Often, I hear people say they cannot write because they have nothing to say or they are not a “good writer.”
In an English class a few weeks ago, a professor mentioned that to linguists, every time a person speaks, they are speaking in a dialect of the language they are using. This means any time people speak or write they are using their own voices as a way to communicate their stories.
The extra picky grammar rules have to be applied to formal writing, however, that is not all that writing is. Writing can be posting on Facebook about an amazing weekend experience or composing a creative short story.
Whether it is apparent or not, every time people write, they share a piece of who they are and what they stand for. It can even be as simple as the words we choose to use without any conscious thought or the things we repetitively focus on when a writing opportunity presents itself.
The fact is, anyone with a basic understanding of language can write. It does not have to be fancy, and you don’t have to use big words readers may not understand. It just takes the bravery of sharing a piece of yourself with the world around you.
After all, every person has a unique story to tell based on life experiences and the way those life experiences are interpreted. Even if the experiences from person to person differ only slightly, it can make a significant difference in a person’s writing style.
I have known friends throughout my life who were plagued with the belief they could not write or that nothing they wrote was ever good enough. Although their grades on papers did not always reflect it, these friends were some of the most creative people with beautiful writing voices.
One friend who believed she could not write actually ended up writing a silly short story about apples with toes in fourth grade. It was not a complex or serious piece of literature, but throughout the years it made many people laugh so hard they cried, including a high school English teacher.
In my book, that is good writing.
Good writing gives information and tells a story. Making it something pompous and sacrificing the story element for “perfect” grammar can suck the life out of a story.
That is not to say grammar is not important. It helps effectively communicate the story to readers.
However, it should not be shoved down people’s throats so hard they begin to despise writing. As a future elementary education teacher, I know I will have to show my students proper form for writing and teach them about grammar.
I will not let this get in the way of showing them the thrill of being able to express themselves through their writing voices. Grammar and form are tools that allow the writing process to flow smoothly. We need to see past them once in awhile and recognize the voice and story are of equal or greater importance.
The five-paragraph essay setup is just a framework. It is the content that really needs to be allowed to shine through.
Writing is not for some boring or elitist group. It is for everyone. When we use writing to share our stories,
we are giving a new perspective for whoever reads it to consider. Sharing ideas and perspectives through writing can be powerful.
Your story may not reach as large of an audience as the Declaration of Independence, but it could touch people in a way other stories have never been able to. Writing shows people we are not alone.
We are a society composed of writers.
If you do not share your voice, no one else can do it for you.
Chrissy Miller is a sophomore elementary education major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]