Linz (linzznil) wrote,

Wrapping up?

My senior year of college was, in a word, humbling. I’d rarely struggled to receive high grades in previous years, and took it as a sign that I was a relatively good writer. I imagined that the brunt work of learning how to be objective and precise would happen early on, and by the time I got close to graduation I'd be honing a well-developed skill. Since writing seemed to come easily to me, I didn't think I had too much ground to cover, really. I knew it would be a lot of work, but I figured by the end of my college career, I’d have a palpable craft under my belt. I breezed through the majority of my classes up through my junior year, fine-tuning my style. I learned the benefit of eliminating passive voice and how putting verbs in place of lackluster adjectives can transform a piece. I felt like I had a pretty good handle on it. Sure, I made improvements here and there and still sought to find my voice, but overall, things were going as planned.

Then came the group workshops.

They say the more you know, the more you realize how little you know. It wasn’t until my senior year that people really dug into my writings and exhumed from my complacent mind all the little faults I hadn’t seen before. Passive voice still crept in, and the bits I stayed up till the wee hours composing reeked of melodrama by the light of day. Getting so many perspectives on my work was like feeling the breeze after the bubble I’d lived safely inside all my life was popped. Now that I’m on the cusp of graduation, I realize that what I’m taking away from my college career isn’t a shiny achievement wrapped up in a bow. It’s more like a toolbox and some rough materials. College has helped me become more effective, but writing will always be a work in progress.

At first I felt a little down on myself, but now this humility excites me. When I read back over my work and see weak spots, I take that as a source of power. Receiving good grades and positive feedback was nice, but now that I’ve had some tough love, I look forward to bettering my work. It may take more elbow grease to create a functional piece now than when I first started out, but that’s because I see so much more opportunity for improvement. Ultimately that means that I’m not satisfied with diluted work; I will keep striving to create something stronger. Whether I continue to write on the side or find a way to do it professionally, I don’t plan to stop. Armed with a critical eye and the array of literary experiences that college gave me, I’m eager to discover what I’m capable of doing when untethered from a syllabus.
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