Earlier this semester, in a post called “Why I Write,” I explained how I’ve always been enamored with the written word. I wrote about how writing is my primary form of expression thanks to my hopelessly introverted personality. I also explored why writing is so hard for all of us (spoiler alert: there are countless reasons). I explained that I write to know myself, as trite as that may sound. Writing is a form of thinking–I need a pen and paper (or a laptop and a word processor) to organize my scatterbrained ideas.
What I’ve Learned
In the past several months, I’ve learned tons about how I work best as a writer and how I can adapt my writing style and voice to different media. I still struggle with breaking out of the stuffy, academic tone I’ve been trained to use in English papers. (My first version of that sentence contained the word “convey,” for example.) I’d like to think that I’m gradually working towards an accessible blog style. (I mean, let’s face it–I used a GIF in this post. I’m practically a BuzzFeed writer already.)
Before Writing for Publication, I didn’t realize how much of the writing we consume is tailored to fit specific audience needs. Or rather, I knew that intellectually but not in practice. In writing my commentary and review, I had to narrow the focus of my subject to align with the interests and experience/knowledge of my possible readers–without actually knowing much about the people who stumble across my relatively new blog. That’s tough, and not something most beginning writers think about when it comes to online audiences.
After all, an average reader who doesn’t know much about the trans* community probably wouldn’t know what it even means to be transgender versus transsexual, or the difference between someone who’s transgender and someone who crossdresses. Nor would someone who’s never picked up a bodice-ripper know what it means for a fictional heroine to be dubbed “too stupid to live” by the romance reader community.
Why I Still Write
The reasons I listed in my first ever post on this blog still hold true, but with every piece I write, I learn something new about my motivations for writing. That’s how developing a skill works, after all. Since the beginning of my Writing for Publication class (for which this blog was started) I’ve noticed how my writing ideas are often inspired by curiosity. For example, I wrote about pre-med students in “Triage and Tribulations” because I’ve always wondered about the specifics of my pre-med friends’ daily lives and worries. For me, writing that feature was about learning something completely new and arranging all that research into what I hope was an engaging and readable final product.
It was also about empathizing with my subjects, which is one of my favorite parts of writing. When writing about people other than yourself (real or fictional), you get to imagine their circumstances and emotions and try to portray those sensitively.
But the main reason I never get tired of writing, even after sleepless nights hunched over my laptop while trying to pound out a piece before a deadline, is simply that I love it. Something about channeling my creativity onto the page sends a rush of adrenaline through my veins every time. I couldn’t stop myself from writing if I tried.