My Writing, part II

I hate when some person in authority tells a group of students they will help them with their writing. There are two reasons for this.

The first reason is my past experience with writing and literature courses. Rarely have I ever been corrected where my writing is concerned, whether or not there is any true merit in what I’ve created. As I moved along in school, I learned to tailor my writing according to what was expected of me, and tried to go above and beyond that. As a result, I always regarded as impressive. I remember multiple occasions where my writing was read out loud for the entire class, and no one else suffered such an embarrassing accolade.

You might say that’s what learning is. You’re wrong. Learning is taking a risk, making mistakes, and improving from there. Figuring out the system and working it to one’s advantage is what education in the US has become. The grade is most important, not the content, not the experience.

But I digress. The other reason I hate that promise of assistance with writing is because of my past experience. As I had said, I was always impressive. I was rarely corrected. So when I hear that someone wants to help me improve my writing, an (I like to think) uncharacteristic arrogance flares up in my breast. What makes you any different from those who have taught me before? It asks impertinently. They found little fault. What makes you special?

Despite my arrogance, something in me longs for correction. Part of me longs for a challenge. Something inside me desires someone who shakes up everything I do and know. I want to be great. I want to be one of the greats. And this constant flattery, feeding the beast that is my conceit, it keeps me comfortable. But comfort is not how greats are made, whether it be great people, leaders, or works. 

1 comment

  1. Well said. In school, you learned to cater to your reader. As a writer that, I suppose, could be good and bad. Catering to your reader, it seems to me, will increase your chances of success. But, will it satisfy the writer in you? I am hearing (I use the term lightly.) you want more from yourself. You want to write what needs to be written from your own heart – from your own point of view – from your own mind. You want to be challenged. Might I suggest that you consider joining a serious writing group that engages in peer critiquing? I have joined such a group and I have learned so much. A critique by your peers is both humbling and gratifying. No one is out to hurt you. Everyone is interested in helping you write your best. Your peers have neither authority over you nor emotional loyalty to you. They, like you, simple want to be the best they can be, and they want the same from you. …my thoughts.

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