Since I was old enough to write full-length essays and be graded on them I have had one solid stance, “I’m not a writer.”
So far my favorite variation has been, “I’m not a good writer in English either!” My high school language and literature teachers both watched me sit in the classroom absolutely stumped at the simplest of prompts with topics I’ve thoroughly discussed, only to turn around and pass my advanced placement exams with no sweat off my back. So why do I default to being just “not a writer”?
In fourth grade, I took the FCAT, an assessment of writing skills for the entire grade throughout Florida. After prepping for the entire year with my class (as much as an 8-year-old can prep for an exam) I passed and laid that writing demon to rest. In my little head, I thought I wouldn’t have to commit that much dedication to writing my thoughts out and began to run at the mouth, speaking enthusiastically to my friends, family, teachers, strangers, and basically anyone who would listen.
Then, tenth grade came and I just stayed away from writing in class. How did I do that in a language and composition class you ask? Discussion, note-taking from the board, any possible way that did not involve me writing my own thoughts. The same truth went for my eleventh-grade year. Literature was far easier to write about, but I talked like a fountain and held my spoken words above my head.
Now I’m in college. I write every day. I haven’t been confident in a lot of my essays, despite receiving pretty good grades. I put effort into them, but I always felt that I wasn’t articulating what I needed to say. I let myself slip into this thinking of not being good at words, written work being my weak point and discussion being my highlight. While I am a strong talker and speaker, that doesn’t negate my written work. I’ve been writing for college professors for over two years now and I haven’t failed a single essay. I may not be saying everything I want to say, but I’m definitely getting my point across. During my time in college I have been grasping at something, but I never really knew what.
So eventually, it hit me.
I am pretty good at this.
I can write and it’s just been an invisible hurdle I didn’t know I needed to jump. The wall I built up to box in my ideas of being a good writer vanished. It just started so long ago I didn’t know I put it there.
I really hadn’t felt a desire to write, ever. Then, the other day, I just wrote. I didn’t think about what I needed to say – I felt my way out with my words and I wrote 500 words I was proud of. Super proud of, actually. Then, I just kept doing it. I did assignments early and went on a spree. I’m writing this along with other articles, too. I don’t wish for this to be a writing kick, or just a high I’m falling off of because I wrote one thing.
I want it to be me crossing the writing line. It’s me knowing I can write whatever comes along in my academic career and after. Statements, compositions, short essays, long essays, thesis papers – even emails stand no chance against me anymore. The claim of victory is mine. Here’s to a fresh start of writing with confidence and boldly in all subject matters.
So I’ll try a new stance next time I talk about writing, “I’m not a just writer, I’m a damn good writer.”