Getting Started

Drafts were something I was always told to do by probably every English teacher I’ve had. The thing is, I never actually wrote any. The only time I ever truly revised a paper was at the end of my senior year of high school. For my AP Literature class, my teacher made us take six of our essays and revise them and put it together as our portfolio. The purpose of this assignment was to see how we had grown as a writer over the course of the year. When I went back to my six essays I marked each one up and after revising the were actually better. I thought to myself, what if I actually did this all throughout high school; maybe English wouldn’t have been my worst subject.

When reading Bird by Bird I related to Lamott with the anxiety she faces before writing. When I staring at the blank word document, it feels like I’m never going to be able to complete the assignment. I usually try to get started by creating an interesting first line. Once I get that first line going I can usually complete the introduction. The rest of the process depends on what I am writing about. If it is something I am passionate about, it usually flows from one line to another. It is when I have to write about something that doesn’t interest me that the brakes are put on.

I’ve considered myself a pretty bad reader and writer for most of my life. It has always been something I have struggled with; when I turn a paper in I am usually not all that proud of it, even if I know it’s my best work, it doesn’t compare to other people’s work of my own age. With the sense that I am a bad writer I hardly ever let anyone read what I write; I don’t want to be embarrassed. In fact, the only people I usually let read my work are the people that will be grading it.

I feel like if I had more time to write, not deadline, I may be able to improve upon my writing and produce multiple drafts. Lamott makes multiple points in her piece about being open to help and taking it one step at a time. I find these tips helpful but they’re I tips that are going to be applied over time; no one can change their ways with a snap of a finger.

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