Reigniting a Passion for Writing
February 1, 2016
By Zenab S., Writing Tutor
Somewhere along the way, it seemed like writing started to become less exciting. Maybe it was because I didn't have ample opportunity to write poems or personal narratives in my chemistry classes, or maybe the boredom resulted from the fact that my psychology classes' devotion to mastering the art of APA style outweighs opportunities for assignments that call for beautiful, imagery-filled prose. Whatever the reason, however, I started feeling like writing was more of a chore rather than an amazing chance for creativity and expression I once so lovingly viewed writing to be.
Last semester, I realized that I had a problem. Each time I got another essay assignment in a philosophy or theology class, I would try to put off the assignment for as long as possible. Then, when I finally started working, I would waste hours and hours staring at my computer screen, trying to find words, and rewarding myself with a study break each time I successfully completed the addition of one sentence to a seemingly endless paper.
Why did I feel this way about writing, though? I used to so look forward to writing essays and communicating my thoughts about a topic, any topic really, on paper. Why did I not want to write anymore?
When I finally asked myself these questions, I found an answer that made me a bit sad at first: I realized that I was bored with writing.
I used to think of writing as such a fun and exciting thing. It wasn't even just the typically fun, creative writing that I loved; I loved all writing, from scientific papers to theology reflections. I loved writing because I knew that I had the power to find all the words I needed and then to use those words to communicate my thoughts about anything in a meaningful way. I loved that writing gave me the opportunity to know that, no matter who was reading something I had written, my audience would hear my voice. How exciting is that?! I especially loved thinking about just how powerful words can be.
Why then, with so much to love about writing, why was I unmotivated? The answer was that rather than thinking of these essay assignments as opportunities for creative expression, I thought of them as burdensome assignments. Sure, writing about the similarities and differences between Thrasymachus and Socrates' philosophical perspectives is not the most personally riveting topic to me. But, that does not mean that writing about the topic has to be boring; I can still have fun with it. I realized that my attitude in my approach to writing was not what it once used to be. If I went in to an essay already dreading it and anticipating how mundane of a time I would have trying to compose my ideas, I would not set myself up for success. Instead, I realized that I need to understand that no matter how unexciting a writing assignment may seem, it is still just as important as the topics I'm naturally drawn to because the to-my-eyes dull assignment grants me the same opportunity for creative expression.
So now, each time I feel myself mindlessly adding words to sentences to make sure a reflection paper reaches its page quota or starting to get bored with what I'm writing, I take a step back and think about how I can make it fun again. I find a silver lining, something in the assignment that I am interested in. The silver lining can even be something as small as how writing a summary about a scientific article pertaining to a genetics mutagenicity test is actually so cool because real scientists really did this experiment in a real lab and got these real results. Or thinking about the fact that even though I might not personally believe right now that the reflection paper I am writing is especially riveting or relevant to my life, I might just have the chance to recall my writing one day and have this knowledge come to my advantage. Maybe you, too, as a writer, really don't want to work on finishing a psychology paper, but maybe thinking about and reflecting on your thoughts will help you find out something unique about yourself and your perspective. Rather than thinking about the mundane aspects of writing, try to think about the things about it that you love and use that to guide the smile back on your face and to guide your pen across your paper. Because, even though there may not be a right way to write, making sure you have fun and connect with your topic is what writing is all about.