There is a time in every person’s life where they experience an epiphany. For me, one of the biggest epiphanies I ever experienced pertains to writing. At the beginning of this school year, coming to UNCC straight out of high school, my only writing experiences had been those restricted by the confines of a standard curriculum and format of writing. These restrictions even flowed over into my first semester in college and I was asked to write “five-paragraph essays”. It wasn’t until this semester and being enrolled in UWRT 1103 with Professor Cook that my writing became much more than that. It’s not all just format, length and criteria, but it’s context, purpose, and interpretation that make a great piece of writing.
This semester, I am taking four courses plus a lab. In one of these courses, an LBST course, I was asked to write a five-paragraph essay. This was about three and a half weeks into the semester and I had just become so “enlightened” by the fact that the five paragraph essay and thesis statements and all that were really just wrong to require. I remember my LBST professor saying “Okay so for this assignment you will be writing a simple five paragraph essay for your research on the Health Care System.” As soon as she said it I remember I got all hot and frustrated and I went from super distracted to all of the sudden being to tuned in but out of shock and disagreement. I felt like a spoiled kid whose parents had just flipped a switch and decided not to allow them to have such luxuries any more. Instantly, my hand shot up in the air and I was ready to protest or suggest instead of such a standard format, if we could just have content requirements instead of format requirements. But then I remembered what we had talked about in UWRT earlier that week. We discussed that as much as we would like writing to be about what we it to be, and include lots of personality in our writing and what not, sometimes the contextual part of writing includes a very narrow and fact based criteria. One form of writing that is appropriate for one assignment may not be as appropriate for another. “Good writing” I believe should really be looked at more as “appropriate writing”.
Since further developing as a writer and student in UWRT 1103, I have reevaluated that moment over and over in my head. It still frustrates me and that assignment itself still frustrates me. When it comes down to it, I really don’t enjoy standardized writing anymore. While in high school I considered myself to be a “good writer” I had mastered the five-paragraph essay. But now, I realize just how limited I was and that since learning what I know now about writing, I have been able to place myself in a specific writing community. I would consider my new style of writing to be highly expressive and well articulated, something I was never able to say before. Also I have been able to enjoy the writing process. There are so many aspects of writing that I can see now that I was never able to see before. Such as context, contrast, narrative vs. reflection, analytical vs. expressive, and what it truly means to be a good writer. All of these things influence my current standpoint on writing and I have fully learned to appreciate writing in a whole new light.
If there is one thing I can take away from this experience with writing, its what it takes to make create a good piece of writing. As long as an individual has correct grammar and spelling, articulates the information necessary in the assignment thoroughly, and meets the length requirements of the assignment, there shouldn’t be many other restrictions. Even though there are times when simple facts or analytical collections need to be expressed, one can do so in their own unique way of writing reflective of them that still captures the reader’s attention. Writing should be a form of personality, like art. Individuality should always be able to shine through in a persons writing regardless of the topic. As far as things like the five-paragraph essay go, as “good writers” we know there would probably be a better way to write about something than through that. However, another important part of being a good writer is being able to adapt and articulate certain tasks in writing even when we don’t want to, in order to accomplish a given task. I believe that writing should never be something we look at as a chore. Rather, it should be a creative outlet no matter what the purpose. Writing is limitless and should never be taken for granted. After reflecting upon everything I’ve learned thus far in the class and throughout the course of the semester, I cant say I have truly grown as a writer and know that I will continue to grow as the semester progresses.