The Torment of Writing

Op-Ed on The Michigan Daily  This is an Op-Ed I wrote for the Michigan Daily that recently got published. I think the best way to describe it is “Oh she went there”.

As a collective whole, we have all decided that graduation is a time for people to look back on their lives up to this point and their time in school. I’m not arguing against it, but I also am conscious of the fact that endings are usually beginnings, and that most work is an ongoing process that is never done except for when it’s done. (like, ~death~, which- yikes!)  So I thought that this blog would be an appropriate place  to talk about a few things from my time at the School of Public Health.  I have gotten a specialization in Health Communication, worked  for the Media and Communications Office, written for the SPH student blog, written for the PHAST blog, written for the Michigan Daily and contributed to Findings our alumni magazine and written countless assignments in different writing styles. What have I learned?

Well writing is still difficult. Writing will always be a strenuous process, as any writer will tell you. The desire to write comes naturally to me, it’s my 2nd favorite way to express myself (the first way being talking, as anyone who knows me will tell you) and it is so freaking hard for me. Because to write something good is to essentially torment yourself. You write how you feel or what you think, and then realize that the word placement is not good enough, that it doesn’t convey what it is you’re trying to convey. Or it makes you sound like an idiot. Or it isn’t honest enough. Or it’s too honest. As my wise boss Leslie says, often once you get done with something that you’ve written, you hate it. Because you’ve  gone over it so many times, tweaking and replacing and scratching out and deleting that you hate it. Even though you know it’s good. Or maybe not that it’s even any good, but that it does the job, it meets the goal. It says what it needs to say. So I’ve learned that struggle here in grad school, that writing something that does the job will always be difficult. This of course is also a blow to the ego, because as a person who fancies themselves as a writer you think to yourself “well shouldn’t all the golden words that flow from my mighty pen always fall on welcome ears and cheered by the multitudes??” and lo, it is not so. And in those moments, it’s comforting to consider the fact that classic authors like Harper Lee or Hemingway all have their critics and multitudes who do not find their words wonderful, despite their much beloved status. At any rate, I think that I will continue to struggle my way forward as a writer in a professional and private capacity. But I do know that I now have the tools and the resources and confidence to become a better writer, which is something that the program and my work has given me. It’s also nice to know I am a part of a group of individuals that I respect who also face the same writing struggles as I do.

So cheers to my fellow writers, to our present and our future- may your words flow easily and your coffee be strong!


2 thoughts on “The Torment of Writing

  1. thebiobabe,

    Great post. I really like your idea that writing that does its job will be difficult. I enjoy writing as well, but I too become overcritical of my work. It’s nice to relate with other writers on this topic.

    Thanks for the post,

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