(CC 2.0 Zaremba 2017)
This year, I learned the most through writing. As a writer and a student, I’ve grown and improved my writing skills. I’m still not perfect though, and could use more fine-tuning and practice. From my first writing assignment for “Nickel and Dimed” to my latest college essays, I had used the constructive criticism given to me by my peers and Mr. Ziebarth to learn from my mistakes and improve as a writer.
In my first narrative essay, I dug up a lot of feelings that I had suppressed for a long time and revisited painful memories. However, getting such great feedback from others gave me a sense of accomplishment in my writing. As a writer, I learned the necessity of details since usually, I just skim over a topic to allow the reader to understand a point, but elaborate descriptions can help a reader visualize the scene easier.
For my description essay, I had written about my brother. The prompt was to focus on one detail of a person and elaborate on how that person showcased that characteristic. I reflected on my brother’s creativity through his love for Minecraft and Legos. However, reading my essay back, I had strayed away from much of the prompt and began writing my own essay, focusing more on my memories of my brother than on his creativity. My peers had enjoyed my little anecdotes in the story, but they agreed that my essay was a little off-topic.
In the SQUID post of “Why I Write”, I reflected on the purpose of why I write. A lot of times, I don’t actually think before I write, but instead just scribble down the first thoughts that come to mine. When given an opportunity for publishing points, I had all the time in the world to actually reflect on what writing was to me. When I was younger, I had kept a journal for years and writing became therapeutic. Writing things down on paper allowed me to see my problems in a clearer view, and this paragraph was a remembrance of that feeling.
“My writing is a collection of thoughts. I have so many random thoughts floating through my brain like random pieces of string, but writing it out is like sewing the pieces together. Each string of thoughts may seem weird or may not make sense individually, but when sewn together into a collection of words, they make sense to me. These sewn pieces can sometimes become a beautiful scarf. It’s not always a perfect scarf, since it probably has a mistake or two or has some random pieces that just aren’t needed. But it’s my scarf. It’s my work. Sometimes you sew, just for the point of sewing. Sometimes, I write, just to write. A lot of the times, it’s for the A on the English paper that may take what feels like years to “sew”. But I don’t always write to get an A on an AP English paper. Sometimes I just write to connect these strings even though no one else will ever see it. At the end of the day, I write for me. I write to piece out my thoughts. I write to get my “A”. I write so I can remember. I write to “sew” my story.”
I have my reasons to write, but when I do, it’s for me. When others read my words, they get to know about me and my experiences in life. In the Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield expresses himself through writing as well. He isn’t a good student, but the one thing he never fails at is English. He enjoys writing a composition about old Allie’s baseball mitt and connects with his old history teacher through his writing. Through his honest words, Mr. Spencer got to know real Holden Caulfield beneath his cold, arrogant exterior. Holden Caulfield doesn’t always say the right words, but it is through his words that he connects with others in a meaningful way.
So, how can words be used to connect people? I’ve really found this answer through sharing my writing with my group. Through peer editing, I learned more about my tablemates than I normally would’ve learned if they were in any of my other classes. I’ve learned about Fiona’s sweet grandmother, Amy’s caring, thoughtful mom, and Quynh’s love of art. This whole year, we’ve been able to grow close and get to know each other on a deeper level, thanks to writing in this class.
Overall, I’ve learned my true strengths and weakness in writing. I’m great with writing individual paragraphs and anecdotes, but sometimes I fail to connect the paragraphs well into one big essay. Also, as I mentioned before, I often stray away from the prompt and start writing whatever I felt like writing, which wasn’t always the best idea. I still need to work on having more descriptions, being cleare
r in my writing, showing the audience instead of telling, and more. I’m not a perfect writer; I never will be either. But, I am still growing and learning overtime. If I could
redo this year, I honestly wouldn’t do anything differently, because all parts of the year allowed me to learn from my mistakes or improve on my shortcomings. I’ve learned a lot about writing and gained knowledge as well as experience, so especially next year with Baron Banner and AP English Literature, I hope I will continue on this growth and journey with writing.