Recently, while perusing the shelves of Barnes and Noble, I came across a journal. The journal had a beautiful floral cover with the quote by C.S. Lewis, "You can make anything by writing." As a read the quote, I got goose bumps. I was inspired. Here, in my hands was a blank book filled with endless possibilities. I could write anything I wanted on this journal's pages. The pages of the journal were just waiting to be filled with my thoughts, fears, prayers, hopes, dreams, and ideas. I obviously decided to purchase the journal. It is currently sitting on my desk in my dorm room, waiting patiently for me to finish filling up the pages of my current journal and fill up its pages with anything that I care to.
Every time that I read the quote on its cover, I stop and think about its implications. “You can make anything by writing.” It is a pretty exciting idea if you really stop and think about it. Writing is not just for the purposes of completing college research papers for a grade; writing is a wonderful form of self-expression. Whether one is writing a personal journal entry, a prayer, a poem, or a college paper; writing is a way for any individual to communicate whatever it is that they are thinking about. When one takes their writing seriously, and intentionally tries to communicate their thoughts and ideas in clear and correct ways, the outcome is a piece of writing that they can be proud of and that can be shared with the broader community: whether it be the broader academic community or a group of close friends.
Recently, while writing a research paper for my Earth Science class, I found myself, for the first time in a while, really enjoying the writing process. I had taken the time to do research on my topic, and I had intentionally planned out what I wanted to say in each paragraph of my paper. As I was writing, I was realizing that I had learned a lot about a topic that I originally had known nothing about. This research paper was a way for me to not only explore a previously mysterious topic, but to process and communicate all that I had learned about it through the process of writing. I gained a new appreciation for the purpose of my assignment and found myself thankful for the late night of writing and revising to meet the assignment deadline.
Now, I do realize that sometimes I get overly enthusiastic about seemingly trivial things. However, I wonder if there is a way to bring this kind of excitement and enthusiasm about writing to students who perhaps have a fear of writing. I wonder, if students were able to in some small way appreciate writing as a form of communicating their thoughts and ideas, their aversion to it would decrease. I am not saying that all student-writers need to pull a Tom Cruise and start jumping up and down on a sofa in all their excitement about writing, but I am saying that there is a lot more to writing than just writing to complete an assignment or to receive a grade. The process of writing opens up a myriad of opportunities for communication, learning, and expression, and as writing tutors, we should probably seek to encourage our student-writers with all that the process of writing can offer them.