It’s Been A Long (But Rewarding) Journey

When it comes to the genre and style I’ve adopted for my repurposing project, I’ve found myself creating several elongated thoughts, which could really use another look or two. Since I was in middle school, the comma has been at times both my best friend in writing, and my worst enemy in writing. As I look to mature my writing, and adapt new styles of writing while revising my repurposing project, I have strong hopes that I can work to strengthen my sentence structure and diction in the process.

Syntax has never come to mind for me while writing, I feel that this is the case because my previous teachers had not heavily covered the intricacies of grammar. My personal sentence organization has been either loved or unloved by my previous instructors as well, it comes down to whether the ideas I’m conveying make sense on their own, en route to also getting those thoughts down on paper. That being said, I work to place heavy personal emphasis on using a wide array of vocabulary within my essays. Although certain words in my works of writing feel as if they were lifted directly from the thesaurus, the truth is often that I’ll tend to sit there for minutes at a time, recollecting every which word that could possibly make a given sentence better.

I’m proud of the strides I’ve made in my writing, throughout the course of my continuing education at Michigan. The process in becoming an advanced writer is a long one, no doubt. And with the changes I’ve made in my own bag of tricks, hopefully one day I will make it there.

Analyzing Style

First of all, this exercise was a lot more difficult than I’d anticipated. I figured my go-to sentence structure would jump out at me and follow all the conventions from the reading but…language is hard. I think I’ve taken for granted speaking and reading English my whole life and the natural sense of  “oh, that sounds good,” because although I’ve absorbed years of English classes and all their wisdom, I never considered the real implications of periodic sentences and latinate diction and all these Important Writing Concepts until now. Anyway. I took a look at a recent essay I wrote this past spring term for English 325 (creative nonfiction) about running (the prompt was to write a meditation/reflective piece).

Discovery: I’m kind of a rambler. I like adding qualifiers to the end of my sentences, letting them linger on and on, adding more and more details that I really don’t need sometimes, like really Margot, end the sentence now, seriously, please, thanks. (see what I did there)

Okay, they’re not all that bad but I definitely noticed a pattern. A ton of my sentences were compound and simple – “Swimmers in designated lanes rush from one end of the pool to the other and the only word that comes to my mind is confined” and “I used to turn into a noodle a few times a week at a yoga studio in my hometown,” respectively. I found myself rarely using complex sentences – I think because this was a more personal essay, I used more independent clauses and tried to expand on specific details rather than use more formal cause/effect methods of argument. My syntax was closer than anything else I’ve written (at least for school) to the way I naturally speak, although the way I talk and the way I write are pretty distinct. My writing might very well be painful to read were it to resemble my speech in real life exactly. Yikes.
Given the subject and the style of essays we wrote in the class, I tried to find a balance in style somewhere between how I’d write a term paper and how I’d text my best friend. I do wonder how the changes in the way we communicate today (texting, twitter, facebook, even these blogs) and the ease with which we write short messages to each other will shape the way we write not only those messages but more formal pieces as well…

Example Of “Fear” in Syntax/Vocab/Grammer

Here is my example, it’s an excerpt from a students personal essay I was assigned to peer review.

“His message continued to go on to talk about his experience with flight school and as an LT in the fleet. He made sure to be positively clear that he couldn’t make the decision for me, but could offer me any answers to questions I had based off of his experiences. I had never met Devin in person, but found myself very thankful he was the son of some friends in my family, because his advice was the exact insight I was looking for. No one I had met at my unit had been wrestling over going subs or going pilot. It just didn’t happen. I had finally found someone I could relate to with the same situation as myself.”