Me as a writer…

I am a technically good writer. By this, I mean that I am good at writing correct papers. I have a thing for grammar and a love for words, a feeling to which I’m sure everyone in this course can relate. I enjoy writing literary analysis papers, which is probably a good thing since I spent three and half years of my undergrad career doing exactly that. I also took a few courses in creative writing: personal essay, an honors course on memoir writing, and travel writing. Each of these classes tested me as a writer, and I enjoyed the push to write; I realized I had more to write about than I could have imagined. But I am a reluctant writer. That is not to say that I do not enjoy writing, as I do enjoy the process, but I find myself wondering whether I have any stories left to tell.

To be honest, since my college graduation in May 2010, I have not written for myself at all, that I can recall. I have written papers and reflections for summer classes; grocery lists; reminders to myself; birthday cards; emails; personal letters; wedding thank yous; Facebook posts. For me, beginning this class is like swimming on a cool summer day – I want to jump into the pool to acclimate myself as quickly as possible, knowing that after the brief discomfort, I will enjoy the experience. But I find myself dipping in one toe at a time, unsure of myself. Reading Fletcher’s What a Writer Needs, I am reminded how much easier it is to write when you do so on a regular basis. Daily journals in my creative writing classes, even with the oftentimes prescribed topics, forced me to jump into the pool. I need to acclimate again.

In Fletcher’s book, “Chapter 11: A Playfulness with Time,” Β he points out the importance of consistency and how it is perhaps a writer’s most essential habit. While the consistency (and inconsistency) of writing is something I have personally dealt with, it is one of those times where what should be immediately apparent needs a big blinking orange sign before I can see it clearly. Based upon my own experience, and also after reflecting on Fletcher’s advice, I realize that my English classroom needs consistent time for students to write. I have no real sense yet of how I will implement the writing process in my classroom, but of course that is why I am here.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Me as a writer…

  1. Randi, I know what you mean about finding it difficult to get back into a writing routine. It’s a topic I am going to explore on my own blog post for this week (or at least I think I will!). I’m sure that once I restart a daily writing routine, I’ll find it fun, important, and fulfilling. But then there are all the “buts”! But I have so little time, need to sleep, have a family, could be watching Wipeout online. πŸ™‚

    • The “buts” definitely get in the way! It reminds me of taking piano lessons when I was younger – I wanted the end goal: to become an excellent pianist. But I didn’t want to take the time required to learn to enjoy the actual process of that learning. I think I need to start carrying a journal.

  2. I think I know where you’re coming from, too. I don’t do much non-academic writing, either. I’m not quite terrified yet of trying to teach students to write when I myself don’t write…but I’m getting there. I’m hoping this course will allow me to teach not only my students, but also myself, about learning the process of writing and allowing ourselves the space, the time, and the freedom to make mistakes and learn, in order to become better writers.

    • I wholeheartedly agree, Scott! For some reason it never fully occurred to me that in order to be a good writing teacher, we should write as well. I think it’s because I didn’t fully grasp the difference between being able to write and allowing ourselves to continue to learn about writing. But I’m beginning understand that difference.

  3. Randi —
    Thanks for your thoughtful post. I have a (very annoying) friend who is always quoting Emerson to me: “Do the thing and you will have the power!” This is most irritating to me because it is true. I absolutely loved the Fletcher book because he so seamlessly integrates the writing of writing and the teaching of writing. AND he doesn’t let us off the hook for not writing. It is just like exercising and eating healthily and sleeping and all of that other completely annoying stuff we’re supposed to do: the more we do it, the more we don’t mind doing it; the more we actually, gulp, ENJOY doing it. BUT, give me three days off from the gym, and it may be three years before I go back. Give me three weeks off from writing, and I’ve forgotten how to hold a pencil.

    ~Michelle

    • Thanks, Michelle! I concur that it’s very annoying to hear what you don’t want to hear! πŸ™‚ I can recall all my former writing professors – “You need to write in order to be able to write well!”

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