As a writer with bad time management skills, I always regret writing an essay late at night. Yeah, sure, I joke about these kinds of nights. But, when I have an idea that I want to share with people, late nights tarnish my essay. Verb inconsistencies, pronoun references, preposition errors--I never know that I did these errors til my professor points them out.
But, I do not have enough time to correct them.
God, I hate that word: time.Whenever I hear the word time, I hear the rest of the sentence preceding it: I do not have enough. That’s exactly what happened: I do not have enough time for my essay in grammar class. When staring at this block of paper asking me what is a SNOOT, a term a renowned author, David Foster Wallace, coins in his essay, "Tense Present," my mind just shuts down. When the deadline comes near, my mind just vomits everything that I can think of. By the time I have finished my essay, I already knew it's going to be a mess.
So I tried to proof-read it, and then make it worse, and then proof-read it again, and then make it worse.
Then, I proof-read it again.
And then, I make it worse!
(You must read this tidbit in the voice of the guy in Rocko's Modern Life who always repeat "turn the page, and then wash your hands. Turn the page, and then wash your hands. Then, you turn the page. And then, you wash your hands.")
I vowed to myself to throw away the cycle, but the cycle comes back and traps me in its never ending doom. I now live a life of finishing essays last minute and getting a grade that could have been better. In fact, I can picture it: my grammar professor giving me a big fat C, or a D, or, even better, a F, on a paper that I wrote and revised when I had two hours of sleep. Yes, I am quite fearful over how time becomes the oil to my water. And the book that he assigned me, The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr., is not helping either.
Upon reading the book, I already know that I am in hell. In all of my times in elementary school, middle school, and high school, always indulging on pleasures, like staring at my television all night long, but never practicing the obligation of memorizing grammar conventions, like preventing a run-on sentence by using a period in the middle of two main clauses, I have acted like a sinner. Now, while my grammar professor, the Satanic devil, whips my back, giving it an appearance full of bloody lashes, I am turning the wheel in the scorching heat. Because I have never followed any of the book's rules throughout my entire life, clearly this book is the bible.
Don’t get me wrong, though. The book is actually good. To be exact, it has useful suggestions to improve your writing. For instance, chapter 14 of the book urges the reader to “prefer the specific to the general, the definite to the vague, the concrete to the abstract.” Then it proceeds to compare examples of concrete diction, like “it rained every day for a week,” with examples of abstract diction, like “a period of unfavorable weather set in.” Finally, the chapter provides an exercise where the writer has to rewrite sentences in abstract diction to concrete diction. Yeah, it totally sounds useful and all. Too bad, I don’t have the time for it.
I know being in a grammar class means I should break my bad habits. And I am extremely conscious of my bad habits. But I have met with my old foe again: time. Time tries to break me. But am I already broken? Well, whether I will conquer time and become the great writer that I envision myself as remains to be seen.