Writing as Discovery

The most recent assignment we’ve had, “Teaching Writing as a Process Not a Product”, has me thinking about writing and how I’ve been taught to write. As we were discussing in class the other day, we are often so grade-oriented that we forget the importance of learning to learn — of acquiring knowledge. Being an English major, I obviously enjoy reading and writing and the insight they can provide into essentially any aspect of life. After declaring my major in English, I decided that the best concentration for me to pursue would be Professional Writing, as I’ve always enjoyed the logical, organizational aspect of composing a document. This article has led me to wonder, though, am I limiting myself? In this concentration, every assignment I am given has strict requirements–from the topic to the font to the margins, everything about these assignments is laid out like a template for me to simply fill in. This structure is what I’ve always liked and is why I chose this major in the first place. When given a choice of any topic, I find myself stressing out over what to choose and second guessing myself constantly once I’ve finally chosen one. Now I’m wondering if this means that I don’t trust myself enough to form an opinion or make a decision. I’d rather have someone tell me exactly what I should be thinking about and exactly how I should present my thoughts rather than thinking for myself. I wonder if the appreciation I have for this structure is just a part of my Type A personality or, as Murray puts it, am I constantly stifling my ability to discover?

-Kendall Manning

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