–John Paul Jones
One of the things I have found incredibly enjoyable is to look back on pieces of writing that I wrote some time ago. This is interesting because tomorrow I won't be the same person as I am today, and today I am not the same person as I was yesterday. Although these changes are minute, they do occur and looking back years (or even months) to see what I have written is a riveting experience. I know, in the future, when thinking of eighth grade, I will look back to my blog where this change (although it has only been months) is already apparent. I can't help but to think about my changes as a writer this term.
In order to tell the tale of how I went from a writer who produced choppy strings of words and knew nothing about punctuation, to where I am now as a writer who produces only semi-choppy strings of words (that occasionally flow nicely) and knows a little bit about grammar, I need to tell you where I started. I believe that my writing journey began when I started to read. In preschool I, as well as my peers, saw no need to learn how to read. I was getting along just fine without reading so when my mom tried to teach it to me I resisted. She came up with a program called "reading workshop" and she sold it to me by making it seem like the best thing in the entire world *spoiler alert* it was. This "reading workshop" transformed me from a toddler who saw no point in reading into a reader that no book was safe from. Whether it was The Magic Treehouse or The Secrets of Droon when I was younger, or more recently, Roots by Alex Haley and the Mississippi v. Darren Wilson Grand Jury Transcript. I have enjoyed almost every book I have ever picked up, but my favorite genre of all time has been fantasy novels. For the next eight or so years after I discovered written language, I was never without a book to dive into during my free time.
After I felt that I had gotten the hang of reading, I attempted my first book. In second grade I set out on a quest to write (by hand) the tale of six children (each character was based off of my best friends) who were orphaned after an earthquake had wiped out civilization while they were at school. These children would inherit magical powers as they fought for survival in what I now would describe as a post apocalyptic world. I attempted an "updated" version in third grade where different friends were used as main characters. In fourth grade we made a weekly newsletter where I experimented with many topics, and in fifth grade I attempted multiple short stories, all of which had to do with magic. Fifth grade was probably the year in which I read the most, with one hundred and ten books under my belt during the school year. After fifth grade, increased school work, as well as other factors began to draw this golden age of reading to a close, but I still read whenever possible. Sixth and seventh grade merited very few attempts at creative writing or at learning grammar as I.S. (Integrated Studies) had us writing papers about social studies instead of what we were crafting our imagination (which I had no problem with as I found this area of writing very intriguing).
This year, after a fantastic trip to Windsor Mountain where I felt that our entire class bonded together, we came back to Fenn and created a blog. I didn't know much about blogs, but I went to work and crafted a green blog with a forest theme that I really liked. I wrote my first two blog posts with a fair amount of ease and thought I was off to a great start. Over the next month I wrote one blog post a day, and then slowed down to an average of one every other day. Every blog post was a learning experience and I believe I have gotten as close to perfection as possible on a few of the pieces in my portfolio (although every time I reread these posts I find an imperfection I must fix). I have spent hours and hours on blog posts (working on the format, endlessly editing them and, of course, crafting them) and I know that I will never be finished working on my blog as my classmates and I continue to strive for perfection. I have had many memorable writing experiences in this past term. One of these was my first podcast. At a lengthy nine minutes it is hardly short or to the point, but it is a start and something I hope to do more of in the future (especially in the winter term). The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is a timeless classic that we read and wrote about. I enjoyed crafting an essay about the major themes in this riveting novel. These are just two, out of many standout points in the past term.
I look now at how much I have grown as a writer. Fifty blog posts through the year, I now understand grammar and punctuation like I never thought was possible (although I still have a long way to go). "Practice makes perfect." A quote that has been uttered thousands of times to children making a first attempt at sports or to a student struggling with math. I find that in no place is this quote more true than it is in writing. If you fail to practice writing, you will fail when you try to write. However, if you practice daily, the blunt tool of the keyboard will transform into a toolbox of opportunity. From this toolbox you can create vivid scenes with words that are rarely used and you can tell the reader exactly how you would say something if you were to read it aloud through punctuation and italics. For me, this is why writing is special. It allows you to communicate precisely to people that you would have never had any contact with if it weren't for your written message.
Another thing that is fantastic about writing is that anyone can do it. It is as simple as connecting a keyboard, uncapping a pen, sharpening a pencil or even drawing in the mud. So as I look at the once blank page now filled with my thoughts in the form of words, I wonder where I would be if I wasn't willing to try something new. What if I never tried to read? What if I never tried to write? What if we were all afraid to try something new? I feel that a fantastic way to go through life is to meet any new opportunity or experience presented to you with enthusiasm and a warm smile. If you do this, it will allow you to the best you possibly can be in everything you try or do. So as the sun has gone down I reflect on how many new things I have tried and how much I have learned over the course of the fall term. I look forward to what is left of my experience at Fenn and to the growth and new opportunities the rest of the year will present to me, as a writer and as a person.