For most of high school, I wasn’t that great a writer; actually, I was a lousy writer. One particular memory sticks out when at the end of my junior year, I asked my then English teacher how to write “better.” Answering such a question is difficult; after all, how do you respond to someone’s question of how to communicate? There’s no one-answer-fits-all, and like some things, the needed reply is as different as the personalities of those engaged in question and answer. The vague answer received to my even more vague question, which consisted of no more than “just read more,” simply didn’t work for me.
And while the advice seems standard, there seems to be something missing in the notion that reading more will make you a better writer. It would be more seemingly accurate to say that in reading more, you are exposed to other forms of writing, which will generate ideas in terms of style and sentence structure. However, to actually make use of them, one still requires and additional level of education and practice. Simply put, like any other skill, one must apply the “theory,” which is always far more difficult than simply integrating information into the knowledge bank. Along with application, there needs to be a greater sense of interaction with the piece with the writer, the reader, and the piece. And I don’t mean for some simple corrections of grammar, but rather, I mean for one to closely read the piece and push for further development or challenge arguments lacking in support.
So somewhere in between that instance and the start of college, I could go so far as to say that I re-learned how to write and reconstructed my way of conceptualizing and connecting my thoughts. And while it’s difficult to explain how the ways in which I think and formulate my arguments completely differ, I can say that there is a lot more activity and back-and-forth between my ideas, as opposed to leaping from one lily pad to another. Even as I write this, I find myself going through my words several more times, even after typing them onto the screen.
In either case, I never expected to be recruited to write for Like.com or to enjoy writing academic essays. It’s funny, and at the same time, interesting, interesting to consider the many outcomes from a set of skills.
Image courtesy of UCI.edu