Writing Is Hard

The more I write, the more I realize that good writing is hard.  Right now, I am grading papers for a SAGES class that I co-instruct.  Most of these students are writing much better than I did when I was a freshman. Sadly (for me), they are also writing better than I did as a senior!  I nearly always got good grades on my essays in college, but not because I wrote well grammatically. Rather, I got good grades because I was an idea person. I often wrote from a perspective that other students hadn’t attempted before, so my professors were impressed.  It really wasn’t until my junior and senior year that I began to freewrite and revise.  This made a huge difference in my work and my grades.

I now have my Ph.D., and while I have a huge advantage over my students–in general, a larger vocabulary, better understanding of punctuation use, and realization that prewriting really does make a huge difference in the quality of my work, I still struggle with being a good writer.  I make mistakes that I sometimes don’t catch; I occasionally still suffer from writing anxiety; and I sometimes have to push myself to write because I lack confidence.

All that being said, I also know that (as I said above) that freewriting and listing help me tremendously, and when I can spend the time on sites like 750 Words.com, I do improve.  When I plan ahead and can “marinate” my ideas, as my colleague Heath Demaree puts it, I write better.  And when I can share my work ahead of time with other writers, I know that they will help me spot my mistakes and help me fix them.

Writing gets better with practice.  I will never be the best writer, but I don’t have to be. I simply want to be a good and clear writer. If I can do this, I will consider myself a success as a writer.

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About Katherine Clark

SAGES Lecturer at Case Western Reserve University. Adjunct Instructor in English and ESL at Cuyahoga Community College. Loving mother to Harvey.
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One Response to Writing Is Hard

  1. irengyolvaso says:

    We are all beginners in your class when it comes too good writing. English in our second language and many times I compose the story in my native language. Often I think in Hungarian and translate it in to English.

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