Myth: You’re A Bad Writer
Written By: Rachel Fisher
First of all, you are not a bad writer. Second of all, everyone has room to develop. Writers produce writing in a variety of different ways, and all writing pieces have room for improvement. The University Writing Center is a resource to help with this development while keeping every client as comfortable as possible. I still make appointments with my colleagues because I know my writing still needs development. I even had an appointment for this blog post. That being said, here are some tips to get out of the “bad writer” funk until you can come see us:
- Think Positive. Anyone can write! Sometime we don’t even realize how much writing we do every day. Think about Facebook or any social media post. That is writing. Do you send text messages? Well, that is writing too. Writing demonstrates your ability to communicate, which is something we do most every day. There is nothing worse than getting tied up in negative thoughts, and so thinking positively while writing is essential for clear communication. Sometimes we all need a little push to get started or someone to reciprocate ideas. We all struggle sometimes even with small things like word choice.
“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”
– Stephen King
- Pen and paper are your friends. Part of thinking you are a “bad writer” can include forming writer’s block from the fear of not being good enough. Sometimes inspiration is hard to come by; however, there are some things you can do to jump start your brain. Free writing is a great exercise that allows your brain to flow with all the freedom it wants. Grab a piece of paper and a pencil (or computer depending on preference) and just write. Write about your day, tomorrows events, stressful situations, a creative story, or even doodles. Hopefully this exercise will help you see what you can produce in writing and get ideas flowing.
“To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.”
- Get your words on the page. The only way to become a great writer is to write. When you are ready for the actual assignment, don’t stop writing. Just like you practiced in freewriting, get all your words on the paper even if you misspell words or sound “drunk.” It is okay! Revision can come later. Often times our brains think faster than our fingers can write or type, and so getting all your thoughts down ensures a better overall flow when it is revision time.
“Write drunk; edit sober.”
- Be careful not to edit in the revision stage. The revision stage is the time to rewrite sentences that sound awkward or make you feel like a “bad writer.” Don’t worry about small details, like grammar, just yet. Instead, make sure the purpose and audience are clear and concise. Editing before revising only contributes anxiety in thinking poorly of your writing. Editing verb tenses and adding descriptive words may be a waste of time if content revision comes last. Why add so many edits if they no longer seem necessary after revision? Spend this time looking at content, where further elaboration might be needed, point of view, supporting ideas, show versus tell, etc.
“Don’t say ‘the old lady screamed.’ Bring her on and let her scream.”
- Make an appointment. Consultants love working with all kinds of writers with different perspectives. Every consultant and client has a different perspective, and we can learn about them together. Consultants will help students in any writing stage and with writing development overall. Ultimately, we want to facilitate conversations where students learn about personal writing processes and can apply those findings in the next assignment.
“Next time you feel concerned about writing, remember that even professional writers have consultants and need a little push sometimes.”