Write like your life depends on it…Part I

I used to think that I was a good writer.

I enjoy words, their intricacies, the direction. Some polyvalent, some unambiguous, some vivid, some murky.

I’m a published poet, so that should count for something (shameless plug and link), but poetry and I have a complicated relationship. I guess me and writing do too.

I used to think that I was a good writer. In school I had reflection papers and case studies, analyses in which I could wax eloquent with my brilliant thoughts on the page to impress teachers. I committed enough English grammar idiosyncrasies to memory that I could be a cocky little turd. Words flowed out that earned me decent marks, so I thought that there was something special going on.

But I’ve been reading. And reading.

I swim in the words of people who have better and more articulated thought than me. I tread where the water is pleasant, reliving the same words over and over and savoring the thoughts that were underneath them.

Then I sit down to write. And I have lost the free naiveté of a young man. I spend too much energy considering connotations, inferences, knowing references, and proper form.

I grind and gruel through slogs of terms, reworking a sentence structure so that I can fit an often undefined mold.

Much of my writing today is still read by teachers, but these teachers expect a technical level of precision that tends towards the unforgiving.

And. this. kind. of. writing. takes. forever.

I am afraid that it will become devoid of personality. Perhaps it is supposed to, but I simply cannot accept that. With all the riches of academia, it cannot sacrifice the jewels of personality for the currency of peer-reviewed knowledge.

This was going to be simpler when I started. Now I fear that I’ve waxed too much. Perhaps in Part II I’ll get to the point…

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