Posted on February 10, 2019
In my past writing experience, there was a lack of drafting to say the least. Essays were written sometimes days or weeks before a due date, so procrastination was not the culprit, but rather a lack of understanding in how important the drafting process really is. I always had trouble starting my essay, mostly because I felt pressure to get the intro paragraph just right the first time. I often found myself backspacing and typing and retyping 10 or 15 times before my first thought would form: I guess that is a form of drafting, as pointed out in Murray’s essay “The Maker’s Eye”. He claims that some writers have the ability to make hundreds of “invisible drafts” before the actual writing begins. I’m not sure whether this is an ability I possess, or rather just a fear of starting out “all wrong” so I curb my first sentence until it’s something I don’t hate. Reading the essay “Shitty First Draft”, by Lamott gave me a lot of insight into how it is okay, and surprisingly normal that your first thoughts are not the perfect, refined masterpiece that will make up the final draft.
If I had to give myself and others some advice for writing in college, or just for recreational purposes, I would start off by saying that it is important that there is personality to your writing. There is nothing more boring to read than a cookie-cutter essay, and quite frankly, they are so tedious to write. I really enjoy writing, but not when I have to do so with someone else’s voice. That leads to my next point which is, if you can pick a topic, pick something that you love to talk about. Chances are, at least in my experience that if you love to talk about it, doing research on it and writing about it will come just as naturally. A third tip, which is a new thing I will be trying this semester is to just let the flow come uninterrupted, at least in the first draft. This simply means that you should just type whatever thoughts come into your head, regardless of how poorly-articulated they might be at first. My final tip for writing is to enjoy the process, and take pride in the final product. There is joy in every step of refining your piece, including fixing the stupid grammatical mistakes that come with typing way too fast. Just take a deep breath, sit down and let the ideas come. Oh, and a bonus tip from a science major, you should sit up straight when you type: you get better circulation and the annoying hand cramps are less likely to strike.