“Ugh, how are you an English major? Writing is the WORST!” “Dude, I haven’t written since my last high school English class…” “How do you actually like writing?” “I’m so bad at writing. I’ll never be good at it. Why would I even try?”
These are the questions I hear more often than not when I talk about how much I love writing. I understand that writing is a very specific skill and that it might not be for everyone, but it is a craft that can be acquired with nothing but practice. Trust me, I didn’t always use to write the way that I did. I used to have no confidence in what I was doing, and it almost deterred me altogether from pursuing a career within the English major.
During my senior year of high school, I decided to take my first AP English class. I was nervous because I had never really written to the level that was required of me for this class. When I got my first essay back, I was completely disheartened. I had gotten a D- on my very first paper in a class I had already told myself I wouldn’t be good at. I didn’t even earn a passing grade. How was I supposed to improve?
The structure of this class was nothing shy of writing-heavy. We had timed, in-class essays every other week for the entire year, and then every week for the month leading up to the AP exam. I slowly learned that writing wasn’t something to be afraid of. After so much forced practice, my writing changed drastically.
I found my own voice, I found my own analytic style, and I found my own confidence in my work. Slowly, my grades started improving. By the end of the class, I was getting As on my papers, and I felt like I had conquered a battle in my path to success. Coming out of this experience, I knew that writing was something I felt passionate about, and I took it from analytical papers in classes to creative writing for enjoyment and personal posts for publications like Odyssey.
I had a choice when I was a senior in high school. I could have given up, quit writing, accepted a failing grade on my papers, and forfeited my opportunity to even find my love for writing. Instead, I decided to hold my head up high, keep pushing forward, and learn that writing isn’t nearly as bad as my negative opinions had made it out to be.
By forcing myself to improve on my writing, I actually found that it can be fun. It has given me an uninterrupted platform to share my voice with my readers, while ensuring that even if just for a couple hundred words, people are listening to what I have to say.
To all of you who believe that writing isn’t for you, I encourage you to try again. I’m not saying you have to enroll in some crazy upper-division English class, but maybe just write out some of your thoughts. Take a pen to some paper, write a creative story or a personal narrative, and allow your mind to put words on the page in front of you.