Writing has never been a passion of mine. I lack the creativity and interesting story telling that are needed to be successful and entertaining. I can usually carry on an intelligent conversation through writing, but I tend to make countless grammatical mistakes, spelling mistakes here and there, and what I do say is sometimes just mindless jibber jabber. I now realize that I am missing a lot by not knowing how to write more effectively.
I’ve had this problem most of my life, but it took me years to realize it. In fact, all through out elementary and middle school, I thought I was an exceptional speller. I thought I grasped it better than the other kids. It wasn’t until high school that I realized not only was I not that great, but that I made a decent amount of spelling mistakes. That sorta hit my ego hard because of my preconceived notion about my abilities. Truth is, I’ve always had a pet peeve about people who spell poorly. It irritates me beyond no end too. Why? We’ve been writing words since elementary days, we’ve had lots of practice, and yet we continue to make stupid and obvious mistakes. It’s usually okay if you’re chatting on IM and miss a few, but when you’re trying to write a well thought out paper, spelling is usually vital.
So I took a major blow when I realized I, too, had the same problem of which I frequently judge other people. It’s annoying, but at least I’m aware of the problem.
*It’s not spelled consistant, it’s consistent. It’s not occassion, it’s occasion.*
So how did this problem develop?
I think back to when I was younger. I remember when reading wasn’t such a chore. It wasn’t really hard, nor was it all that easy either. But, I usually thought I had it easier than most people. In fact, there were a couple of 6 week periods where I was promoted to an honors type class where all of the smarter kids went to get a higher education. But, I think I remember doing just well enough to keep up and we needed to keep an A or high B average to stay in that class. It was unfair because I felt so privileged to be able to study with those smarter kids then it all was gone the next moment.
In fourth and fifth grade, the realities hit even harder. I remember enrolling in those reading programs, you know the ones that you could go to Pizza Hut and get personal pan pizzas for reading this or that book. The pizza was such a bonus, but the reading was just boring. I would much rather have gone outside to play dodge ball or kick ball, or even just play with friends with toys, than to sit in the library or my room to read a book. By this time, the music television culture was fully developed, Nintendo came out and video games quickly became a priority. I no longer felt compelled to sit down and read books anymore.
Even today, I’d much rather browse the Internet and look at photos or skim articles and stories than sit down and read a book. Well, except Harry Potter. But even that becomes tedious because I’m impatient to know what’s next; or more frequently I’ll begin a chapter and become distracted. I just want to usually get to the point. I hate waiting around, reading every word not knowing when it’s ever going to end. In fact, when I’m into a long chapter in Harry Potter, I tend to look to the beginning of the next chapter to see how many more pages I have to read, usually dreading to see that I have many more pages.
Now people are expecting me to play the blame game, but who can I blame but myself? My parents encouraged me to read. They helped me when they knew I struggled. School couldn’t have totally been the problem because the teachers were there for me, but I never reached out to them I guess. In fact, I challenged myself freshman and sophomore years of high school by purposely enrolling in the AP English courses, and bombed my sophomore year with three Cs throughout the year (3 out of 6 periods in the school year). It was horrible. So, it was about that time I gave up and just settled to be better than most of the regular kids in regular English classes. I was sick of trying and failing. Knowing that I was better than kids less bright than me helped my self esteem more than failing with my peers in the honors courses.
It’s amazing how my desires for knowing the English language have changed. I wouldn’t say I’m that much more interested or anything, but rather that I’m much more aware of my shortcomings. In this age of the Internet, weblogs, journals, e-mail, and every other form of writing all the time, I have little to show for my abilities with words.
I lost my website for over a month in July as I made a slow, painful transition from one web host to another. During this time period, my life changed in many ways. I started a new job, I reorganized my time and priorities and I had plenty about which to write. My digital voice, however, was paralyzed until I made the transition a month later. This is an overwhelming example of how “absence makes the heart grow fonder”.
My education about the English language will be a lifelong lesson, and hopefully I will have opportunities to learn others, too. But I must strive to improve my skills by reading more, being open to new opportunities to write, and learning as much as I can from those who are better at writing than I am. My successes in life will very much depend on my writing abilities from time to time, and hopefully life experiences will change this from a problem to a strength.