Aside

Pondering about writing

What personality traits do you think it takes to write creatively? Journaistically, academically?

To write creatively, one needs an idea, passion, and a bit of imagination. Journalistically, it takes control, pragmatism, and roots in reality. To write effectively academically, all of these things must be present. Passion or drive are essential in all types of writing.

 

What writing skills do you think it takes to write creatively, journalistically, academically?

Creative writing provides one the unique opportunity to be, well, creative in their work. Standardized forms and language aren’t as important as they are in other forms of writing. Anyone can write creatively, but it takes a certain skill, an unknown something, a talent, to make magic happen on the page. Journalism has a specific purpose, however, and it must follow a language and form that serves its purpose effectively; mastery of these language skills is essential. Creative writing does call for a need to make the form work for the ideas, but it allows flexibility and imagination.  Academic writing calls for focus, critical thinking and analytical skills, and language proficiency. Like journalistic writing, it is important to possess research skills and mastery of citation formats.

Of the work we’ve read to date, is there a piece that you think successfully blends at least two of the above three ways to write (creatively, journalistically, academically)? Why so or not? Will writers of the 21st century be expected to write in more than one of the above ways or in other ways? Elaborate

Writers of the 21st century likely will be expected to write in more journalistic ways, but I think the journalistic standards will shift in a more commercial direction as they have been in recent years. With the fast-paced, easy-access Internet available to everyone, people expect information to be accessible quickly, which does and will affect quality control of the information. I expect it to go as it has been, with more emphasis on getting information out there first, before other sources, because everyone needs to get hits, which help garner and maintain advertisers, and ultimately yield revenue. Everyone needs money. I expect creative commercial fiction will keep its place. It’s entertaining and doesn’t call for much thought, only slightly more work than watching TV. And I don’t think I need to argue TV’s popularity.

What kind of writing do you expect to do post-Cal?

If I don’t find myself in Op-Eds here and there, I will definitely pursue creative writing. I haven’t quite found that sweet spot in my writing yet, but I will continue to write until I do. I know it’s there. If all else fails, I will research the psychology behind the popularity of books like Twilight, and then I’ll try to make tons of money, selling my soul and exploiting people’s bad tastes. I could probably live with it if it worked out, but it’d be pretty soul-crushing if I lowered my standards AND failed.

Tony Norman Article Analysis

Tony Norman’s opinion piece, “Biggest gap in black kids’ learning: parents” defends the teachers, who are being given costly, high-stakes evaluations. Norman argues that any amount of money and the best teachers in the world would not solve the problem. He says the problem starts at home. He supports his point by defending the teachers, claiming that he doesn’t believe educators have it out for their students. However, he says that a black child with an inherent desire to learn will learn despite obstacles such as bad parents, schools, and negative peer pressure. He uses black slaves as an example, who pursued education and literacy despite laws against black people learning. Without much consideration of the other side (parents), he makes the statement that parents should “stop making excuses” and “have to become involved in their children’s education.” He doesn’t make considerations about parents’ situations, which may be “excuses,” but can be limiting and crippling to parents. What about the students whose parents are undeniably involved, but their children just aren’t into education or don’t want to be an outcast in the culture of educational disapproval that seems to burden the black, inner-city community? What about the parents who have to work to keep a home for their children, and it just isn’t realistic for them to be too actively involved in their education? He makes a point that does make sense that certainly almost every parent could achieve, though: attitudes about education. If the parents inevitably have a negative view of education, though, who changes their attitudes? There is no one solution to the problem. Norman does, at the end of the article, encourage a collaboration of parents, educators, and students. Unfortunately, he does not provide how that would look or work, and he seemed to spend most of the article harping on parents instead of encouraging the kind of connection that he writes about in a sentence at the end.

The article overall is lacking. It makes good claims, but it doesn’t seem to provide much to support them. The article is sympathetic to the teachers, and I’m not sure if I agree that the best teachers couldn’t help the issue a little. If students aren’t valuing education, is it not in part that the place of learning, for them, is a negative environment? Are all teachers really trying to get through to these children, or have many of them given up? I couldn’t answer that, but it is something worth considering. For every dedicated teacher with the best intentions, there is surely a jaded person who has checked out. The focus on parents is somewhat unfair and short-sighted. Parents should support education in any way they can, but it isn’t always that easy. My point-of-view is unchanged, but I do hope to hear more about a collaboration as an entire culture to improve the educational prejudices that hold back potential scholars and socially responsible individuals.

Aside
Writing, most of the time, seems like second nature to me at this point. Unfortunately, that hasn’t always been the case. In high school, writing a paper was dangerously formulaic, and the assignments were brief. When I came to college, I was met with my first assignment that didn’t quite match up to the shallow template provided to me in my high school English classes. Instead of the standard five paragraph essay that was simply about something, I had to write an argumentative piece about 10 pages long. It was intimidating with the lack of writing instruction that was provided to me in high school, even though my English courses were Honors-AP. 
 
From my experience at my university working with student writers over the years, I have noticed that many students, and not just freshmen, do not know hot to properly compose an argumentative piece or do not understand many writing conventions that most professors reasonably expect them to have acquired in high school.
 
 
Composition classes saved me, but I had a knack for language that made writing come a bit more easily. 
 
 
To talk about this issue, I could interview high school students, teachers, composition professors, and current student writers at the university. I could research using databases to find scholarly articles published by professors and high school teachers as well. Searching for printed works on the issue is a possibility as well, though not ideal.To write an opinion piece on the issue, I would explain the issue first. Then, I would provide my thoughts on the issue and how I think it could be improved. In a narrative version of this piece, I would possibly tell a story of a particular student’s experience in the area of composition struggles. In a magazine article on this issue, I might try an angle about the PSSAs that many students have taken recently, and how they are potentially not an accurate measurement of students’ writing ability at the college level and beyond.
 
An opinion piece would be much easier to write, but it would be limited by my lack of experience compared to, say, a professor or someone with higher qualifications to talk about writing and students’ abilities. A narrative would be entertaining, though it would be too isolated to make enough of a statement about the issue. The magazine article would be a great way to combine some elements from all of them while appealing to something relevant to a larger audience.
 

Welcome!

Writing about writing when you can’t seem to write what you want to write about just feels right, right? In this blog, I wish to relate my frustrations, my inspirations, and my interactions with writing and writers. Fellow writers are welcome to read and relate and relay their own stories if they feel inclined. Sometimes, writing about writing is the best way to get into the spirit of writing. Let’s get into the spirit and ditch the muse who abandons us seemingly too often!

Writer's block.

Writer’s block.