essays for English 325 were all works of creative nonfiction, aka pieces of writing about my own personal experiences, thoughts, and opinions. You can’t sit down and bust out an eight-page essay about your childhood–at least, I can’t. When it comes to writing about myself, I need to be inspired, excited, passionate, or (ideally) all of the above. In addition to this, the writing I did for the Capstone was also often very reflective, therefore hard to force out the night before an assignment was due. I think there are a couple of reasons for this type of mentality when it comes to my writing:

  1. I actually care about these pieces of writing, most likely because they are not about arbitrary topics.
  2. I want my writing to be organic and not feel or sound forced.
  3. I’m a second-semester senior and thus a little lazy when it comes to school work.

I threw that third reason in for fun–but I can’t say it isn’t at least a little bit true. Although my need to feel inspired in order to write can often prevent me from working efficiently, I am appreciative for this mindset. It pushes me to produce the best possible writing that I can, and to me there is truly nothing better than creating a piece of writing that is meaningful to me.

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