essay projects

Easier Left Unwritten: Rewrite 1

Well, this should be fun to rewrite. I wrote it, clicked “public post”, and was immediately unsatisfied. There isn’t much in it. I think I need to beef it up before I trim it down. Live and learn.

This morning, I plopped into my chair, eager to begin my writing practice. I had an amazing thread: students hate writing because they’re forced to write on topics they don’t care about. As I began my work, I couldn’t. With a blank screen before me, I thought about possible hooks, but none seemed solid. I gazed at the comics taped to the edges of my monitor. I fiddled with my cell phone, trying to fix it. Other websites grabbed my attention. Consciously, I wanted to get this done. But when everything is an excuse not to, I think that’s a sign I didn’t want to write.
Apparently, the problem isn’t that students aren’t getting the right topics. I chose this one, but this piece quickly went nowhere. Now, I don’t know which way to take this. Yet another obstacle.
That’s not unusual, that a piece should take its own course. As a writer, it seems right that I should listen. Intuition is often the best guide, and perhaps it should just flow.
As my mind fills with reasons and ideas, I realize that the real problem exists beyond the original scope I had intended. Each obstacle to the completion of this remains separate. Perhaps the real fallacy is that all problems stem from one. Perhaps I shouldn’t have started this practice on meta-writing.
Many people have difficulty writing. Even William Zinsser, former magazine writer and Yale professor, explains his own difficulties in “On Writing Well.” Asked what it was like to be a writer, he responds, “…writing wasn’t easy and wasn’t fun. It was hard and lonely, and the words seldom just flowed.” While scary, I can feel better that the best have it tough as well.
Writing isn’t just difficult because of something; it’s difficult because of everything. While it might be just one skill, many obstacles complicate the process.
I thought I had it beaten already. I had the will to write. Apparently I only had the will to sit down.

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