I’ve been writing, or trying to write, a whole lot these days. It was going really well when I started writing this blog, thinking about myself and looking into where I am at as a person.
But often I have so much rattling around in my head that I want to post in my other blogs. I have thoughts about politics that I want to write about. Or I want to write about why I believe the things I believe and what exactly I even really do believe about the God I believe in. But for some reason when I sit down to right about those things I end up trying to get myself into an “academia” mode and mindset, and I try to use perfect grammar and big fancy words and it takes me forever.
And I think that’s one area where college hurt me. Because when I write I write for myself, and so I can understand and process. But when I try to write “academically” I end up writing for someone else, as if I’m still writing for a grade. In college I got pretty good at writing to each individual professor. I knew one professor preferred papers about law or politics, while the other about pop culture or the media, or whatever. I knew which style of citation to use for each professor and so on.
I was always confused why academic writing was such a big deal. It’s much harder to say what you want to say if you have to write so professionally and pay such an insane amount of attention to detail. How can you write with your own voice when you have to write in that style? Isn’t it saying something that most textbooks and class-readings are about as dull as watching paint dry? I would be and am amazed that these PhD’s have such amazingly brilliant ideas and things to say, but could manage to say it in such an awfully boring way. If I spent nearly ten years to get a doctorate I think it would be about something I’m pretty darn passionate about, but I don’t see that in academic writing. Maybe the passion is there, but you’d have to be a PhD yourself to see it.
The paper I received the highest praise on at Drake I wrote more like I do here, I read and researched for weeks and I sat down and twelve pages on social media and elections came spilling out and then I went back and meticulously cited all the research I’d done. In my peer review session my good friend told me she thought I would get a low grade because it wasn’t a very “academic” paper. After we turned in our papers that professor gave me the “best paper of the semester” award and a cool keychain to boot! Because I wrote something I was passionate about, and conveyed that passion even if it didn’t conform to a traditional academic essay style.
And I don’t say that to brag or anything, just to say that I want to write how I want to write. When I write about politics I do it to help myself take a stand on an issue and help others to understand an issue; my blogs aren’t written for a grade or to maybe get published in an undergrad journal.
I think I would’ve enjoyed being an English major because I feel like you would have more freedom to write in your own voice. I almost did major in English but people always said “What’ll you do with that!?” But I don’t think a Rhetoric major is any more helpful for a job.
When I write about God, I want to write about Him so I can understand Him, and maybe help others to as well. I don’t want to spend days laboring over a writing and then still not post it. If I have something to say I want to say it. I want to understand what I believe, I want to be sure of why I believe it. I can’t do that if I keep trying to force my writing to fit into an academic mold.
I wonder if anybody will read this far. I guess this especially has way more to do with myself than anything. I just started thinking about why I seemed to have writers block and seemingly paradoxically I had to write this to understand why.
I also typed this on my iPhone cause I’m in bed and I don’t want to get out from under the covers to get my MacBook from upstairs. All this to say, as I’ve said a million times – I think I’ll be writing more – but this time i mean it, because I’m actually realizing why just saying that never worked before.