Online College Journal

Write a reflective essay that contemplates your experience as a writer.  What is your experience with writing so far?  What do you think is your greatest challenge with the writing process?  How do you feel when you write—for instance, are you confident, nervous, or both?  What tools will you need to grow as a writer?

Reflective Essay, Module 1

I have found joy in writing from an early age.  I remember sitting on the sun-warmed stoop of my clubhouse, age nine, composing verses about some crows perched on a power line.  When I was twelve, I undertook writing my own version of Tennyson’s poem, “The Lady of Shallot”.  My attempts to mimic an epic poem made my mother smile, especially the line, “Lancelot was overwrought, when to him her corpse was brought”, but she stifled her laughter and encouraged me to keep writing, but stick to subjects closer to home.  I continued writing poetry until well into my twenties, but eventually stopped.  I grew discouraged by the fact that only about ten percent of my poems still seemed good to me upon being re-read months later.  Most of them seemed trite and fluffy or creaked along on leaden feet.  Besides writing poetry, I have sporadically kept a journal since childhood, and occasionally post in my blog.

When I write, I feel like I’m scratching an itch.  Sometimes I get at the itch right away.  More often than not, I feel like I’m close—so close—to finding that spot that so badly needs scratching, but can’t quite reach.  I think about writing daily.  When my children do something funny or poignant, I compose a paragraph about it in my head immediately.  Unfortunately, I seldom can write it down right away.  When I try to write it down later, I forget the original phrasing and the magic is lost.  I suppose that is my greatest challenge: harnessing the magic even when the original words are forgotten.  Close behind that is finding the time to sit down and do it.  My two children are both under the age of four, and hotly resent anything that vies for my attention.  They have even been known to unplug the computer when I am in the middle of writing a journal entry.  The only time I can really write is after they have gone to bed, and then my husband wants a little attention.

The tools I need to grow as a writer are practice and persistence.  With practice, I can train my brain to recall the exact phrasing of my original mental composition, or choose new phrases that better capture my meaning.  I need the persistence to practice.  I know I should jot down some semblance of my mental compositions and go back to them later.  However, all too often I allow myself to get distracted.  One of my main reasons for attending college is to put myself in situations in which I am forced to write, and write well.  I so long to grow as a writer.  I have a deep, driving need to communicate my thoughts and stories, and writing is my best medium.

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