This week we focused on writing two essays as part of our project, ours were on structure and symbolism. I not going to lie, these essays were not fun or easy to write. I really highly dislike writing comparative essays so that one was much harder to me. I believe I have mentioned before that I enjoy writing, when it is on a topic I actually want to write about, this was certainly not that. It was nicer to do in partners because I think I would've been lost without Aliyah and vise versa. However, the chart more confused us than helped, and it took us a while to really get into a groove. Also she was gone our last say and so was Ben, that kind of sucked. I think more time would've been helpful. Ultimately I think we did pretty well, I'm happy with both of our essays so far. I'm even more happy that it is almost over. We also continued with creative writing which I was excited about but I was really struggling to find something interesting to write about. I am hoping there are more fun and interesting prompts like the “They shoot the white girl first” one that I used last marking period. I couldn't think of anything so I ended up attempting to write a poem because as I discussed in a previous blog, poem writing is a weak point for me and I am trying to improve on that. I tried but honestly I don't like it and I think it could be a thousand times better. I didn't expect it to be perfect because I know it is not what I am good at but I don't like doing work I think is mediocre so it was a challenge to come out of my creative writing anti-poem shell. I am happy that I challenged myself but I’m kind of counting on Ben to give me some really good short story prompts.
This week James Jackson came in to speak to us about his writing, how he got started and his writing process. I thought this was very helpful because he talked about how he was very unsure of this, about how people told him he sucked at it, and about how hard it was for him to build up the courage to realize he was going to be criticized. He talked about how only a small percentage is even going to like the kind of book you're writing anyway, and then everyone is a little different and everyone likes different things. He said that you should never let one person's bad comment or review discourage you from doing what you love. There are always going to be people who hate you or hate your writing or hate themselves so they feel the need to be mean without reason. Those people don't go away but remember that there are also going to be those who really like your work, those who really care about you, and those who believe you can do whatever you set your mind to. This sounded a bit cheesy at first but he is right, there are so many people in this world that several are bound to hate you or your work no matter what, you need to get past that in order to succeed. It was nice to hear him talk about how sad his first bad review made him and how he got over it. Also I know this doesn't relate to my point but he had a very fun accent.
This week we spent a lot of time this week revising and editing our work, starting with the poem analysis and then moving to our personal creative writing. It was difficult at first to figure out how to critique my own writing unless I just completely hated the whole thing (my poem analysis) in which case I just wanted to write that I didn't like the whole thing. It was hard to pinpoint certain things I liked about my poem analysis because I certainly am my biggest critic and could list off things I hated but struggled to think of things I thought I did well. Ben helped me pull some things out that weren't the worst, but it took me a while to search for and find things I felt good about. With my own creative writing I still found it quite hard to critique because other than spelling errors and minor grammar mistakes, it wasn't something I threw together it was a story I had written, I almost felt like I needed someone elses input because I didn't know what to say about my own story. This week was a challenge because I am not the best at critiquing myself without just telling myself it sucks, it was helpful to work on and learn a way to critique myself in a way that can actually improve my writing. I can certainly still improve but it was a great start to bettering my writing skills, and being able to edit and critique my own work.