How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Writing
English and composition were never my favorite classes. I usually did pretty well but it was always incredibly boring. Every few weeks the routine started all over again. My teacher would announce it was time for our next great writing assignment. She assigned us a very specific subject to base our paper off of. For the next 2 weeks and three class periods, all we did was prepare for the final draft.
This isn’t an exciting way to write. It’s a long drawn out process filled with arbitrary benchmarks we were required to hit. Every sentence was just there to take up space. It wasn’t incredible writing, there was no way it could be. There was no desire to create something wonderful. All anyone was trying to accomplish was to complete the checklist. These papers were written for the A. This incentive didn’t exactly fuel the creative engine.
Now I’m free to write about what I’d like instead of being a slave to a teacher’s main topic and checklist. I’ve been writing for an audience instead of a grade for about 8 months now. I love writing though it wasn’t always like that. I was challenged with a few hurdles before I really began to enjoy writing on my own.
Writing For A Grade
When I wrote papers for my teachers, I wasn’t encouraged to write something interesting or entertaining. When I began writing on my own I was faced with the realization that if anyone was going to read my writing I had to make it fascinating. It seems like this would be one of the most basic things you learn when you are taught how to write, but it was the last thing on anyone’s mind. After spending my entire life practicing how to write I had never learned how to give people a reason to keep reading.
Another impediment I faced when I first starting writing on my own was simply starting to write. In school, I always waited until the last second to start writing my paper. A lot of the time this meant I was finishing papers at 2 a.m. the night before they were due. I didn’t enjoy it so I put it off. It was the thing I dreaded most out of anything else in school.
After I started writing on my blog I still got this feeling. I knew I was enjoying writing on this new and free platform. I was satisfied and felt accomplished after I published an article. But, when it came to starting an article, I had just as much hesitation as I did when I wrote for my teacher. For a long time, the very hardest part of writing was getting the very first paragraph on paper. Since then, I’ve become far less hesitate and more eager to take the initiative with my writing. But I’ll still catch myself slipping. Even now the hardest part of blogging is just sitting at my desk and writing those first 100 words.
Making Writing a Routine
Another reason I believe I never enjoyed writing in school is you don’t do enough to get good at it. Ever time we sat down to start writing a new paper it was like a brand new experience. Every time we started I had to relearn how to write. Writing only starts to come easily when it’s a routine. This is something I’m still learning.
If I don’t write for a few days and then I sit down, it comes very slowly and that blank page may be there much longer than it should. If I wait a week I really begin to struggle. Imagine how it was in class when we would go an entire month without writing a paper. It was almost like I forgot how to do it.
When I write routinely, the quality of what I’m putting out only improves. Just a few days ago I set the goal of writing once a day for the next month. I did this once before and it did wonders for my overall intellectual state and abilities. When I first set the goal I was worried I would run out of stuff to write about. The total opposite happened. I had too many ideas for blog posts. I started searching for stuff to write about in my studies, conversations with friends, and even just walking around the city.
I learned to stop worrying and to start loving writing by changing just a few things. I had to realize why I was writing, I had to forget my fear of writing the first sentence, and I had to build my writing into a routine. Now I write for myself and to entertain others. The incentive is completely different and it turns out I respond much better to reaching a large group of people than I do to a grade.