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Finding my voice

After reading almost everyone else’s blog posts, I am at a loss of what to write in this one. Mostly because the thoughts rocketing around my brain right now feel like a super-speed game of Pong. I told myself all week long “you should really get started on that blog post…after all, your last post was all about getting into a routine of writing. What on earth will people think if you talk about the importance of writing and then turn around and wait until the last minute again?” Well…I waited until the last minute again.

After a brief moment to open up Pandora and set a Mozart station, I feel much more ready to write. For some reason, Mozart is my thinking music. Perhaps the lack of words to distract me? Note: I think every blog I’m going to list questions for YOU all that pop into my head and post them at the end to answer as you please.

I am going to try to use this space as a place to free write and work in the readings as they fit, but mostly I want to get myself thinking and writing again in a way that never seems to happen when all I think of are scripted assignments. Hopefully re-educating myself on writing will make me a better teacher when it comes to writing. One thing I know I need to work on in my own writing is VOICE. When I read back on my writing, it always seems so stiff and formal. Which is good when the assignment is to write a formal paper, but not so good when I’m thinking about how I’m going to someday teach students how to write in a more natural and creative environment than “Write a five paragraph essay on this topic I chose for you.” Hopefully this blog will help me find my own voice in writing again, since it seems to have left me somewhere between my elementary and high school years. As an a exercise in the kind of writing I will encourage in my own students, here is an experiment of my own free writing…and now, I write.

I talked to one of my best friends earlier this week in preparation for my minilesson on “How to visit Wales” for my practicum class. Talking about Wales and all the memories we had and preparing for that lesson in general made me realize that writing is important not only as a memento of experiences that we ourselves want to remember (one way I’ve successfully used writing in the past), but also for another reason: to relate those experiences to other people. Okay, so that sounded completely obvious, but what I *really* mean is this: said friend and I again (it’s a frequent topic when we’re “homesick” for Wales) talked about how it is really impossible for anyone who hasn’t been in a similar experience (living three thousand+ miles from home in a foreign country with all these new places to see and things to do) to understand why we miss it so much. It is a constant frustration to me that no one I see/converse with on a regular basis (besides said friend) can seem to relate to this in any way: not my husband, not my parents, not my other geographically closer friends. This is it: writing. Cue lightbulb moment. Thinking about how I would want to explain my occasional homesickness for this land that no one around me has ever really thought of, let alone seen. The simplest mode: writing.

Putting words on a page (or in this case, a blank screen) is a much easier mode for me to express myself to other people. This is the easiest way for me to think of reader-based prose versus writer-based prose. If I need to explain something to someone who wasn’t there (and I’m talking NEED to explain, not just hopeful that someone else will interpret your meaning the way you intended it), what better lens to use than something I have already experienced? As the semester goes on, I hope that I can build on this. And I hope that when I become a fully-fledged teacher, this is something I can share with my students to help illustrate the importance and relevance of writing to their lives. Writing is practice at telling a story. It gives you more freedom and time and space to craft a story for the telling than does an on-the-spot conversation. Or at least it does for me! I hope I haven’t over-philosophized my point. I think the original point was for me to learn how to write in my own voice, which somehow turned into reader/writer-based prose. Note: this is what happens when you go into a blog post not sure of what to write!

Questions: Do you listen to music as you write? If so, what inspires you?

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