By Miranda Swartz
I’m not original. I’m not creative. I obsess over where to put my commas rather than where to put power words. Writing is nerve-wracking, and each essay I hope will be greater than the last, but I just end up crumbling at the fault of my insecurities and doubts as a writer. My essays are all the same, with the same formation and monotonous topics. My writing is dull, repetitive, tedious. I’m so bad I could not even think of different adjectives, those words all meant the same thing. Another bad sentence to “enhance” what I call an intro paragraph, but what other people crap.
I’ve loved writing ever since I read the Harry Potter books for the first time in fourth grade. I would always write about me flying on broomsticks with Hermione, or running from Severus Snape past bedtime hours at Hogwarts with an invisibility cloak draped over me. I would love creating new versions of the magical world, and fitting me inside somehow. I loved the possibilities of imagination. English class, no matter how crappy of a teacher, was always enjoyable because I loved creating mini stories compressed into two small pages of white paper. English was not what made me dread writing, but rather science. For me, science has become its own writing language. Writing in science is the legitimate worst. Science follows a formula, sets an agenda of what needs to be done, and requires certain things to be said. When tests and CERs (cite, evidence, reasoning) were handed back, my papers were filled with squiggles and circles, marking everything wrong with my terrible formation, evidence, and reasoning. It had nothing to do with the teacher, my science teacher last year was the nicest person ever, it just had to do with the fact that science constantly diminished my creativity as a writer. Each time I picked up a pencil I just became stuck. I hated feeling defeated by a wooden pencil.
What makes a good writer anyways? Their ability to delete all “the’s” from their thesis statement? The ability to have a sentence with over 15 words but make it still sound like a masterpiece? I do not think that is what made Shakespeare so original and revolutionary. No, the key to an amazing writer is what comes after the story or essay is over and how it makes the reader feel or think. The only thing that truly matters in a story is the aftermath. Last night I went to see the musical Anastasia, and one of the characters in the play that had been a soldier in war said that the scariest thing was not the screams of terror or cries of opposing wounded soldiers, but the silence that followed when there was no one left to fight. This is just like how a story’s impact should be greatest when the story is over, because it means something in the art stuck with you beyond the words on the page. It had nothing to do with the perfect placement of commas, but the way the article may be written and ultimately perceived.
So maybe I’m a bad writer. I abide by the same formula implanted in me in practically every single one of my essays yet still expect a different outcome or reaction from the audience. At least you are still somehow reading this, right? Besides, nothing is set in stone. Justin Bieber was not born a superstar. I am not programmed as a crappy writer. If I try hard enough, I have my whole educational career to improve, and I do not have to feel discouraged every time I write an opening line. Writing can be perceived in many different ways, and the greatest part about being different from peers and friends is we can have our own opinions of what is good or bad. Someone might hate your essay, while another person could think it’s a masterpiece. Neither person is wrong, they just have different perceptions of art. Personally, I do not think the CERs that people were handed back with 100s were exceptional writing pieces. If being a “good writer” is being just like everyone else’s bland CER writings done in science, I would take my crappy writing over that any day.