Tag Archives: growth

Academic Update: The Fears of My First Residency

Isn't this the cutest piece of truth you ever did see?

Well, so far I have tackled the residency, and I am knee deep into the first practicum of the program. All in all, I am having a wonderful time learning about the craft. It’s not that I am unhappy with education I’m getting. Instead, I am frustrated with myself for not being “as smart as I need to be” while writing. I understand and respect the need for criticism. It is the most helpful tool for professors to give to their students.

On the positive note, I have passed the dreaded Integrative Essay, my first fiction submission, and my first critical essay. I should be ecstatic that I didn’t fail, considering there are only three options: fail, pass, pass with distinction. Somehow, I can’t get over the feeling that just passing is not enough. I know, it’s a Master’s program, it’s more difficult by design. I should be proud of my accomplishments, but I’m not. Maybe it’s the perfectionist inside, striving towards the pass with distinction. Maybe I’m afraid that my writing isn’t good enough. It’s a fluke and I managed to squeeze by until now. All of these concerns are racing through my head as I read my mentor’s criticisms.

However, it is making me feel considerable more helpless about my skills. I’m not as confident in my own writing anymore because I feel like I am losing my ability to write well. The one time I am shown how to vary sentence structure, and I become paranoid about it. Are these sentences fragments? Does this comma go here? Should I end this sentence in this? All of these questions are being answered, but not correctly by my own brain. Grammar and sentence structure should not be the criticisms I’m getting. I’m a native English speaker in addition to enjoying the language. So why is this so damn hard to accomplish?

Sometimes I feel like Jack from The Shining-crazy with nothing good to show for it

Then comes the ego, when I begin comparing my flaws with the others in my group. In my mind, I’m convinced they don’t have these problems. They can’t be suffering from the same ailments as I am. When we move up to more difficult mentors, what happens when I can’t provide the pass? Will I settle for pass rather than strive to get that “with distinction” or will my writing actually improve with practice?

With all of these questions, I barely have room in my head for my writing. Hopefully, after spilling the beans on here I will have the courage to try again. I want to work harder, make myself a better writer, and show the world the ideas I have to offer. I’m just praying that these fears are normal. I’m not crazy over critical because other students have suffered like this.

What are your fears about your writing? Do you struggle with imperfection or attempting to improve your writing? How do you cope?

I know that I may be afraid of what I can and can’t write at the moment, but I will force myself to start writing again. I might take a break, read for pleasure ( I still have the rest of Stephen King’s 11/22/63 to finish), and then come back to my writing with new confidence. I just hopes my confidence doesn’t take too long to find its way back.

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Writing Saves Lives. Seriously, it does!

Who’s heard of the program “Write Your Life”? I didn’t have a clue it existed until I came across this article.

http://www.pe.com/local-news/riverside-county/temecula/temecula-headlines-index/20120211-temecula-write-of-your-life-helps-teens-overcome-challenges.ece

Interestingly enough, it is an instructional program for at-risk teen girls, teaching them how to cope with life and their struggles. Seems like any old youth development program, right? Wrong. The program gives girls who have experienced broken homes or drug abuse a chance to work with mentors, and learn how to express themselves through writing. The girls have a 10 week period where they learn how to write down their feelings in a safe and encouraging environment. In the end, the girls are able to trust their female mentors as they are provided with the encouragement to do more for themselves.

As much as I would have liked this program to be co-ed, I find the outlet the program has chosen to be truly inspiring. The program has found the value in writing that some of us have known all along. For girls AND boys, struggling with difficult situations, writing is a way to get out everything without hurting yourself or others. While some people think writing isn’t difficult or a worthwhile career, to us it is the most fulfilling.

Writing demands us to confront our biggest fears and the flaws of the world around us in order to document it. We don’t just think up a cool story out of nowhere. Most, if not all of the time, writing comes from the author’s own  heart. It is the inner struggle the writer has had to overcome. That ability to overcome those fears comes from writing it down. You can hide your fears in the back of your mind, but once it’s on paper you and everyone that reads it has to face it.

Like a diary that can be therapeutic in relieving you from restless thoughts, writing in general can help build a better you. It teaches you to analyze things from different perspectives (as a writer and reader), and demands of you to sacrifice your blood, sweat, and tears (sometimes) to create a story that people can relate. As a writer, you become more sensitive to the world around you. You may not notice it at first, but sometimes you can perceive life better than the people living it.

Now, these girls want to be lawyers and youth leaders, but the development is the same. They learn to express themselves and what is important to them, so that they can move on to bigger, better parts of their lives. It is admirable for the mentors and volunteers of this program to understand the value writing has in life, just as writer do. It is imperative to understand the complex life we humans live. It is even more important in a world of faceless interactions and people who don’t trust one another to use writing as a way of expression. Not everyone is cut out to be a writer, but that is understandable. But everyone can use writing as a way to understand their own thoughts and their own life in an intimate way.

This quote sums up the reason why writing is good for everyone 🙂

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