If there’s something I’m highly insecure about, it would be my writing. I’ve never won any awards, nor have I been recognized in my field for being the best damn writer that walked with cute shoes. My parents aren’t exactly from the creative field – my father is licensed chemical engineer, and my mother is a political science graduate – so there, nothing in my carefully constructed DNA hinted at creativity.
School didn’t help much either. I’ve never had a GREAT grade for writing – more of just okay. And oh how we hate it when people tell us something is okay – coz it doesn’t describe anything. I’ve never written for any kind of school organ, although during my highschool years, I did manage to “publish” a newsletter for our school bus – it ran for 2 editions, and I eventually ran out of lunch money to have it photocopied to distribute to my busmates.
I did take a creative writing elective in senior highschool and I have to say, my confidence in writing gained momentum because of my professor. She didn’t tell you your writing sucked – whereas other teachers condemned, she encouraged. She was passionate about writing and she shared this with us – and that kind of behavior, set upon a disgruntled, unguided 15 yr old girl can be contagious. So even if my writing did suck, I still wrote anyway. In my 26 years of life, I’d have to say she knew exactly what her profession demanded of her – she didn’t just check papers, or exams, she taught, she motivated, and she was exactly what a teacher should be (she doesn’t teach anymore though – too much politics in school, blegh!).
College was fun – well the first few terms! My professors in my minor subjects were easy to please – just write something decent and you’d get a 4.0(the highest score in my university). However, while majoring in communication arts, my department professors rejected my “attempt” to get into the journalism program (although I think I would have DIED if I had to answer to THAT certain prof – my professors in the Photography department were, and I still believe, the best even if they did give me a difficult time – and they didn’t have to brag about it every first frigging day of class). So instead of getting better in writing, I learned photography, and to this day, I have no regrets getting into the program. I love photography for all the yellowness it caused my garments while in the darkroom.
So you see, there wasn’t really any time for me to improve my writing in school. It changed when I landed a job as a content writer. As a content writer churning out articles every week for topics I have absolutely no interest on, I got to practice on my writing. I did a bit of self study too – reading is a writer’s bestfriend. To be a better writer, a wise man said, you have to be knowledgeable on a lot of things. Not a rocket scientist, but knowledgeable.
Now to develop a writing style or a voice requires more hard work, and one can get caught up in a pool of insecurity (I suck, my writing’s not good enough, I am not as good as Edgar Allan Poe, or as witty as some other writer, nobody gives a fudge what I write boohoooo), but further reading says, it’s good to aspire to become as great as Shakespeare or Sugarman, but one should always aspire to be one’s self when writing. Insecurity can be our worst enemy and best friend. Our worst enemy because it can completely halt whatever improvements we’ve set upon ourselves, and our best friend because for some people, seeing all those obstacles and self-demeaning notions can spark passion and aspire anyone to become better(although it takes a certain kind of person to see past all the insecurities).
I’m not writing this to let you know that I’m the best damn writer this world has seen walking with cute shoes, but everytime I write an article, I know nobody can produce what I’ve produced – because I wrote that, not someone else. Whatever style, direction, architecture of sentences my writing has, it’s entirely mine. I’m not the best writer – but I aspire to be – and I really don’t want to tell the world, hey notice me, I’m a writer, because I don’t want to be defined by what I do for a living, or my passions (since I’m passionate about a lot of things) – neither is this cop-out, an excuse for all my writing blunders in the past.
I know I have a long way to go – so everyday I try to write something, either by blogging, or when I’m struck by inspiration I just start scrawling on my notebook. After all, practice makes perfect. I read and read and read (and if ever this isn’t the real world as defined by The Matrix, I’d happily take the bitter pill to reality and have those ebooks zapped into my brain just like that!).
I wasn’t born into creativity, so I make do with what I have and just augment in the process. Let’s put it this way: Faking it till you make it is good, but practicing till you make it is even better.
To quote Daphne Gray-Grant, on her article in MarketingProfs:
“You’re you. You’re unique. And there’s great value in that.”