My problem with writing…

I don’t know what it is.  Give me a topic and an audience and I can talk about it for hours.  But give me a forum to write about it and I often have trouble even starting.  I have been trying to start a personal blog for roughly four years now.  I have 10s of posts at various stages of completion, but have never pulled the trigger to actually show the world what I think.  Last night I got to thinking why that is and it dawned on me that we are conditioned this way.

Every writing exercise I have completed to date has been judged.  Essays, papers, reports, projects.  All of these are graded, often harshly, in order to classify thoughts according to a curriculum, message, or third party goal.  Free thoughts are often critiqued which in my opinion discourages the activity in general.  Why would we say what we are thinking if it is going to be attacked?

I would not propose that critique is not required.  It helps us clarify our message, hone our skills and promote communication.  I just think that the manner in which we do it is flawed.  I feel that communication skills should be made a priority in our schools.  The growing trend to self directed learning and job training is horrendous.  Young people need to understand the importance of community and communication.  The growth of social networking technologies in business I think reiterates this fact.

So I guess my problem really is not with writing.  It is more of a problem with how writing is encouraged and taught to us form a young age.  Be that as it may, something still has to be done about it, so where do we start?

1 Response to “My problem with writing…”

  1. 1 Alex Willis
    2010/02/09 at 18:03

    Looks good to me, dude. From where I’m standing, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

    As for the relationship between grading and free-thinking: You have to think of writing in the education system as like science — there is an established way of doing things, but it is not an exclusive way of doing it. The established way of doing things leads to known results, much as accepted scientific methodology does.

    Which is not to say that such systems are exclusive, or irrefutable. Indeed, as someone who has studied writing throughout the ages, I can say with certainty that “rules” change as often as the decades do.

    So if any of your teachers ever said to you that your writing was “wrong”, they weren’t good teachers. Combine that with the fact that most teachers simply don’t have the time to adjudicate the innovation of an entirely new system of writing proposed by students, and sometimes you’ve got the recipe for a proscriptive and limiting way of communicating writing’s potentials. But to say that writing is “not clear” or “not good”, is a perfectly reasonable criticism.

    I think you might find schools very different places now than when we were in elementary or junior high. From what I understand, there is more encouragement of free writing. But I don’t know if that will actually facilitate a change.

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