Lesson 7: Finding the True You!
Knowing yourself and how that affects your writing
- To explain the principles of knowing oneself
- To illustrate how this can be used in writing
- To enumerate the pros and cons of writing in one’s own voice
Quick Navigation through the Lesson 7:
[gview file=”http://www.professays.com/wp-content/uploads/Lesson-7.pptx” height=”380px” width=”530px” save=”0″ cache=”0″]
Writing is all about self-expression and getting your message across as accurately as possible. Given this, it is of utmost importance that you learn about yourself. This will give you an idea not just of what you want to express, but how to best express it. Below, we will be outlining steps to finding the true you—and how this can help you become a better writer.
It sounds simple enough—and yet after years and years of study, it seems that we still have difficulty defining what it is, exactly, to be yourself.
It is crucial to know ourselves—at least to the best of our abilities. It affects everything: the way we act, how we talk to people, and of course, the manner in which we write. Oscar Wilde said, “Only a fool knows himself.”
This means that it is impossible to fully know ourselves because we are always changing—always being altered by everyday experiences. However, it is important to know as much as we can so that we can retain what is good for us and improve what isn’t.
David Foster Wallace, who is regaled as the golden boy of 90s literature had this to say on the matter: “And of course, you end up becoming yourself.” The important thing, Wallace said, is that everyone becomes themselves: life is a process. Outlined below are a couple of steps we can take that will help you find the true you.
This is an exercise that is often utilized in writing workshops. It was also used by early psychologists like Sigmund Freud—they called it the Free Associations Method. For a set period of time (say, five minutes) you write down whatever comes into your head, whether or not it makes sense. This helps you figure out what you want to say. It also reveals patterns of ideas and speech which you may not know you exhibited. This can help with your writing.
Establish a routine.
Various scientific studies have shown that people perform a task better if they do it at the same time, everyday. For example, if you go jogging at 9:00 AM every day, you will be better at jogging than if you went jogging at 9:00 AM one day and 4:00 PM the next. Identify what time is best for you to write and write at that time every day.
List your interests.
What is it that you want to write about? What excites you? What would you be interested in researching about? List these down so that it’s easier for you to identify what it is you would like to write about.
While your interests are important, it’s also good to get interested in new things. This helps add new elements to your work. You’ll also learn more about your abilities and how far you can push yourself.
Get a head start.
If you have a deadline, start working on your piece weeks beforehand. Writer’s block is often identified with the stress that comes with deadlines: it is always a bad idea to rush ideas. Ideas usually come to us over a certain period of time. It is necessary to know how you cope with stress and proceed accordingly.
What makes you want to write? Is it your love for the greats like Charles Dickens or F. Scott Fitzgerald? Is it your recently getting hooked on a hip franchise like Shopaholic or Divergent? Keep these things around you for inspiration to remind yourself why you’re writing.
You and Your Writing
Now that you know how you can get to know yourself a little better, let’s discuss how self-discovery can impact your writing. In this part, we will also talk about how you can incorporate this in your written output.
If you talk about something you’re interested in, it will show. It will show in how you are able to phrase statements and in how well-researched your piece is. This will make it more understandable and enjoyable for your reader.
In earlier lessons, we talked about how important it is to be clear and concise with our readers. Good writing is writing that results in communication. If you know what you’re talking about, your content will become much more interesting to read.
Every writer’s voice is unique—but it takes hard work and dedication to be able to find it. As discussed in the previous section, finding your voice can involve emulating your favorite writers. But a big part of it also adding something to the voices you admire. Only by knowing yourself can you achieve this.
Pros and Cons
Knowing yourself can have several advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, it can help you write well—but on the other hand it can also limit your creativity to always write from experience. Discussed below are the pros and cons of writing in your own voice.
It sounds authentic.
Everyone is unique. So if you write in your own voice, chances are it will be easier for the reader to believe what you’re saying.
The fluctuation of language and turns of phrases are entirely yours, so it will probably come more naturally to you.
The drawback to this is that writing as yourself definitely limits how you write and what you can write about. It limits your ability to incorporate imagination into your work. This also runs the risk of not being able to explain situations and emotions well because you are too invested in them or you presume that the reader knows what you are thinking. Your work can become cryptic and indecipherable.
It can become boring.
One of the most common complaints about the first person point of view is that it can get monotonous. You have to be careful not to start every sentence with “I”.
From this lesson, we can conclude that it is important to know yourself—what you’re comfortable with, where you do things best. But also it’s important to balance this out by going out of your comfort zone and trying new things so that your writing continues to be interesting and you continue to improve.
In the next section, we will learn about the specific forms of writing, beginning with poetry. We will tackle word choice, combinations and more details about how to write good poems.